Why Developers Need Source Code Obfuscation
Published on December 29, 2022 by PreEmptive Team
After all, the majority of digital attacks come from weaknesses in code.
Source code is a valuable asset and forms the infrastructure of all digital products and applications. However, when code is left open, it’s like leaving an unlocked safe in a public park. It allows nefarious actors to enter, hack, steal, or alter assets without resistance. Therefore, developers must discover and implement ways to defend their source code.
One of the best ways to do this is to use code obfuscation techniques.
For whatever type of code, understanding how to obfuscate it is imperative to protect intellectual property. Obfuscation is the best way for coders to keep their work safe. Because of its importance, everyone responsible for securing digital assets must know what it is and how it can help.
For those looking to protect their source code, visit PreEmptive’s product page to check out our various obfuscation software tools. We offer a wide range of resources and tools to protect all types of source code — from mobile needs, like Android source code obfuscation, to Python source code obfuscators.
What Is Source Code Obfuscation
The idea behind obfuscating code is simple. In essence, obfuscation is the act of taking code and complicating it so that it becomes illegible. It’s like putting code in disguise.
Obfuscation adds in redundant and extra lines of code, making it nearly impossible to read. Specific methods even alter the commands so that the logical flow of the program is thrown off — making it incredibly difficult to decipher and debug.
Taking the code and changing the lexical structure or control flow renders the code almost impossible for humans to understand. However, with obfuscation, the code remains legible to computer systems, which is how applications still manage work after implementing the disguise.
Many make the mistake of conflating encryption with obfuscation. Obfuscation differs from encryption because it only hides code from humans, while encryption tools incorporate methods that shroud a code’s readability from computers, requiring an entire de-encryption process. As a result, encryption adds additional steps, often slowing down programs. However, obfuscation has relatively little effect on performance.
So that answers the question, what is code obfuscation, but what is an obfuscator?
A code obfuscator is a tool that performs the task automatically, and how it is applied depends on the type of source code. So, depending on whether the goal is to obfuscate HTML source code or obfuscate Python source code, the obfuscator performs the process differently.
A code obfuscation tool determines which way is most effective and applies it to the style of source code. To select the best obfuscation tool, it’s essential to know the different methods of source code obfuscation; this way, security managers can knowingly pick a tool that meets their needs.
PreEmptive develops and supplies obfuscation tools for all types of source codes. For those looking for iOS source code obfuscation, a C++ source code obfuscator, or something else, visit our website to learn more about our line of offerings.
Different Types of Code Obfuscation
There’s no single method to obfuscate code. In fact, there are many ways coders can implement obfuscation protections. Which method is best depends on the type of code being used.
Coders may also incorporate multiple methods to boost overall protections, making it even hard for hackers to understand and reverse-engineer code.
It’s also important to know that these various obfuscation techniques work better depending on the type of source code. For example, the best C source code obfuscator may be different than the best Java source code obfuscator. However, it’s important to remember that certain types of obfuscation may take more significant tolls on code performance.
Renaming is the bread and butter of the obfuscation process and works for almost all source codes. It takes variables and methods and changes them but doesn’t alter the program execution.
This renaming process makes the code extremely hard to understand, and messages become unreadable. The process adds and subtracts variables from code strings, removing traceable patterns from those looking to hack.
Renaming is universal and is used to obfuscate C# source code, as well as Java, iOs, and more.
Control Flow Obfuscation
Control flow is an even more powerful method of securing code. Here, it adds and alters the case switches and recreates the entire structure of the code by inserting commands like link jump instructions.
Control flow techniques scramble entirely the logic of a code flow, which is why it’s so effective. However, this method is more complicated and may affect performance.
Dummy (or Dead) Code Insertion
Another obfuscation method is to insert entire strings of code and lines that aren’t part of the program. Adding dummy code is a great way to increase the difficulty of reverse engineering and is a great way to protect source code of all kinds.
How To Remove Obfuscation
By now, we’ve answered the question, how does code obfuscation work? But what if the obfuscation needs to be removed?
Many of these de-obfuscation measures are accomplished manually. However, it’s much easier to use tools that do it automatically.
Defend Code With the Best Source Code Obfuscation Tools
There’s no way around it: code needs the best protection possible. There are many reasons to invest in the best DevSecOps, as hacking becomes a more significant threat to digital assets every year. Anyone with online property must protect it with the best obfuscation tools available.
PreEmptive is a global leader in developing cutting-edge tools that protect online applications. Our range of products explores the various ways to use obfuscation to defend code while keeping performance at maximum efficiency.