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101

Spring Boot: An Overview

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you develop web or cloud applications in Java, you’ve probably heard about Spring Boot. This convenient tool is found in a huge range of Java applications, supporting them and keeping them running. However, if you’ve never worked with Spring Boot before, it’s not always immediately apparent what it is or how it works. You don’t need to guess anymore. Keep reading to learn what Java Spring Boot does, how it’s used in different applications, and what you need to do to make sure your Spring Boot application has all the security protection it needs to keep your users safe.

What Is Spring Boot?

Spring Boot is a tool designed to make it easier to write applications that run through the Java Spring framework. The Spring framework is an open-source Java framework designed to help enterprises develop standalone applications. The framework is structured to support applications for Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installations. 

Spring Boot makes that process simpler by offering three critical features for app developers:

  • Supports the standalone nature of Spring applications
  • Implements automatic configuration of Java libraries when possible
  • Provides an “opinionated” set of starter configuration beans for apps

Essentially, Spring Boot helps you bootstrap the development of your application by handling many of the behind-the-scenes concerns for you. Using Spring Boot, you can get quickly get started on development proper and waste less time setting up the basic Java Spring framework requirements. This makes it an excellent tool for any developer who wants to increase productivity and ship applications faster.

How Does Spring Boot Work?

Spring Boot accomplishes all that it does by setting up a microservice architecture within the Spring framework. Microservices are small, independent programs within a larger application that can either produce or consume data. In the case of Spring Boot, it produces data based on best practices and your pre-configured settings to handle many tasks automatically. 

For instance, the microservice nature of Spring Boot allows the tool to automatically set up a basic set of beans for an application. Depending on what jar dependencies you’ve included when you initialize Spring Boot, it will take that input and automatically find and include any beans you’ve left out that may be necessary. If, for example, you don’t include any database support beans in your application, Spring Boot will quietly implement them in the background. 

Similarly, it will autoconfigure the libraries that you add based on your settings. When possible, any libraries that you add will be configured to fit the settings and other libraries involved. 

Just as importantly, Spring Boot allows you to override any auto-configurations easily. If, at first, you allowed the program to configure embedded database support, you can replace it just by adding your own datasource bean. 

Setting up a Spring Boot application is easy, too. The Spring.io project offers a Spring Initializer that lets you input all of your important pre-configurations and generate a project file in which you can start writing right away. There’s no need to waste time putting together the base file. Spring does it for you.

Examples of Spring Boot Applications

Spring Boot is most commonly used for web and cloud applications. GitHub is full of excellent examples of applications developed using Spring Boot, such as:

  • Web Applications: The Spring.io website has been built using Spring Boot, so it perfectly demonstrates what the tool looks like in action. The code is up on GitHub, so you can explore how the tool was used to simplify the site’s setup.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Applications: Spring Boot can kickstart IoT applications. A great example of how the tool can be used for IoT programs is the IxorTalk library, which can be quickly added to any Spring framework project to connect the app to Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services IoT offerings.

Still, Spring Boot isn’t perfect. Before you implement the tool in your next application, it’s essential to understand the potential drawbacks of Spring Boot and how to mitigate them. 

The Importance of In-App Protection for Java Spring Boot

Spring Boot has many benefits, but one thing it lacks is automatic security features. While the Spring framework does have some simple security options, they aren’t particularly thorough. Furthermore, you’ll need to continually update your app’s security whenever new threats appear.

You need to make sure your app has more protection than that. The solution is to implement your own in-app security. Hardening your app against security threats requires you to include features like:

  • Obfuscation. If your app contains any kind of private data, it needs to have obfuscation features. You should look for app security solutions that offer multiple forms of obfuscation, such as renaming, encryption, and control flow. This will help you protect everything from login credentials to personal user data.
  • Runtime checks. It’s just as important to ensure your applications aren’t tampered with. Runtime checks let your applications confirm whether or not they have been altered before they start any sensitive tasks. Furthermore, they can help you shut down the app if any unauthorized tampering occurs, helping you avoid data loss.
  • Regular updates. If you want your app to remain safe in the future, you must implement a security solution that will stay up-to-date. The best security solutions automatically update to continue protecting your applications whenever new threats appear.

PreEmptive’s DashO offers all of these features and more. You can add DashO to your Spring Boot application to ensure that it’s secure today and years from now.


Protect Your Spring Boot Application With PreEmptive

Spring Boot is an invaluable tool for Java developers who like the Spring framework. However, it’s important to have proper protection built into your program to avoid common risks native to the framework. That’s where PreEmptive can help. 

