Honey, I Shrunk Your App Security: The State of Android App Hardening

  • Vincent HaupertEmail author
  • Dominik Maier
  • Nicolas Schneider
  • Julian Kirsch
  • Tilo Müller
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10885)


The continued popularity of smartphones has led companies from all business sectors to use them for security-sensitive tasks like two-factor authentication. Android, however, suffers from a fragmented landscape of devices and versions, which leaves many devices unpatched by their manufacturers. This security gap has created a vital market of commercial solutions for Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) to harden apps and ensure their integrity even on compromised devices. In this paper, we assess the RASP market for Android by providing an overview of the available products and their features. Furthermore, we describe an in-depth case study for a leading RASP product—namely Promon Shield—which is being used by approximately 100 companies to protect over 100 million end users worldwide. We demonstrate two attacks against Promon Shield: The first removes the entire protection scheme statically from an app, while the second disables all security measures dynamically at runtime.



We wish to thank our shepherd Yanick Fratantonio and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Furthermore, we appreciate Felix Freiling’s support during the disclosure process.

The work presented in this paper was conducted within the research project “Software-based Hardening for Mobile Applications” and was partially funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Haupert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dominik Maier
    • 2
  • Nicolas Schneider
    • 1
  • Julian Kirsch
    • 3
  • Tilo Müller
    • 1
  1. 1.Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)ErlangenGermany
  2. 2.TU BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.TU MunichMunichGermany

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