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What Are the Benefits of Code Obfuscation? - Dream Team Promos

What Are the Benefits of Code Obfuscation?

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Making an application requires a lot of time, effort and money. Businesses also want to outshine their competitors and maintain this competitive edge. They can face severe consequences if cybercriminals steal their code and tamper with their valuable data and information. Application developers collaborate with the security team to take different measures to prevent such unfortunate events. Code obfuscation techniques help to safeguard businesses and their intellectual property from attackers. The following are the benefits of code obfuscation.

Benefits of Code Obfuscation

  1. Enforce Security- It is essential to protect applications running in an untrusted environment. Hackers can review and analyse code to interpret its logic if the application is not properly protected. They can then identify weak points and vulnerabilities and use them to their advantage. They can threaten big companies by asking for huge sums of money in exchange for keeping the loopholes and problems private. But it is important to note that these code obfuscation tools alone cannot offer fool proof protection. A very skilled and motivated attacker can find ways to circumvent these security levels and gain access.
  2. To make reverse engineering difficult- Application developers take several preventative measures including obfuscating code to make it difficult for others to analyse the product’s framework and functions. If they do not prioritise software protection, others can copy and mimic code and rebuild similar products after understanding the application’s working and their unique features. It can adversely affect businesses and the profits they make. The companies may lose their market advantage if their ideas are no longer unique. Some attackers want to steal the personal information of users. They make imitations of legitimate applications. Users can unknowingly download these applications and put themselves at risk. Security teams may use varied but suitable code obfuscation methods by layering them for enhanced security to confuse unauthorised parties and make bypassing difficult.
  3. Increased complexity and cost of de-obfuscation – Different obfuscation methods offer varying levels of security. If a de-obfuscation process takes a long time, then it means the obfuscation technique is powerful. Code obfuscation may also increase the hacking cost. It will protect the business’s intellectual property from unskilled hackers who don’t want to deal with such complexities. One can check the effectiveness of a given employed obfuscation technique by figuring out.

What is Cyber Security?

  • The time it takes to crack the modified code- the longer the better
  • Efforts needed- more the level of difficulty equals more efforts
  • How different the obfuscated code is from its native?
  • If de-obfuscation can be done by anyone or requires a skilled hacker- What is the complexity?
  • Money or resources required
  • Hackers will feel discouraged, if they require a lot of time and money. If they can’t exploit, companies can grow and move forward confidently.
  1. No alteration to the program’s working and functionality- It is just a distracting tool for baffling attackers and masking core ideas or logic. It doesn’t modify the program’s working, feels and appearance of the application and code’s actual planned outcome. It is a precautionary method to protect an application from attackers. For example, some of these defensive techniques involve swapping common instructions with unique instructions or adding more codes. These methods just make it difficult for attackers to understand code. The original program intention or output remains the same.
  2. To maintain secrecy- Companies want to protect their valuable information and implementation logic from falling into the wrong hands. They use different cost-effective code obfuscation techniques to prevent hackers from tampering with their applications. For example, several companies use an Authenticator application to protect their valuable internal resources, trade secrets and user information. This application needs to be protected. Hackers can easily find application installation files from phones and analyze them using the software. If code is clear and readable by humans, it can become a problem. Hackers can use this information to understand the method of OTP generation and create a similar tool for gaining unauthorized access. So, the company’s security team solidify their defenses by using different obfuscation techniques to make the code tough to read and understand. Developers can replace the classes, methods and attributes with nonsensical names to conceal logic in Java. Obfuscation, thus, is a popular distracting tool for heightening security and lowering the susceptibility to nasty cyber-attacks.
  3. Code optimization/ file size reduction – Some disguising techniques involve eliminating unwanted duplicates and dead or unused codes. These methods are advantageous as they not only add a layer of security to make hacking difficult but also result in de-cluttering, optimization of code and reduction of file size. The Minification process enhances the performance of the application by making it lighter.

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Disadvantages of code obfuscation

Disadvantages of code obfuscation

Code Obfuscation offers several great benefits but has some cons too. It makes maintenance or adjustments difficult. If different developers work on a project, it will become difficult for them to decipher code later. The person who made changes to the code in the first place by replacing commands or symbols with different unintelligible characters will only be able to work or make changes to the same. It will put more pressure on that person and cause inconvenience to others.

Also, debugging may become a problem in the future due to the illegibility of the code. Different techniques have varying levels of impact on code performance. Some have minimal impact, while others have considerable adverse effects.

Summing up

Code Obfuscation is an essentially defensive strategy to protect an application from common attacks and malicious intents of attackers by making the code unclear and difficult to decipher. It doesn’t change the working of code or functionality. Sometimes application developers and businesses use different techniques concurrently to add strong layers of defence for application protection. Casual Hackers will not want to attack a protected application if comprehension and execution of obfuscated code will cost them a lot of time and money. It is important to note that obfuscation strategies are not complete security solutions. They only make code difficult to crack but not unhackable. Since these techniques may be vulnerable, they cannot become a substitute for others. One must use the code obfuscation techniques with other security tools and solutions for creating a powerful defensive wall.

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