How to Detect Player Emulators & Modding Platforms in Android Apps
Learn to Block App Players in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.
What are App Players?
Gamers can use app players such as NoxPlayer, Bluestacks, and MEmuPlayer to play Android mobile games on their windows PC or Apple Mac. App Players are emulators specifically designed to allow mobile games to be played from inside virtualized environments running on laptops or powerful computers, instead of playing the game from the mobile app as it was designed.
Emulators are also used in dynamic analysis, a form of reverse engineering performed for the purpose of simulating, modeling, and mimicking mobile application software & hardware behavior, including how apps interact with the mobile operating system and other systems, which can be used to create mods. In most cases, these actions are conducted for the sole benefit of the individual reverse engineer, hacker, or gamer and not in the interest of the publisher, developer, or legitimate users of the mobile application.
Why Block App Players in Android Apps?
App Players are used for cheating, to give a gamer an unfair advantage over another gamer using a mobile device. App Players create an operating environment that looks and functions much like the mobile device model, with many of the capabilities of a real Android device. But the gamer can use a full-size keyboard, mouse, controller or joystick to give themselves an unfair advantage over other legitimate users who are using the Android phone.
Another reason the developer may want to prevent the use of App Players with the APK is to protect the copyright of the art and graphics used in the mobile app.
Note: When paired with Appdome’s OneShield ‘Prevent Running on Emulators’ feature, the ‘Block App Players’ function fortifies your app with an added layer of detection against both generic emulators and specific app players.
Prerequisites for Using Block App Players:
To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Block App Players , you’ll need:
- Appdome account (create a free Appdome account here)
- A license for Block App Players
- Mobile App (.apk or .aab for Android)
- Signing Credentials (see Signing Secure Android apps and Signing Secure iOS apps)
Block App Players on Android apps using Appdome
On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Block App Players without an SDK or gateway:
Upload the Mobile App to Appdome.
Upload an app to Appdome’s Mobile App Security Build System
Upload Method: Appdome Console or DEV-API
Android Formats: .apk or .aab
Block App Players Compatible With: Java, JS, C++, C#, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, Cordova and other Android apps
Build the feature: Block App Players.
Congratulations! The Block App Players protection is now added to the mobile app
Building Block App Players by using Appdome’s DEV-API:
Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Block App Players feature as shown below:
Follow the steps in Sections 2.2.1-2.2.2 of this article, Building the Block App Players feature via Appdome Console, to add the Block App Players feature to this Fusion Set.
Open the Fusion Set Detail Summary by clicking the “...” symbol on the far-right corner of the Fusion Set, as shown in Figure 1 above, and get the Fusion Set ID from the Fusion Set Detail Summary (as shown below):
Figure 2: Fusion Set Detail Summary
Note: Annotating the Fusion Set to identify the protection(s) selected is optional only (not mandatory).
Follow the instructions below to use the Fusion Set ID inside any standard mobile DevOps or CI/CD toolkit like Bitrise, App Center, Jenkins, Travis, Team City, Cirlce CI or other system:
Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Block App Players feature
Note: Naming the Fusion Set to correspond to the protection(s) selected is for illustration purposes only (not required).
Building the Block App Players feature via Appdome Console
To build the Block App Players protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.
Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Anti Fraud Tab > Mobile Cheat Prevention section
How: Toggle (turn ON) Block App Players, as shown below.
If needed, Customize the Threat Notification to be displayed to the mobile end-user in a standard OS dialog notification when Appdome Blocks App Players.
Figure 3: Block App Players option
Note: The App Compromise Notification contains an easy to follow default remediation path for the mobile app end user. You can customize this message as required to achieve brand specific support, workflow or other messaging.
When you select the Block App Players you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Block App Players
Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Block App Players protection
Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
Certify the Block App Players feature in Android Apps.
After building Block App Players, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Block App Players protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Block App Players protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below:
Figure 5: Certified Secure™ certificate
Each Certified Secure™ certificate provides DevOps and DevSecOps organizations the entire workflow summary, audit trail of each build, and proof of protection that Block App Players has been added to each Android app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Block App Players and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app
Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Android Apps by using Block App Players. There is no SDK and no library to code or implement in the app and no gateway to deploy in your network. All protections are built into each app and the resulting app is self-defending and self-protecting.
Releasing and Publishing Mobile Apps with Block App Players
After successfully securing your app by using Appdome, there are several available options to complete your project, depending on your app lifecycle or workflow. These include:
- Customizing, Configuring & Branding Secure Mobile Apps
- Deploying/Publishing Secure mobile apps to Public or Private app stores
- Releasing Secured Android & iOS Apps built on Appdome.
- How to Block GameGuardian & Cheating Apps in Android Games
- How Hackers Use Nox Emulator to Cheat Mobile Games
- How to Block Memory Editing tools for Android and iOS apps
- How to Prevent Android Apps from Running on Emulators
If you have any questions, please send them our way at support.appdome.com or via the chat window on the Appdome platform.
Thanks for visiting Appdome! Our mission is to secure every app on the planet by making mobile app security easy. We hope we’re living up to the mission with your project.