How to Detect Magisk & Magisk Root in Android Apps

Last updated August 17, 2022 by Appdome

Learn to Prevent Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules?

 Magisk is a “systemless” Rooting tool that is used to elevate privileges to gain system-level access (root access) to the Android OS and underlying file system. Magisk does not make changes to the Android bootloader or require flashing custom ROM. Instead, it stores modifications in the boot partition instead of modifying the real system files. Since the original system files remain unchanged, modifications can go undetected by Google SafetyNet and most root detection methods, which makes Magisk Manager an incredibly powerful and popular tool for compromising Android apps.

Magisk Manager is a rooting framework (like its predecessors SuperuserSU and Xposed) that provides multiple modules that enable different rooting features that exploit root access privileges in different ways.

Why Prevent Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules in Android Apps ?

All you need to do is have a short read of some of the posts from Magisk creator “topjohnwu” on this and many other threads to understand that Magisk is NOT a tool that you should take lightly. Bottom line, if someone other than the app developer is using Magisk on a rooted Android device that your app is also running on, your app is highly vulnerable to attack unless you have protections built into the app. 

Using Appdome, you can block Magisk, Magisk Manager, and Magisk Hide, Zygisk and all other modules and variants of Magisk to protect mobile apps from being compromised by cybercriminals using the Magisk framework.

In addition, Appdome can also Detect Advanced Malware Controls to identify advanced Magisk hiding techniques such as socket and module hiding.

Appdome Anti-Reversing protection along with Anti-Tampering and Anti-Debugging defend any mobile app against tampering, malicious debugging. and reverse engineering, acting as a solid first line of defense. Appdome’s Block Magisk Manager is designed to complement, reinforce, and build upon these other features and defend against experienced cybercriminals using specialized tools.

Preventing Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules on Android apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Prevent Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules 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: Block Magisk.

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

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

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

      To build the Block Magisk 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 Magisk, as shown below. Block Magisk option

        Figure 3: Prevent Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules option

      3. When you select the Block Magisk 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 Magisk

        Fusion Set applied Block Magisk

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

      4. Select the Threat-Event™ in-app mobile Threat Defense and Intelligence policy for Block Magisk:
        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 Prevent Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects Magisk manager, Zygist or other Magisk modules 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 Magisk Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects and defends against Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules (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 Magisk 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 Magisk protection is now added to the mobile app
  3. Certify the Block Magisk feature in Android Apps.

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

Using Threat-Events™ for Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules Intelligence and Control in Android Apps

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

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Prevent Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Block Magisk
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 Preventing Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME MagiskManagerDetected
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF 6908
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
internalErrorInternal error code as hex
extendedMessageTextInternal error code
rInternalErrorCodeInternal error code
dataThe item that was detected in the system that caused the security event

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 Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules is detected.

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

Prerequisites to Using Block Magisk:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Prevent Magisk, Magisk Manager, Zygisk and other Magisk modules , you’ll need:

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

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 Magisk

Here are a few related resources:

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.

Have a question?

Ask an expert

PaulMaking your security project a success!