How to Prevent Malicious Misuse of Android Debug Bridge (ADB)

Learn the 3 easy steps to Prevent Misuse of Android Debug Bridge (ADB) by cybercriminals and other malicious actors to compromise Android and iOS apps.  

What is Android Debug Bridge (ADB)?

Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is a very powerful and versatile command-line tool that is intended for use by legitimate developers in building, debugging, and troubleshooting Android apps (but also used by cybercriminals, fraudsters and hackers for other purposes). Users of ADB can communicate with Android devices or Android apps either remotely or via a USB interface to perform a wide range of actions by running and executing an extensive list of commands installing and debugging apps, and it provides access to a Unix shell that you can use to run a variety of commands on a device. It is a client-server program that includes three components:

  • A client, which sends commands. You can invoke a client from a command-line terminal by issuing an adb command.
  • A daemon (adbd), which runs commands on a device. The daemon runs as a background process on each device.
  • A server, which manages communication between the client and the daemon. The server runs as a background process.

There are many legitimate uses of ADB during the development and testing process when building Android apps. However, like with almost all development tools, ADB can also be used for malicious purposes, so it’s important to build protections into mobile apps to prevent malicious use of ADB by anyone other than the developers of the app or other parties authorized by the app owner (a list which would never include cybercriminals or fraudsters):

Why Should Developers protect apps against malicious use of ADB

Cybercriminals often use debuggers to accomplish advanced attack techniques during the app’s runtime. ADB can be used maliciously in the following ways:

  1. Extract or install apps on devices
  2. Read and alter data while the app is running.
  3. To attach to running processes, trace and modify application memory
  4. Perform function or method hooking
  5. Establish a remote shell (to run and execute commands remotely) on a device and inject code remotely
  6. Change the application’s logic or control flows as it executes operations
  7. Bypass existing security protections (for example, ADB can be used to disable tamper prevention or rooting detection, especially if such protections have been manually coded into the app’s source code and left unobfuscated).

Appdome is a no-code mobile app security platform designed to add security features, like Block ADB to any Android apps without coding. This KB shows mobile developers, DevSec and security professionals how to use Appdome’s simple ‘click to build’ user interface to quickly and easily prevent the malicious use of ADB by hackers to modify Android apps during runtime. 

3 Easy Steps to Block ADB.

 Please follow these 3 easy steps to Block ADB in Android apps using Appdome.  

  1. Upload a mobile app to Appdome’s no code security platform (.apk, .aab or .ipa)
  2. In the Build Tab, under Anti-Fraud, browse to Prevent Mobile Fraud and Toggle on Block ADB (shown below)
  3. Click Build My App

 

block.adb.misuse

 

Congratulations! The app is now protected against malicious use of  ADB.

 

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 malicious use of ADB. 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

No Coding Dependency

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

How to Sign & Publish Secured Apps

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.

More Mobile App Security Resources

Here are a few related resources:

Block FRIDA

Block memory injection attacks

Block Magisk Manager and Magisk Hide

Check out Appdome’s Mobile App Security Suite or request a demo at any time.

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. If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up for free.

Alan Bavosa

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