How to Block Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits in Android Apps

Last updated August 29, 2022 by Appdome

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

What are Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits?

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, rely on Remote Desktop Protocol/Services (RDP/RDS) that can be compromised by attackers based on the wide knowledge of exploits and vulnerabilities. This article in 9to5 Google talks about how cyber-criminals trick users into enabling Android Accessibility Services for Team Viewer, which the attacker uses to take control over the mobile user’s device remotely – only now, the attacker has a higher level of administrative privileges thanks to Accessibility Services being enabled (this lets the attacker inject or intercept key events, gestures, modify the user’s inputs, and much more).

Why Block Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits in Android Apps ?

Remote Desktop Exploits and vulnerabilities such as the ones used by Team Viewer 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.

Blocking Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits on Android apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Block Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits 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
  2. Build the Protection: 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 > Mobile Fraud Prevention section
      2. How: Toggle (turn ON) Anti Remote Desktop Control, as shown belowTeam Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits, If needed, Customize the Threat Notification to be displayed to the mobile end-user in a standard OS dialog notification when Appdome Blocks . Anti Remote Desktop Control option

        Figure 3: Block Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits 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 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

      4. 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 Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects Team Viewer & 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 Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits (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.

      5. 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
  3. Certify the Anti Remote Desktop Control feature in Android Apps.

    After building Anti Remote Desktop Control, Appdome generates a Certified Secure™ certificate to guarantee that the Anti Remote Desktop Control protection has been added and is protecting the app. To verify that the Anti Remote Desktop Control protection has been added to the mobile app, locate the protection in the Certified Secure™ certificate as shown below: Anti Remote Desktop Control 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 Anti Remote Desktop Control has been added to each Android app. Certified Secure provides instant and in-line DevSecOps compliance certification that Anti Remote Desktop Control and other mobile app security features are in each build of the mobile app

Using Threat-Events™ for Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits Intelligence and Control in Android Apps

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

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Block Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits 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 DETECTON 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 Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME IlegalDisplayEvent
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 6926
Threat-Event SCORE
currentThreatEventScore Current Threat-Event score
threatEventsScore Total Threat-events score
Threat-Event Context Keys
blocked was the keyboard blocked (True/False)
buildHost build server of the ROM (for Android devices)
deviceBoard the board upon which the mobile device is based (for Android devices)
carrierPlmn carrier identity number (PLMN code)
defaultMessage the message that would be shown to the user in enforcement mode
deviceBrand brand of the mobile device
deviceID unique mobile installation identifier
deviceManufacturer manufacturer of the mobile device
deviceModel mobile device model
extendedMessageText allows receiving extended metadata about threat events. Available only if the option
fusedAppToken Appdome Built ID App Token
kernelInfo Kernel information and details
Keyboard package ID of the unauthorized keyboard to which the user tried to switch
osVersion The mobile device OS version
sdkversion Android SDK Version
timestamp UNIX timestamp when event happened
OS Platform(s) Method Android (registerReceiver)

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 Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits are detected.

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

Prerequisites to Using Anti Remote Desktop Control:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Block Team Viewer & Remote Desktop Exploits , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured 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:

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

Protections Similar to Anti Remote Desktop Control

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!

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