Your application's code is your intellectual property (IP) that comes with costs of time and money to develop. Therefore, protecting the code before distributing it is integral to the security of your business.
If the code gets leaked or stolen, your company may face a spectrum of adverse effects, including loss of competitive edge, exposure of your innovations, and other serious consequences. Protecting that edge had become for the companies with intellectual property less of an option and more of a norm.
What is code obfuscation?
Software protection is gaining more importance in this present digital era. You can protect against intellectual property theft, unauthorized access, and vulnerability discovery by making an application much more difficult to reverse-engineer. And obfuscation is one of the main approaches to achieve that.
Code obfuscation is the technique of deliberately obscuring a code to make it much more difficult for humans to understand and useless to hackers who may have ulterior motives. Obfuscation uses several tricks to make the code irritating as hell to read and debug.
Reasons to use obfuscation
Lack of protection may cause significant damage to a business owner. Cybercriminals may steal intellectual property, benefit from sensitive information, identify vulnerabilities, or add malicious code to apps.
The idea moved towards obfuscation because of the following reasons:
Intellectual Property theft might quickly cost customers and brand reputation. Losing IP means losing of the first-to-market advantage or loss of profitability, or — in the worst case — losing entire lines of business to competitors.
Intellectual property is rapidly becoming a fundamental basis of wealth representing the most valuable asset. However, IP risk poses a threat to your intellectual capital and your financial success. In particular, to trade secrets, know-hows, lifestyle, salaries, and profits.
It is believed that IP rights stimulate investment (time and money) and lead to innovation. As global IP theft increases, people invest less in new technology and products when they know their software will be stolen. This affects both inventors and investors.
Advantages of obfuscation
Obfuscation gives us a lot of benefits:
Cost-effectiveness. While protection is core to any IP strategy, it can also have a significant capital value for any business. As the obfuscated code becomes much more challenging to analyze, this will reduce the possible hacker attacks. And your intellectual property won't be out in the open. So, your return on investments will definitely increase.
Safety. Obfuscation is an integral method, referred to as application's self-defense. Considering the untrusted environment, it is always better to deploy an obfuscated application. This makes it much harder for attackers to decompile it and extract the intellectual property.
Performance. Obfuscation also optimizes the code by removing not-so-useful metadata, unused code, or duplicate code. This, in turn, speeds up code execution, thus upping application performance.
Reliability. Code obfuscation hides the implementation of a program while still allowing users to run it. Hiding business logic and valuable information in the obfuscated code makes it harder for attackers to access and reverse-engineer your application.
Software is a valuable type of intellectual property that can be challenging to secure. Therefore, protecting it should be among your priorities if it isn't already. The first line of defense against IP theft is often the existence of a well-implemented protection strategy.
When properly implemented, code obfuscation is an effective approach for protecting your business assets. It isn't a way out, but it significally lowers the risks associated with IP leaks.