How to Detect Magisk Manager & Malicious Magisk Modules in Android Apps

Last updated August 11, 2022 by Appdome

Learn to Detect Magisk Manager & Magisk Modules in Android apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Magisk Manager & Magisk Modules?

Magisk Manager is a powerful tool that helps manage Magisk and Magisk modules and malicious activity on Android devices. Magisk Manager is most commonly used for granting or denying root permission at will, in an effort to hide root access from Android or applications and to bypass root detection protections.

Magisk Manager is used to disable/deny root permissions before the app launches bypassing the application’s checks for root access as root appears to disabled at the time that the application is checking, all while having the capability to enable root access at any time and compromise the device/app.

Additionally, Magisk Manager can be used to install other Magisk modules (Magisk is an entire framework with custom modules that provide all types of modifications, such as cloaking, tweaking, and extending Android functionality).

Why Detect Magisk Manager & Magisk Modules in Android Apps ?

Magisk, in combination with Magisk manager, enables root privileges status for other, more advanced tools such as hex editors and dynamic code injection frameworks like Frida. In addition, Magisk can be used for injecting or updating malware remotely by turning on the Allow Unknown Sources setting.

When this setting is enabled, the mobile device allows installing applications from any developers, publisher or source outside of the Google Play store. This is an extremely high level of trust, which would not have been given otherwise. And if a root cloaking feature such as Magisk Hide or Zygisk, which is part of Magisk Manager, is enabled, both the rooted status of the device and the applications that are using (or abusing) root access are concealed. This makes detecting Android rooting much more difficult.

Detecting Magisk Manager & Magisk Modules on Android apps by Using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Android Apps that Detect Magisk Manager & 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: Detect Magisk Manager & 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 Detect Magisk Manager & Magisk Modules.

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

          When this setting is used, Appdome detects Block Magisk 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 Manager & 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 Manager & Magisk Modules Intelligence and Control in Android Apps

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

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Magisk Manager & Magisk Modules are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Detect Magisk Manager & 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 Detecting Magisk Manager & 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 Manager & 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 Detect Magisk Manager & 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!

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