Menu Close Back

What’s New in iXGuard: Platform Updates (March 2020)

What’s New in iXGuard: Platform Updates (March 2020)

Today Guardsquare released updates to iXGuard, our proprietary product for iOS app security. This release includes support for mobile games built on Unity as well as more sophisticated enhancements to iXGuard’s existing security features. 

Unity Support

According to Unity, over half of new mobile games are built on Unity, and over 60 percent of VR/AR content also uses the platform. Users all over the world rely on Unity-built games for entertainment, and developers love the platform for its “develop once, deploy multiple times” approach for iOS and Android games.

However, like any unprotected mobile app, mobile games without security protections built in are vulnerable to hackers looking for personal and financial gain.  

By targeting unprotected mobile game code, hackers can:

  • Bypass license checks and in-app purchase checks to access premium content for free
  • Build or distribute tweaks or modified apps, giving unpaid access to others

Sometimes these hackers are professionals with malicious intentions, and sometimes they’re solo players who see security as a challenge and want to “beat the system.” In both of these cases, exploitation of unsecured code can result in lost revenue and damaged reputations. 

That lost revenue can really add up according to App Annie’s 2020 State of Mobile report, mobile gaming is estimated to hit a cross-platform grand total of $100B in revenue this year. Game studios understandably want to protect these valuable revenues from fraudsters and cheaters.

In addition to lost revenue, game developers need to think about reputation. Players expect to have fun and compete on merit not tricks. When individual gamers cheat, it can cause honest players to lose trust in both the game and the game maker. 

For this reason, Guardsquare now offers built-in support for the Unity platform within our iXGuard product for secure iOS development.

Key features of Guardsquare’s Unity support in iXGuard include:

  • Code Hardening and Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP): With this update, iXGuard’s existing security features apply to Unity mobile apps, including iXGuard’s code hardening features, such as name obfuscation and class encryption, and RASP mechanisms, such as root detection and hook detection. The combination of code hardening and RASP effectively protects against static and dynamic analysis, as well as runtime attacks.
  • Unity Metadata Obfuscation: In addition to its tried-and-true code hardening and RASP security techniques, iXGuard provides specific obfuscation techniques for Unity metadata to prevent leakage of critical data; for detailed technical information, stay tuned, as we’ll be publishing a blog on this topic in the coming weeks.

As with all Guardsquare products, our hallmark is minimal complexity and drag on the app. Game developers can easily integrate iXGuard into Unity development to create an exceptional, responsive, and secure gaming experience.

Improved Security Techniques

Guardsquare is dedicated to continuous security improvements and updates to address the always-changing mobile threat landscape. Our focus is on two areas: code hardening to protect against static analysis and RASP to protect against dynamic analysis and runtime attacks.

Code hardening and RASP are some of the best ways to prevent reverse engineering and safeguard apps against many forms of hacking and intrusion. Guardsquare has increased its existing iXGuard security protections with the following code hardening enhancements:

  • Control-Flow Obfuscation Methods: iXGuard now includes new control-flow obfuscation methods that extend and improve existing mechanisms, including constant obfuscation and indistinguishable predicates.
  • Additional Polymorphic Protection: With additional binary diversity techniques to create polymorphic protection, iXGuard now has even more ways for every protected build to generate different code, breaking application tweaks and patches on every release. This includes code shuffling and function merging.

Our latest enhancements also introduce an additional RASP technique:

  • Improved Jailbreak Detection: iXGuard now includes additional checks for CheckRa1n, a recently published permanent jailbreak for a wide array of iOS devices including devices running Apple’s iOS 13.

Useability Improvements

In addition to Unity support and even more robust code hardening and RASP techniques, we’ve strengthened iXGuard with the following updates:

  • Supporting Xcode 11.3: iXGuard is now compatible with the newest version of Xcode.
  • SDK Support for In-app Assistant: Our In-App Assistant automatically generates configuration for name obfuscation. This feature now offers support for use with SDKs.

We’ve also updated our Android solution, DexGuard, with Unity support and even more robust security features. If you’re looking to secure Android apps or are a DexGuard user, read through our latest blog post to learn more about these additions and enhancements.

Interested in learning more about our new iXGuard updates? Visit our updated product page to read more details. Or, if you’re looking to integrate iXGuard into your app development process, reach out for a demo and discussion.