How to Implement Non-Native Code Obfuscation in Android & iOS Mobile Apps

Last updated March 27, 2024 by Appdome

Learn to Obfuscate Non-Native Code in Mobile apps, in mobile CI/CD with a Data-Driven DevSecOps™ build system.

What is Non-Native Code Obfuscation?

Non-Native Code refers to mobile applications written in high-level programming languages, typically JavaScript or C#. Instead of being compiled into binaries, these source code files are saved as-is inside the application. When the application launches, it reads the code (clear text) from the saved source code files and runs the code from there. This means that all of your code is available to anyone with the application file in hand.

To counter this vulnerability, Non-Native Code Obfuscation obfuscates your source code in the application itself.

Here’s a breakdown of what Appdome obfuscates for different frameworks:

React Native: A framework that utilizes JavaScript to build mobile apps with a focus on native-like performance and user experience. React Native apps use a bundled JavaScript file (.jsbundle) that contains all the code needed by the application. Appdome obfuscates this specific file to protect your JavaScript code.

Cordova: A framework that allows you to use familiar web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create mobile apps that can run on various platforms. Cordova apps essentially run a web view within a native app container. Appdome obfuscates both the .js files containing your application code and the .html files that define the structure of your app’s user interface.

Xamarin: A framework that uses C# for mobile app development. C# offers features similar to other high-level languages like Java. Xamarin apps store code in various file formats. Appdome obfuscates critical files used by Xamarin applications, including:

.exe – Executable files containing the core application logic.
.dll – Dynamic Link Libraries containing reusable code functionalities.
.dll.config – Configuration files for the DLLs.
.blob – Files containing binary data used by the application.

These obfuscation techniques prevent unauthorized reading of your app’s contents, even if someone were to try to extract the app’s files. You can easily integrate Non-Native Code Obfuscation into any Xamarin, Cordova, or React Native JS application on iOS or Android without the need for additional code or coding.

Why use Non-Native Code Obfuscation?

Obfuscating non-native mobile apps is a complex and time-consuming process. This process requires employing several methods and tools, and the development resources needed for completing the task are highly specialized. Appdome simplifies the challenge of obfuscating non-native mobile apps by eliminating the need for specialized tools or development resources; you only need to enable our protection.

Prerequisites for Using Non-Native Code Obfuscation:

To use Appdome’s mobile app security build system to Obfuscate Non-Native Code , you’ll need:

Obfuscate Non-Native Code on Mobile apps using Appdome

On Appdome, follow these 3 simple steps to create self-defending Mobile Apps that Obfuscate Non-Native Code 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, or .apk or .aab for Android
    4. Non-Native Code Obfuscation Compatible With: Obj-C, Java, JS, C#, C++, Swift, Kotlin, Flutter, React Native, Unity, Xamarin, and more
  2. Build the feature: Non-Native Code Obfuscation.

    1. Building Non-Native Code Obfuscation by using Appdome’s DEV-API:

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

        Figure 1: Fusion Set that will contain the Non-Native Code Obfuscation 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 Non-Native Code Obfuscation feature via Appdome Console, to add the Non-Native Code Obfuscation 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, Circle 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 Non-Native Code Obfuscation feature via Appdome Console

      To build the Non-Native Code Obfuscation protection by using Appdome Console, follow the instructions below.

      1. Where: Inside the Appdome Console, go to Build > Security Tab > TOTALCode™ Obfuscation section.
      2. When you select the Non-Native Code Obfuscation you'll notice that your Fusion Set you created in step 2.1.1 now bears the icon of the protection category that contains Non-Native Code Obfuscation

        Fusion Set applied Non-Native Code Obfuscation

        Figure 4: Fusion Set that displays the newly added Non-Native Code Obfuscation protection

      3. Click Build My App at the bottom of the Build Workflow (shown in Figure 3).
    Congratulations!  The Non-Native Code Obfuscation protection is now added to the mobile app

Using Threat-Events™ for Non-Native Code Intelligence and Control in Mobile Apps

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

The specifications and options for Threat-Events™ for Non-Native Code are:

Threat-Event™ Elements Obfuscate Non-Native Code Method Detail
Appdome Feature Name Non-Native Code Obfuscation
Threat-Event Mode
OFF, IN-APP DEFENSE Appdome detects, defends and notifies user (standard OS dialog) using customizable messaging.
ON, IN-APP DETECTION 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 x
Visible in ThreatScope™ x
Developer Parameters for Obfuscating Non-Native Code Threat-Event™
Threat-Event NAME
Threat-Event DATA reasonData
Threat-Event CODE reasonCode
Threat-Event REF
Threat-Event SCORE
currentThreatEventScore Current Threat-Event score
threatEventsScore Total Threat-events score
Threat-Event Context Keys
message Message displayed for the user on event
externalID The external ID of the event which can be listened via Threat Events
osVersion OS version of the current device
deviceModel Current device model
deviceManufacturer The manufacturer of the current device
fusedAppToken The task ID of the Appdome fusion of the currently running app
kernelInfo Info about the kernel: system name, node name, release, version and machine.
carrierPlmn PLMN of the device
deviceID Current device ID
reasonCode Reason code of the occured event
buildDate Appdome fusion date of the current application
devicePlatform OS name of the current device
carrierName Carrier name of the current device
updatedOSVersion Is the OS version up to date
deviceBrand Brand of the device
deviceBoard Board of the device
buildUser Build user
buildHost Build host
sdkVersion Sdk version
timeZone Time zone
deviceFaceDown Is the device face down
locationLong Location longitude conditioned by location permission
locationLat Location latitude conditioned by location permission
locationState Location state conditioned by location permission
wifiSsid Wifi SSID
wifiSsidPermissionStatus Wifi SSID permission status

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 Non-Native Code is detected.

The following is a code sample for native Mobile apps, which uses all values in the specification above for Non-Native Code Obfuscation:


Using Appdome, there are no development or coding prerequisites to build secured Mobile Apps by using Non-Native Code Obfuscation. 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 Non-Native Code Obfuscation

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:

Related Articles:

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.

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