Android security: Protection of Java and native apps

Arxan Technologies enhanced its Mobile Application Protection Suite to include multi-layered, end-to-end protection for Android applications.

Given the open source nature of Android, Google recommends, at minimum, the usage of code obfuscation. However, approaches that use a renaming technique as its obfuscation mechanism, or even full code obfuscation solutions are trivially hacked. For instance, hackers can easily leverage widely available decompilation and code analysis tools to defeat obfuscation-only solutions and therefore lack adequate protection for the application layer that contains highly valued assets or includes sensitive data.

Application protection for the Android platform requires a more sophisticated approach with multiple types of protection techniques and multipl­­­e layers of defense to secure the overall application.

With today’s announcement, Arxan provides end-to-end security for Android apps (Java and Native), enabling protection of the code, Web apps, data and cryptographic keys resident within and leveraged as part of an Android application, and the Android operating system where algorithms and sensitive data is stored.

As Android developers continue to use the Software Development Kit (SDK) for Java -based apps, the Native Development Kit (NDK) for feature rich native apps, or a combination of both for hybrid apps, Arxan’s software security solutions, provide automated defend, detect and react capabilities by deploying various security techniques (called Guards) such as obfuscation, checksum or anti-debug directly into the software code of each android app to protect binaries against discovery and compromise.

This is all done within a “defense-in-depth” manner, where guards protect other guards. For example, damage Guards protect applications against dynamic analysis by overwriting a specified range at runtime with random bytes or a user-specified range. Automated passive hacking techniques like anti-decompile are leveraged as part of the arsenal of techniques used with the product suites.

The sum of Arxan’s layered security technology provides end-to-end Android protection that prevents passive and active analysis and delivers resilient app integrity in proven manner which does not impact source code, application functioning or the development process.

“Our customers span diverse industries and all need strong application protection to protect their growing number of Android apps. We are committed to consistently deliver best-of-breed security that addresses their concerns about the Android platform such as decompilation, code analysis, reverse-engineering, tampering, intellectual property theft, malware invasion, unauthorized access or piracy, that threaten marketplace innovation,” said Mike Dager, chief executive officer, Arxan. “As the industry standard for multi-platform hardened applications, Arxan-protected apps are operating today on more than 100 million devices and expected to reach 200 million globally by the end of 2012.”

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