How to Block Shell Code Exploits

Last updated August 22, 2022 by Appdome

Learn to Block Shell Code Injection in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Shell Code Injection?

Shellcode Injection can take place when, during the process of transferring the app’s user-entered data into the system shell, attackers place binary code into a running application, which the application then executes. Attackers can use such exploits to gain access to the data within an app or to change the app’s behavior.

How does Appdome block shell code injection? ?

Appdome’s Block Shell Code feature prevents malicious programs from injecting modules known as shellcode into the app, and also prevents shellcode from executing inside the app.

Blocking Shell Code Injection on Mobile apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Block Shell Code Injection 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: Block Shell Code.

    1. Building Block Shell Code by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

      1. Create and name the Fusion Set (security template) that will contain the Block Shell Code feature as shown below:
      2. fusion set that contains Block Shell Code

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Block Shell Code 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 Block Shell Code feature via Appdome Console, to add the Block Shell Code 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 Block Shell Code feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Block Shell Code protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Anti Fraud Tab > Mobile Malware Prevention section
      2. How: Toggle (turn ON) Block Shell Code, as shown below. Block Shell Code option

        Figure 3: Block Shell Code Injection option

      3. When you select the Block Shell Code you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Block Shell Code

        Fusion Set applied Block Shell Code

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Block Shell Code protection

      4. Select the Threat-Event™ in-app mobile Threat Defense and Intelligence policy for Block Shell Code:
        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 Shell Code Injection.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects Shell Code is being injected into the app 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 Block Shell Code Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects and defends against Shell Code Injection (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 Block Shell Code Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

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

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

Using Threat-Events™ for Shell Code Injection Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps

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

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Shell Code Injection are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Block Shell Code Injection Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Block Shell Code
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 Shell Code Injection Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME InjectedShellCodeDetected
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 6925
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
reasonReason for the detection
dataData related to the detection

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 Shell Code Injection is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Mobile apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Block Shell Code:

Prerequisites to Using Block Shell Code:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Block Shell Code Injection , you’ll need:

Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Apps by using Block Shell Code. 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 Block Shell Code

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 Block Shell Code

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

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