How to Block Simulators in Hacking Android/ iOS Apps

This knowledge base article discusses 3 Easy Steps to Block Simulators in Hacking Android and iOS Apps. Stop malicious dynamic analysis tools. No Code, Zero Dev, No SDK.

We hope you find it useful and enjoy using Appdome!

What Are Simulators?

Simulators are virtualized tools that are used to run software tests on mobile apps inside flexible, software-defined environments. They allow the operator to simulate and model mobile application software features and app behavior. Simulators are also used to model how a mobile app interacts with the mobile OS and other systems.

Like most mobile development tools, there are good uses and bad uses for simulators. For example, QA teams use these tools for testing new mobile features, as well as app performance. Developers use simulators because it may be impractical and very expensive to obtain real devices for testing (especially given the hundreds of types of mobile phones on the market today across Android and iOS).

Hackers also use simulators, for malicious purposes as part of dynamic analysis efforts, where they run your mobile app in their own controlled environment to learn how your app behaves and interacts with other components or systems while it’s running.

What Does Block Simulators in Hacking Android & iOS Apps Protect?

Hackers use simulators 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. Why? Because knowing how a mobile app behaves helps hackers build more effective attacks and attack methods.

For example, using simulators, hackers can observe how an app interacts with the mobile operating system, or study the methods and sequence by which the app connects to and authenticates with its backend. Simulators can also be used to observe how an application app reads/writes to the filesystem (for instance to learn if weak encryption is used, or no encryption at all).

One of the many advantages of using simulators is that the hacker is not limited by the computational capabilities of the physical device, so they can scale quickly. This enables the attacker to run through their attack vector testing much faster by using multiple instances of the app in parallel, rather than running one app at a time on a physical device.

3 Easy Steps to Block Simulators in Hacking Android & iOS Apps

Please follow these 3 easy steps to block simulators in hacking Android & iOS apps.

  1. Upload an Android or iOS App to Appdome’s no code security platform (.apk, .aab, or .ipa)
  2. In the Build Tab, under Security, Select ONEShield (shown below)
  3. Click Build My App

Block Simulators is included automatically every time you build an app using Appdome, as part of ONEShield  (Appdome’s App Shielding/ App Hardening solution).

ONEShield™ is  Appdome’s advanced mobile app shielding/app hardening solution that prevents mobile app alterations, re-signing, fakes and mods, and more – all without any coding. In addition to simulator and emulator prevention, ONEShield also includes anti-tamperinganti-debugging, anti-reversing, Checksum validation, and more.

ONEShield by Appdome, Anti-debugging, anti-tampering and anti-reversing protection for Android & iOS Apps from Appdome

Congratulations! When your build is complete, you will see the notice below.

appdome fusion success message simulator and emulator prevention

Appdome’s no-code mobile app security platform offers mobile developers, DevSec and security professionals a convenient and reliable way to protect Android and iOS apps against simulators. When a user clicks “Build My App,” Appdome leverages a microservice architecture filled with 1000s of security plugins, and an adaptive code generation engine that matches the correct required plugins to the development environment, frameworks, and methods in each app.

Prerequisites for blocking simulators

Here’s what you need to build secured apps that block simulators

No Coding Dependency

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured apps that block simulators. There is no SDK and no library to manually code or implement in the app. The Appdome technology adds the relevant standards, frameworks, and logic to the app automatically, with no manual development work at all.

How to Sign & Publish Secured Mobile Apps Built on Appdome  

After successfully securing your app using Appdome, there are several available options to complete your project, depending on your app lifecycle or workflow. These include 

Or, see this quick reference Releasing Secured Android & iOS Apps built on Appdome. 

What’s the Difference Between Simulators and Emulators?

Simulators and emulators are often described as interchangeable, but there are some notable differences between them.

Both simulators and emulators are used to create a virtual environment that contains all of the software variables and configurations that will exist in an application’s production environment. And both allow modeling and interactive simulations of how the app interacts with the mobile operating system and some hardware components (keyboard, screen, Bluetooth, network interfaces, CPU, etc).

The main difference between simulators and emulators is that simulators do not mimic the actual hardware on which the app will run in a production environment. They can model simulations of interactions with the OS and certain hardware components without actually mimicking or re-creating the virtualized hardware environment.

Emulators, on the other hand, mimic the actual hardware configurations and features of the production environment (in addition to software features).

To learn how to prevent hackers from using Emulators to attack apps, you can read the KB article on No-Code Emulator Prevention.

More No-Code Block Simulators Resources

To learn all of the security features included in Appdome ONEShield, visit the OneShield Knowledge Base article.

To zoom out on this topic, visit  Appdome for Mobile App Security on our website.

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

Thank You!

Thanks for visiting Appdome! Our mission is to make mobile integration easy. We hope we’re living up to the mission with your project. If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up for free.

Alan Bavosa

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