How to Protect Android & iOS Apps from Copy/Paste Attacks

Last updated August 23, 2022 by Appdome

Learn to Add Copy/Paste Prevention in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Copy/Paste Prevention?

Copy/Paste Prevention is a common method of protecting mobile app data from being leaked or stolen either by human actions (such as copying and then pasting into another app or a document), or via malware which is targeting your clipboard that temporarily hosts the copied data.

Why prevent Copy/Paste ?

By enabling copy/paste prevention, your app’s data is protected from being copied and pasted outside your application. This protection also block the interception of your data by a malware targeting your clipboard (the temporary storage that hosts your copy-and-past data).

In some cases the actual copy and paste OS action cannot be blocked, by design. Nevertheless, your data will still be secure as in such cases Appdome’s Copy/Paste Prevention additionally encrypts the clipboard buffer. This ensures that the device’s OS can complete the copy and paste operation without error, while totally avoiding the display of any clear text; even if a malicious actor finds a way to access the copied buffer, it will only get an encrypted text.

 

Adding Copy/Paste Prevention on Mobile apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Add Copy/Paste Prevention 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. Mobile App Formats: .ipa For iOS device or .apk or .aab
  2. Build the Protection: Copy/Paste Prevention.

    1. Building Copy/Paste Prevention by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Copy/Paste Prevention feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Copy/Paste Prevention

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Copy/Paste Prevention 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 Copy/Paste Prevention feature via Appdome Console, to add the Copy/Paste Prevention 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 Copy/Paste Prevention feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Copy/Paste Prevention protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > Mobile Privacy section
      2. How: Toggle (turn ON) Copy/Paste Prevention, as shown belowCopy/Paste Prevention, If needed, Customize the Threat Notification to be displayed to the mobile end-user in a standard OS dialog notification when Appdome Adds . Copy/Paste Prevention option

        Figure 3: Add Copy/Paste Prevention 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 Copy/Paste Prevention you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Copy/Paste Prevention

        Fusion Set applied Copy/Paste Prevention

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Copy/Paste Prevention protection

      4. Select the Threat-Event™ in-app mobile Threat Defense and Intelligence policy for Copy/Paste Prevention:
        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 Add Copy/Paste Prevention.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects attempts to access your clipboard 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 Copy/Paste Prevention Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects and defends against Copy/Paste Prevention (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 Copy/Paste Prevention Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

      5. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Copy/Paste Prevention protection is now added to the mobile app
  3. Certify the Copy/Paste Prevention feature in Mobile Apps.

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

Using Threat-Events™ for Copy/Paste Prevention Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps

Appdome Threat-Events™ provides consumable in-app mobile app attack intelligence and defense control when Copy/Paste Prevention is detected. To consume and use Threat-Events™ for Copy/Paste Prevention in Mobile Apps, use AddObserverForName in Notification Center, and the code samples for Threat-Events™ for Copy/Paste Prevention shown below.

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Copy/Paste Prevention are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Add Copy/Paste Prevention Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Copy/Paste Prevention
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 Adding Copy/Paste Prevention Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME BlockedClipboardEvent
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 8520
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
deviceBrandBrand of the device
deviceBoardBoard of the device
buildUserBuild user
buildHostBuild host
sdkVersionSdk version
timeZoneTime zone
deviceFaceDownIs the device face down
locationLongLocation long
locationLatLocation lat
locationStateLocation state
wifiSsidWifi SSID
wifiSsidPermissionStatusWifi SSID permission status
blockedIs the clipboard blocked
actionKeyboard action

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

The following is a code sample for native Mobile apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Copy/Paste Prevention:

Prerequisites to Using Copy/Paste Prevention:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Add Copy/Paste Prevention , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using Copy/Paste Prevention. 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 Copy/Paste Prevention

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 Copy/Paste Prevention

Here are a few related resources:

For more information on these types of controls, check out this blog.

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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