Impair Defenses: Prevent Application Removal

ID Name
T1629.001 Prevent Application Removal
T1629.002 Device Lockout
T1629.003 Disable or Modify Tools

Adversaries may abuse the Android device administration API to prevent the user from uninstalling a target application. In earlier versions of Android, device administrator applications needed their administration capabilities explicitly deactivated by the user before the application could be uninstalled. This was later updated so the user could deactivate and uninstall the administrator application in one step.

Adversaries may also abuse the device accessibility APIs to prevent removal. This set of APIs allows the application to perform certain actions on behalf of the user and programmatically determine what is being shown on the screen. The malicious application could monitor the device screen for certain modals (e.g., the confirmation modal to uninstall an application) and inject screen input or a back button tap to close the modal.

ID: T1629.001
Sub-technique of:  T1629
Tactic Type: Post-Adversary Device Access
Tactic: Defense Evasion
Platforms: Android
Version: 1.0
Created: 01 April 2022
Last Modified: 05 April 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0485 Mandrake

Mandrake can abuse device administrator permissions to ensure that it cannot be uninstalled until its permissions are revoked.[1]

S0286 OBAD

OBAD abuses device administrator access to make it more difficult for users to remove the application.[2]


ID Mitigation Description
M1012 Enterprise Policy

An EMM/MDM can use the Android DevicePolicyManager.setPermittedAccessibilityServices method to set an explicit list of applications that are allowed to use Android's accessibility features.

M1006 Use Recent OS Version

Recent versions of Android modified how device administrator applications are uninstalled, making it easier for the user to remove them.

M1011 User Guidance

Users should be warned against granting access to accessibility features and device administration services, and to carefully scrutinize applications that request these dangerous permissions. Users should be taught how to boot into safe mode to uninstall malicious applications that may be interfering with the uninstallation process.


Users can view a list of device administrators and applications that have registered accessibility services in device settings. Users can typically visually see when an action happens that they did not initiate and can subsequently review installed applications for any out of place or unknown ones. Applications that register an accessibility service or request device administrator permissions should be scrutinized further for malicious behavior.