How to Prevent Android Apps from Running on Emulators

Last updated January 5, 2023 by Appdome

Learn to Prevent Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators in iOS apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What are Emulators?

Emulators are virtualized tools used for running software tests on mobile apps inside flexible, software-defined environments. Using emulators enables simulating, modeling, and mimicking mobile application software & hardware behavior, including how apps interact with the mobile OS and other systems. Emulators create an operating environment that looks and functions much like the mobile device model, with many of the capabilities of a real iOS device. For example, emulators can mimic incoming phone calls and text messages, location services, various network speeds, device orientation/rotation, and different hardware sensors. QA teams use emulators for testing new mobile features, as well as app performance, while developers use them as a cheap alternative to obtaining real devices for testing.

Why Prevent Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators in iOS Apps?

Emulators are very popular and useful tools for hackers. Hackers use emulators to run mobile apps within their own controlled environment so they can mimic, observe, and study how a mobile app functions and behaves, while the app is running, a knowledge that helps them build more effective attacks and attack methods. For example, hackers can observe how an application app reads/writes to the filesystem, thereby learning if weak encryption is used. Furthermore, hackers can use emulators to perform custom modifications to the OS behavior, such as removing security controls. Using emulators also means hackers are not limited by the computational capabilities of the physical device and can run through their attack vector testing much faster by using multiple instances of the app in parallel.

Preventing Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators on iOS apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these simple steps to create self-defending iOS Apps that Prevent Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators without an SDK or gateway:

  1. Upload the Mobile App to Appdome.

    1. Upload an app to Appdome’s Mobile App Security Build System

    2. Upload Method: Appdome Console or DEV-API
    3. iOS Formats: .ipa
  2. Build the feature: Prevent Running on Emulators.

    1. Building Prevent Running on Emulators by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Prevent Running on Emulators feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Prevent Running on Emulators

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Prevent Running on Emulators feature
        Note: Naming the Fusion Set to correspond to the protection(s) selected is for illustration purposes only (not required).

      3. Follow the steps in Sections 2.2.1-2.2.2 of this article, Building the Prevent Running on Emulators feature via Appdome Console, to add the Prevent Running on Emulators feature to this Fusion Set.

      4. 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): fusion Set Detail Summary image

        Figure 2: Fusion Set Detail Summary
        Note: Annotating the Fusion Set to identify the protection(s) selected is optional only (not mandatory).

      5. 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:
        1. Build an API for the app – for instructions, see the tasks under Appdome API Reference Guide
        2. Look for sample APIs in Appdome’s GitHub Repository
    2. Building the Prevent Running on Emulators feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Prevent Running on Emulators protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > Secure Communication section
      2. How: Check whether Anti-Reversing is toggled On (enabled), otherwise enable it . You can see that the feature Prevent Running on Emulators is enabled by default, as shown below. Prevent Running on Emulators option

        Figure 3: Prevent Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators 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.

      3. When you enable Anti-Reversing you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Prevent Running on Emulators

        Fusion Set applied Prevent Running on Emulators

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Prevent Running on Emulators protection

      4. Select the Threat-Event™ in-app mobile Threat Defense and Intelligence policy for Prevent Running on Emulators:
        1. Threat-Events™ OFF > In-App Defense

          If the Threat-Events™ setting is cleared (not selected). Appdome will detect and defend the user and app by enforcing Prevent Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators.

        2. Threat-Events™ ON > In-App Detection

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects that an Android app is running on an emulator and passes Appdome’s Threat-Event™ attack intelligence to the app’s business logic for processing, enforcement, and user notification. For more information on consuming and using Appdome Threat-Events™ in the app, see section Using Threat-Events™ for Prevent Running on Emulators Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

        3. Threat-Events™ ON > In-App Defense

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects and defends against Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators (same as Appdome Enforce) and passes Appdome’s Threat-Event™ attack intelligence the app’s business logic for processing. For more information on consuming and using Appdome Threat-Events™ in the app, see section Using Threat-Events™ for Prevent Running on Emulators Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

      5. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Prevent Running on Emulators protection is now added to the mobile app
  3. Certify the Prevent Running on Emulators feature in iOS Apps.

    After building Prevent Running on Emulators, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Prevent Running on Emulators protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Prevent Running on Emulators protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below: Prevent Running on Emulators shown in Certificate secure

    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 Prevent Running on Emulators has been added to each iOS app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Prevent Running on Emulators and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app

Using Threat-Events™ for Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators Intelligence and Control in iOS Apps

Appdome Threat-Events™ provides consumable in-app mobile app attack intelligence and defense control when Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators are detected. To consume and use Threat-Events™ for Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators in iOS Apps, use AddObserverForName in Notification Center, and the code samples for Threat-Events™ for Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators shown below.

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Prevent Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Prevent Running on Emulators
Threat-Event Mode
OFF, IN-APP DEFENSE Appdome detects, defends and notifies user (standard OS dialog) using customizable messaging.
ON, IN-APP DETECTION Appdome detects the attack or threat and passes the event in a standard format to the app for processing (app chooses how and when to enforce).
ON, IN-APP DEFENSE Uses Appdome Enforce mode for any attack or threat and passes the event in a standard format to the app for processing (gather intel on attacks and threats without losing any protection).
Certified Secure™ Threat Event Check
Visible in ThreatScope™
Developer Parameters for Preventing Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME EmulatorFound
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 6801
Threat-Event SCORE
currentThreatEventScore Current Threat-Event score
threatEventsScore Total Threat-events score
Threat-Event Context Keys
messageMessage displayed for the user on event
externalIDThe external ID of the event which can be listened via Threat Events
osVersionOS version of the current device
deviceModelCurrent device model
deviceManufacturerThe manufacturer of the current device
fusedAppTokenThe task ID of the Appdome fusion of the currently running app
kernelInfoInfo about the kernel: system name, node name, release, version and machine.
carrierPlmnPLMN of the device
deviceIDCurrent device ID
reasonCodeReason code of the occured event
buildDateAppdome fusion date of the current application
devicePlatformOS name of the current device
carrierNameCarrier name of the current device
updatedOSVersionIs the OS version up to date
timeZoneTime zone
deviceFaceDownIs the device face down
locationLongLocation long
locationLatLocation lat
locationStateLocation state
wifiSsidWifi SSID
wifiSsidPermissionStatusWifi SSID permission status

With Threat-Events™ enabled (turned ON), iOS developers can get detailed attack intelligence and granular defense control in iOS applications and create amazing user experiences for all mobile end users when Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators are detected.

The following is a code sample for native iOS apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Prevent Running on Emulators:

Prerequisites to Using Prevent Running on Emulators:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Prevent Prevent iOS Apps from Running on Emulators , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using Prevent Running on Emulators. 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 Prevent Running on Emulators

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:

All apps protected by Appdome are fully compatible with any public app store, including Apple App Store, Google Play, Huawei App Gallery and more.

Features Similar to Prevent Running on Emulators

Here are a few related resources:

  • How to Block arm-in-arm Virtual Devices
  • How to Block Dynamic Hacking Tools

If you have any questions, please send them our way at support.appdome.com or via the chat window on the Appdome platform.

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