App code protection – Here is all you need to know!

Source codes form the building blocks of your software. Source codes are often the intellectual property (IP) of organizations protected by copyright laws. Source codes can have IP attached to them in the form of newly developed algorithms, fraud detection, payment processing, or other critical elements. If source code security is compromised, it can lead to financial and reputational damage for organizations. Cybercriminals gaining access to source code can exploit vulnerabilities whereas competitor organizations can take advantage of business secrets and IP contained in the source code.

Hence app code security is especially important and organizations must implement robust security measures to ensure app code protection. When the source code gets exposed, it reveals the actual code as well as private details about the software that give away crucial information to competitors. Let’s understand source code security and its importance in detail in this article.

App Code Protection

Source code security can be compromised by both insider and outsider threats. Insider threats are often a result of negligent actions and mistakes by members of the development team. Outside threats are caused by hackers with malicious intent. Though source code plays a vital role in building applications, it is often left out of security considerations. Developers use open source code and add their own customizations to create proprietary software. This gives rise to several vulnerabilities. Source code leaks can compromise passwords, encryption keys, IP addresses, authentication tokens, and more.

Source code leaks can expose sensitive data of customers which will lead to customers losing trust in your organization. In the absence of appropriate security measures, sensitive information will be available for repository contributors to copy and distribute. Source code leaks, whether accidental or intentional, will have financial and legal consequences for the organization.

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How to Secure App Source Code?

Developers can deploy a combination of security measures to protect source code. Let’s understand in detail the important steps you can take to bolster the security of your source code.

Never use insecure source code

Developers must leverage Static Application Security Testing (SAST) and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools to analyze source code for vulnerabilities. SAST tools are useful to monitor the code and verify compliance with coding standards. Vulnerabilities in the source code can be detected sooner which helps increase security coverage throughout the entire software development lifecycle. On the other hand, DAST tools can be used to detect vulnerabilities outside the code such as security flaws in third-party interfaces. DAST tools help overcome the limitations of SAST tools by covering a wide range of vulnerabilities.

Set up a source code protection policy

Organizations need to set up a source code protection policy that will dictate how to handle and protect the code. Having a well-defined source code protection policy that contains rules, requirements, and procedures to protect the code will aid the implementation of security best practices. Keeping the code and development process in line with the established code protection policy will minimize the risk of code getting compromised during development and after publishing.

Implement encryption and monitoring mechanisms

Use encryption methods to protect data in transit and at rest. Monitoring and encryption can together strengthen the security of source code. Individual keys, code strings, and other pieces of information can be encrypted to create hacker blind spots in the code. Constant monitoring is recommended to detect suspicious activities and block attacks. You can limit the damage and reduce the cost of remediation with constant monitoring and timely alerts.

Strengthen source code with code obfuscation

Programmers can combine different code obfuscation techniques to strengthen code protection. Using alternate code forms to translate short sections of code and making it hard to decipher and adding dead code or dummy code to increase confusion are among the obfuscation techniques that can be leveraged to prevent hackers from misusing the code.

Employ in-app protection methods

In-app protection methods like RASP (Runtime application self-protection) facilitate deeper-rooted code-level visibility. RASP provides DevSecOps-centric attack visibility with better SSDLC integration. It provides better intel about the exact vulnerable code. Developers can leverage this information to modify the codebase and remove security vulnerabilities. RASP is cloud agnostic and protects code in runtime irrespective of the deployment environment.

Use shielding processes

Shielding processes are used to modify an application’s code to make it difficult to tamper with. Shielding is an effective method to prevent hackers from removing digital rights locks and stealing intellectual property. It ensures binary code protection and helps prevent piracy. Shielding also includes biometric authentication checks to make it difficult for hackers to analyze the application’s binary. Organizations can use shielding as one of the methods to meet licensing and regulatory requirements.


How Can Appsealing Protect Your Source Code?

AppSealing leverages security tools and techniques such as app shielding, encryption, obfuscation, and runtime protection to protect source code. Appsealing’s RASP capabilities can safeguard the app from zero-day attacks and OWASP vulnerabilities. It facilitates greater visibility into different issues existing within the application code. Appsealing ensures accurate identification of source code and applies a mix of security tools to protect the application from malicious insiders and outsider threats. With real-time source code protection, Appsealing shields apps in runtime with real-time threat analytics.

It employs a robust and layered defense system to secure source code from vulnerabilities. You can protect source code files such as DEX, SO, and DLL from decompiling and code stealing with Appsealing. It also provides snapshots of all hacking attempts enabling data-driven decisions and faster risk mitigation.


Final Thoughts

Proprietary software developers must pay special attention to source code security. Access control, endpoint security, and deploying network security tools are other effective security measures that you can implement apart from the ones discussed here. Code repositories are valuable targets for attackers and source code protection is vital so organizations don’t accidentally expose critical sensitive data.

Source code reviews are critical to pinpoint areas of vulnerabilities. Active threats such as PII and leaked secrets or passive threats such as business/application logic flaws, cryptography weakness, and vulnerable dependencies can be detected and prevented with source code reviews. Source code reviews help determine where to focus time and efforts for risk mitigation.

The security team, operations team, and developers are all equally responsible for source code protection. A source code is one of the most valuable assets for the company that holds critical information about the software. Failing to secure source code can also lead to regulatory fines.

Appsealing is a leading security solution provider specialized in the protection of mobile apps. With expertise spanning verticals such as gaming, fintech, movies, and ecommerce, we ensure robust protection for Android, iOS, and Hybrid apps. Leverage our zero coding and scalable app security features to protect apps from known and unknown threats. We ensure easy-to-use compatibility with third-party tools along with runtime protection. Contact us today to launch apps with built-in security!

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About the Author

Govindraj Basatwar, Global Business Head
Govindraj Basatwar, Global Business Head
A Techo-Commerical evangelist who create, develop, and execute a clear vision for teams. Successfully created a SaaS business model with multi Million Dollar revenues globally. Proven leadership track record of establishing foreign companies in India with market entering strategy, business plan, sales, and business development activities.