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What is application hardening?

Application hardening for mobile apps refers to implementing security measures to protect apps against reverse engineering, tampering, or malware attacks. Using methods such as runtime self-protection, code obfuscation, and white-box cryptography, application hardening protects your app against some of the most common types of cyberattacks. However, application hardening is not a replacement for security measures integrated into app development at outset.

Why does your application need hardening?

The prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) and the use of personal devices in vulnerable sectors have created an urgent need for application hardening. Common threats include intellectual property theft, misuse, vulnerability exploitation, tampering, and even repackaging by malicious actors. By implementing application hardening, you can secure intellectual property, protect app integrity, and safeguard sensitive data on the app.

Methods of application hardening

Application hardening methods protecting apps from reverse engineering may include code obfuscation, anti-debugging, binary packing, and white-box cryptography.

  • Code obfuscation modifies an executable so that it is no longer useful to a hacker (but remains fully functional).
  • Anti-debugging code actively searches for common debuggers and enables applications to detect and block them.
  • Binary packing helps with hardening by making static analysis of code difficult.
  • White-box cryptography and strong encryption ensure that secret keys are always encoded, even during execution.

Application hardening methods protecting apps from tampering include integrity checking, iOS jailbreak detection, and Android rooting detection.

  • Integrity checking hardens applications by inserting pieces of code (checkers) testing for tampering during runtime.
  • iOS jailbreak detection identifies security breaches and reports them to the application.
  • Android rooting detection implements anti-rooting techniques to detect the legitimacy of the operating system.

How to get started with application hardening

Application hardening is easy to implement and should not take more than a few minutes to install. Hardening packages commonly enable developers to integrate their products through their preferred CI/CD tools or the app shielding solution includes an easy-to-use integration tool.

Promon’s patented app shielding technology is protecting banking, healthcare, gaming, automotive, and government apps used by hundreds of millions. Our technology enables you to turn your apps into self-protecting apps, using code obfuscation, strong encryption, anti-debugging, root and jailbreak detection, anti-tampering, and integrity checking to strengthen and deepen your app’s security.

Get in touch with one of Promon’s security experts to learn more about how our app shielding solutions can help harden your apps.