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Mobile App Protection - Preventing Tampering and Reverse Engineering of your Mobile App
Mobile App Protection - Preventing Tampering and Reverse Engineering of your Mobile App

Mobile app protection for iOS and Android

Updated over a week ago

Is my App Susceptible to Reverse Engineering?

Every app developer should assess the risk and threats of reverse engineering and tampering of their mobile application. If an app is not protected, it can result in a loss of revenue, leaking sensitive IP, or security issues that impact the reputation of your brand. Ideally, applications that contain secrets, process sensitive data or have valuable content or features should be considered for protection. Some examples of Genres of apps, or Industries that are most likely to need to consider app protection include;

  • Finance (Banking and fintech, due to sensitive data and regulatory needs)

  • Health, Fitness, and Medical apps (due to processing of sensitive personal data)

  • E-commerce and Retail (Protect brand, user data, and loyalty rewards)

  • Media and Entertainment (Protect the integrity of the content and subscription)

  • Consumer Apps (To prevent abuse of APIs or discovery of unannounced features or IP)

  • Premium Apps (To prevent bypassing of paid versions, features, or In-App-Purchases)

What is Reverse Engineering and what is its purpose?

Reverse engineering a mobile app is the process of decompiling an app to analyze the source code and extract important information from the app. The purpose of reverse engineering an app is to understand the logic of the application or to extract sensitive information or IP from the app or SDK. This could be done to extract proprietary algorithms, obtain secrets or keys, identify endpoints for server-side attacks, or simply understand the logic for more sophisticated tampering.

Tampering an app is a related concept but involves changing a mobile app or its environment to dynamically affect its behavior. This is usually performed in order to bypass certain restrictions or to manipulate the application to achieve some goal. In a game, the goal may be to unlock resources, in a paid or premium application the goal may be to unlock paid features or content. Tampering can also be a precursor to repackaging and creating a modified version of an app for distribution.

Protecting against reverse engineering and tampering ultimately relies on protection from Static and Dynamic analysis attacks and techniques.

How do I Prevent Reverse Engineering and Tampering?

In order to prevent reverse engineering and tampering it is important to implement a robust mobile app protection solution. Taking shortcuts or attempting to build a basic protection scheme yourself is not likely to solve this problem in a resilient way. Effective software protection schemes are compiler-based solutions that implement highly complex control flow transformations, anti-tampering features, debugging controls, and multiple levels of obfuscation, seamlessly integrated into your application.

Guardsquare offers DexGuard (Android) and iXGuard (iOS) as tools to implement a robust mobile app protection strategy in your app. Our solutions rely on layers of features that implement obfuscation, encryption, and runtime protection that increase resilience against static and dynamic analysis techniques.

You can learn more about our mobile app protection in this video series. Contact us via our chat ๐Ÿ’ฌ and we'd be more than happy to discuss your concerns and make practical recommendations on how to protect your mobile app.

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