Code obfuscation: An important tool for the safety of one’s code from hackers

Mobile phones are one of the most significant inventions of all time. With the invention of mobile phones, the lives of people have completely changed; without knowing the use of mobile phones, it would be challenging to survive on this planet. Mobile phones have helped humans to link to be part of the world. Mobile phones offer one thing that any human wants in this current fast-moving world which is convenience. This has been only possible due to the increase in technology.

Mobile phones are only helpful when mobile applications are good. The application holds tremendous value regarding phones. Without application, one cannot perform any activity on mobile. Mobile phones are useless without proper applications in them. Application (software) holds the same value as mobile (hardware). There is an application for every purpose in the application store. These applications are built by computer coding. Children have also started coding computers.

Coding is one of those things which has huge future demand. The demand for coders will never decrease. Companies only recruit those individuals who are masters in coding. Engineering students are enhancing coding skills during their college years. With the increase in coding and mobile applications, there has been an increase in security threats.

Hackers try to attack the data of the coders or the organization and try to get all the available data. This can lead to a lot of problems in the future, risking the organization’s reputation too. Thus, if one wants to protect his code from the attacker, this can be only possible with the help of Code Obfuscation.

This article discusses code obfuscation, its requirements.

In simple language, one can say that Code obfuscation is the modification or change of code which is going to be presented or executed that is not possible and available for comprehension, interpretation, and execution. The source code, which is the central part of the code, itself is obfuscated so that it becomes very difficult and nearly impossible for a third party to understand and hack it. Code obfuscation does not cause any harm to the application’s interface, which is meant for the end-user or the output of the code. It is just a method of prevention that renders the code untouchable for a potential hacker, who can lay their hands over the executable code of a software application.

Let’s discuss the need for code obfuscation.

Code obfuscation completely works on open-source applications, which makes a huge difference in the hackability of code for personal gains. Code obfuscation is highly appreciated for source code distributed in an insecure manner. By making an application difficult to reverse engineer, developers have to be sure that their product’s intellectual property is protected and safe against security threats, unauthorized access, and discovery of application vulnerabilities. This process strictly disallows malicious access to source code, and depending upon the type of obfuscation technique that is needed to be followed, it guarantees varied levels of protection of code.

Listed below are some of the different types of techniques of code obfuscation.

  • Rename obfuscation

This technique includes the naming of variables in a very inquisitive way so that the original intent of using them is masked intelligently.  Variables can be easily substituted using different notations and numbers, which makes it very complex for decompilers to easily understand the flow of control.

  • Data obfuscation

This method mainly focuses on the data structures used in the code so that the attackers or hackers cannot get to know the actual intention of the program. This will also include changing the way data is fed and stored through the program inside the memory and how the data which is stored is calculated for giving out the final output.

  • Debug obfuscation

Debug information is always handy in knowing critical information about the flow of the program, flaws in the program via decompiling, and again recompiling the main source code. It is vital to mask such information that can be easily identified by changing their identifiers, line numbers, or disabling the access to debug information together.

  • Address obfuscation

Hackers try to damage memory programming errors, especially with languages that are not memory safe, such as C and C++, which have become very common. Errors like unchecked array access may lead to security vulnerabilities. The address obfuscation technique makes the process of reverse-engineering complex and difficult, as every time the code is transformed is executed, the virtual addresses of the following code and data of the program are changed randomly. Thus the effect of most memory-error damage becomes useless with a very small chance of success.

  • Custom encoding

With this technique, developers encode and develop strings with the help of custom algorithms and help a decoder function get back the original one.

  • Giving the argument

The program can be further changed to get arguments at runtime. This demands the user to get both the code as well as the decryption key to decrypt out the variables.

The security team can also look to deploy more than one technique at the same time to provide a layered defense approach for the protection against different trouble in the security

These are some of the techniques which can be implemented using code obfuscation.

One of the best advantages of using can be taken from the path the security team deploys code obfuscation in the applications, especially for those performed on open source platforms. Suppose the given environment is not trusted upon. In that case, it is always advised to always go for an obfuscated application, which will be very difficult and confusing for the attackers to have a perfect view of the code and analyze the application. 

This process ensures that there are no chances left for debugging and tampering, and redistribution of the pseudo application for criminal gains. This layer of safety is always indispensable for applications that deal with the business-critical personal information of the consumer.

If one needs to know more about code obfuscation then, he can visit the google website of Appsealing to know more.