With PreEmptive’s DashO, you can protect your application from unnecessary security risks and keep things secure. It’s as easy as following a few simple instructions to ensure your application has built-in hardening protections to keep user data safe. You can learn more about how PreEmptive can help you protect your Spring framework application or get started with DashO today. 


Categories
101

Dotfuscator 101

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this blog we will dive into Dotfuscator  as part of our 101 series – we walk you through what Dofuscator for .NET does and how this can help protect your projects. 

For those of you who are in the industry and know how this product protects your code, we appreciate the loyalty! If you are not tech savvy, but want to know a little bit more about this product, here’s our summary:

What is Dotfuscator for .NET?

Dotfuscator – by definition is a multi-functional tool that combines obfuscation, optimization while shrinking your source code, on .NET, Xamarin and Windows Platform Apps. Basically this jumbles, encrypts your code, hardening it to prevent theft. 

How does Dotfuscator work?

PreEmptive Dotfuscator for .Net provides many layers of protection for .NET users with multiple forms of obfuscation. We like to describe this as constructing the perfect sandwich.

  • First we start with the bread, in this case we will call it Renaming. Renaming obfuscation alters the variables and methods making it difficult to read or scan over to gain access to the certain parts of your source code. However, we go a little further by making things extra difficult for the typical hacker by utilizing Overload Induction™. This renames as many methods as possible to the same name instead of changing one variable one by one. To say this least – this is what makes the “bread” harden at surface level.
  • Then add the veggies: lettuce (Control Flow) and tomato (String Encryption). Control Flow uses advanced obfuscation by falsifying conditional statements. Basically it destroys the code patterns that decompilers use to recreate source code resulting in spaghetti logic to confuse anyone who tries to crack the code. Adding the tomato to this (String Encryption), hides all the strings that are present in the user’s assembly. To better explain, the typical hacker will locate string references inside the binary. Usually if the application is time sensitive, a message will pop up when time has expired – this is exactly what hackers search for inside the decompiled output indicating that they are VERY close to stealing your algorithm. Dotfuscator directly addresses this issue by allowing the user to encrypt strings in the most vulnerable part of the source code. 
  • Now comes the choice of meat (Watermarking, Pruning, Linking-Assembly Merging). Watermarking helps track unauthorized copies of the user’s project by embedding copyright information directly into .NET applications without jeopardizing runtime behavior. Pruning takes the work out for you by removing unused types, methods, fields, debugging information and non-essential metadata from a MSIL file all while processing. Dotfuscator Linking-Assembly Merger combines multiple input assemblies into one or more output assemblies – meaning it shrinks your application down alongside pruning and renaming. 
  • Next is the cheese (Tamper Detection & Defense). Dotfuscator injects code that verifies your application’s integrity during runtime and if it detects tampering, it will shut down the application, invoking random crashes. Now that’s an excellent choice of cheese! 
  • Last but not least are the condiments: mayo (Debug Detection) and mustard (Defense Using Checks). These two are prebuilt into Dotfuscator and can be injected into the .NET apps. This allows your app to detect any unauthorized uses such as debugging or tampering of any sort. Don’t be fooled, checks can do more than just the average scanning, they can react too, for example – exiting the app when tampering is found. 
  • For those who like a little extra to the sandwich, (Shelf Life) is the pickle! Shelf Life is an inventory management function that allows you to embed an expiration date, de-activation, and notification logic to your code! Now this is what we call the ultimate sandwich! 

When should you use Dotfuscator?

Whether you’re a start-up company, freelancer or an organization developing projects using .NET software, you should be using this in the development process – preferably in the beginning stages even after launches. Data breaches are no longer part of the “new normal” they are part of everyday scenarios. If you don’t protect your code from the beginning…you will likely become another data breach statistic.

Where does Dotfuscator work?

Dotfuscator is injected directly into your source code, providing a multi-layered approach by way of in-app hardening; assessing and securing where your code is vulnerable.  

Why should you use PreEmptive Dotfuscator?

PreEmptive Dotfuscator has paved the way in In-App security since 2003, that’s 19 years in the biz! Our clients range from small to large enterprises including many Fortune 500 companies of different industries from medical to government agencies. But if you still need a little more convincing, check out our client list here

For more information on how to get started, download our free trial or need further help, we encourage you to use our resources, found in our navigation bar. We hope this blog has helped you better understand Dotfuscator for .NET. We look forward to our next 101!