How to Block Remote Desktop Exploits in Android Apps

Last updated March 13, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Block Remote Desktop Control in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Remote Desktop Control?

Remote access and remote control computer software programs are used for the remote support and troubleshooting of computers, apps, and other devices. Remote desktop apps, such as TeamViewer and AnyDesk, rely on Remote Desktop Protocol/Services (RDP/RDS) that can be compromised by attackers based on the wide knowledge of exploits and vulnerabilities. Attackers then use their ability to remotely control the device, coupled with the granted higher level of administrative privileges, to perform malicious acts such as injecting or intercepting key events and modifying the user’s input.

Why Block Remote Desktop Control in Android Apps?

Remote Desktop Exploits and vulnerabilities allow attackers to compromise end-user privacy, steal data, harvest user credentials, steal sensitive transaction data, and/or conduct account takeovers of mobile applications. Appdome’s Anti Remote Desktop Control detects 3rd party applications that attempt to remotely control your protected application as well as the ability to block active accessibility services that leverage on-screen actions, such as remote desktop control applications.

For instructions on testing Anti Remote Desktop Control, see the following articles:

 

Prerequisites for Using Anti Remote Desktop Control:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Block Remote Desktop Control , you’ll need:

Block Remote Desktop Control on Android apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Block Remote Desktop Control 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. Android Formats: .apk or .aab
    4. Anti Remote Desktop Control Compatible With: Java, JS, C++, C#, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, Cordova and other Android apps
  2. Build the feature: Anti Remote Desktop Control.

    1. Building Anti Remote Desktop Control by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Anti Remote Desktop Control feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Anti Remote Desktop Control

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Anti Remote Desktop Control 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 Anti Remote Desktop Control feature via Appdome Console, to add the Anti Remote Desktop Control 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 Anti Remote Desktop Control feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Anti Remote Desktop Control protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Anti Fraud Tab > Social Engineering Prevention section.
      2. When you select the Anti Remote Desktop Control you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Anti Remote Desktop Control

        Fusion Set applied Anti Remote Desktop Control

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Anti Remote Desktop Control protection

      3. Select the Threat-Event™ in-app mobile Threat Defense and Intelligence policy for Anti Remote Desktop Control:
        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 Block Remote Desktop Control.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects Remote Desktop Exploits 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 Anti Remote Desktop Control Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects and defends against Remote Desktop Control (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 Anti Remote Desktop Control Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

      4. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Anti Remote Desktop Control protection is now added to the mobile app

Using Threat-Events™ for Remote Desktop Control Intelligence and Control in Android Apps

Appdome Threat-Events™ provides consumable in-app mobile app attack intelligence and defense control when Remote Desktop Control is detected. To consume and use Threat-Events™ for Remote Desktop Control in Android Apps, use registerReceiver in the Application OnCreate, and the code samples for Threat-Events™ for Remote Desktop Control shown below.

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Remote Desktop Control are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Block Remote Desktop Control Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Anti Remote Desktop Control
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 Blocking Remote Desktop Control Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME IlegalDisplayEvent
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 6926
Threat-Event SCORE
Remote desktop application packageName
currentThreatEventScore Current Threat-Event score
threatEventsScore Total Threat-events score
Threat-Event Context Keys
message Message displayed for the user on event
externalID The external ID of the event which can be listened via Threat Events
osVersion OS version of the current device
deviceModel Current device model
deviceManufacturer The manufacturer of the current device
fusedAppToken The task ID of the Appdome fusion of the currently running app
kernelInfo Info about the kernel: system name, node name, release, version and machine.
carrierPlmn PLMN of the device
deviceID Current device ID
reasonCode Reason code of the occured event
buildDate Appdome fusion date of the current application
devicePlatform OS name of the current device
carrierName Carrier name of the current device
updatedOSVersion Is the OS version up to date
deviceBrand Brand of the device
deviceBoard Board of the device
buildUser Build user
buildHost Build host
sdkVersion Sdk version
timeZone Time zone
deviceFaceDown Is the device face down
locationLong Location longitude conditioned by location permission
locationLat Location latitude conditioned by location permission
locationState Location state conditioned by location permission
wifiSsid Wifi SSID
wifiSsidPermissionStatus Wifi SSID permission status

With Threat-Events™ enabled (turned ON), Android developers can get detailed attack intelligence and granular defense control in Android applications and create amazing user experiences for all mobile end users when Remote Desktop Control is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Android apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Anti Remote Desktop Control:


Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Android Apps by using Anti Remote Desktop Control. 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 Anti Remote Desktop Control

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:

Related Articles:

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 secure every app on the planet by making mobile app security easy. We hope we’re living up to the mission with your project.

Want a Demo?

Social Engineering Prevention

GilWe're here to help
We'll get back to you in 24 hours to schedule your demo.