To confuse a code means making it challenging to understand for the reader. It is a general type of practice in programming used to guard intellectual property like the source code. The prime aim of code obfuscation is to simply make reverse engineering as challenging as possible for the opposing side. Any vision into the application logic by any illegal party brings a security threat. Whether android or iOS app obfuscation, it is in trend.
Security threats encompasses a variety of dangerous actions ranging from code tampering as well as vulnerability exploitation to even extracted data that are quite common elements of a reverse engineering attack. Reverse engineering permits hackers to copy the look and feel of the overall application, repackage them, and simply place them on third-party type of app stores, which, once downloaded, imperils the unsuspecting end users.
This process is the process of altering the initial code in a manner that cannot get interpreted by any hacker, while the code stays completely functional. For a covered approach and improved security, use numerous different code obfuscation techniques on top of each other.
Unfortunately, hackers and attackers even use code mystification to bypass antivirus protection and accomplish unauthorized access. Just as a truthful mobile application developer would use code confusion to heighten the security degrees of their app, hackers make use of it to guard their malware and dodge detection.
How does it all work?
Partial or even complete encryption of a code is considered a confusion method. Removing metadata from code that offers extra context and explains the application logic is even used as one of the obfuscation approaches. Changing class as well as variable names into general labels as well as padding the application script with a piece of meaningless code is another manner of obfuscating code. Applying any kind of method that makes the code challenging to read is considered code complication.
By applying multiple types of code obfuscation techniques you heighten the security levels of the application and averting reverse engineering attacks. Making use of redundant logic and meaningless pieces of code; that don’t really bring any sort of functionality to the application; distracts the reader and even makes it tough to decide which parts of the code are critical to their cause , a reverse engineering type of attack. The point is the obscured code is extremely hard, in case not impossible, to follow with the human being eye.
The techniques of code obscuring
Well, app Code obscuring techniques are in abundance and you can try them out for sure. Have a look at some of them here:
The packing technique compresses the entire application to make the entire obscured code unreadable to the unwelcome guest.
Instruction pattern or flow transformation
The instruction pattern or the flow transformation technique changes common instructions formed up of the compiler into less common, more complicated instructions that carry out the same functions.
The rename code confusion involves altering the methods and even names of the variables inside the code. The characters that get used are usually notations and numbers, the names are quite confusing so as to distract the reader, and in some instances , characters can be invisible or even unprintable. Although altered, the code performs the same type of functions as if there is no complication applied. The rename complication technique is most of the times present in iOS,.NET, Java, and Android obfuscators.
Dummy code insertion
The role of dummy code is to avert reverse engineering attacks by packing up the script with unnecessary type of code that does not impact the execution of the application. This is one approach that is effective at distracting both the human eye and even compilers used to gather insight into the logic of the application.
Opaque predicate insertion
Well, this opaque predicate insertion is something that includes encompassing a piece of code that is possibly incorrect but won’t execute any sort of functions. The role of an opaque predicate is to simply confuse or puzzle the reader with additional type of statements, usually or/if-then conditional sort of branches, that tempt the attacker in the wrong direction when trying to work out the application logic.
Metadata and unused cost removal
This is the code confusion technique that aims to simply eradicate any additional context that provides more information about the application logic. Elements like debug information and even metadata can be of much value to an attacker. Eradicating them is a common practice in intensifying application security.
Debuggers are the tools used for code analysis, word-by-word, helping developers find issues inside the code. Hackers, on the other side , use debuggers for reverse engineering. Anti-debug instruments or tools are assistive in detecting the use of debuggers and even averting possible attacks. Essentially, what happens in case an application runs on a debugger can be the following;
- sensitive data gets obfuscated so as to avert theft
- the application randomly crashes, disturbing the overall hacker’s attack flow
- a notification warns the application server related to a potential security threat is sent
- any custom action heading for preventing the attack gets triggered.
The string encryption code confusion technique conceal the strings in a managed executable. In the absence of the use of confusion, the strings get readable. However, in case of string encryption , the original or real value of the strings shows only when essential , at the runtime.
An anti-tamper instrument or tool is basically a type of application self-protection mechanism injected into the code of the app. In case tampering detection, the application must react in any of the below given actions:
- random application crashes that disturb the attack flow
- the application terminates right away
- the operation of the application gets limited to functions that cannot further impact application security
- triggering any custom action that proposes to prevent a potential hacker attack.
To sum up , since you know what really code or app obfuscation is and how does it work and how you can implement it; make the most of it!