How PyArmor Does It

Look at what happened after foo.py is obfuscated by Pyarmor. Here are the files list in the output path dist:

foo.py

pytransform.py
_pytransform.so, or _pytransform.dll in Windows, _pytransform.dylib in MacOS

pyshield.key
pyshield.lic
product.key
license.lic

dist/foo.py is obfuscated script, the content is:

from pytransfrom import pyarmor_runtime
pyarmor_runtime()

__pyarmor__(__name__, __file__, b'\x06\x0f...')

All the other extra files called Runtime Files, which are required to run or import obfuscated scripts. So long as runtime files are in any Python path, obfuscated script dist/foo.py can be used as normal Python script. That is to say:

The original python scripts can be replaced with obfuscated scripts seamlessly.

How to Obfuscate Python Scripts

How to obfuscate python scripts by Pyarmor?

First compile python script to code object:

char *filename = "foo.py";
char *source = read_file( filename );
PyCodeObject *co = Py_CompileString( source, "<frozen foo>", Py_file_input );

Then change code object as the following way

  • Wrap byte code co_code within a try...finally block:

    wrap header:
    
            LOAD_GLOBALS    N (__armor_enter__)     N = length of co_consts
            CALL_FUNCTION   0
            POP_TOP
            SETUP_FINALLY   X (jump to wrap footer) X = size of original byte code
    
    changed original byte code:
    
            Increase oparg of each absolute jump instruction by the size of wrap header
    
            Obfuscate original byte code
    
            ...
    
    wrap footer:
    
            LOAD_GLOBALS    N + 1 (__armor_exit__)
            CALL_FUNCTION   0
            POP_TOP
            END_FINALLY
    
  • Append function names __armor_enter, __armor_exit__ to co_consts

  • Increase co_stacksize to 4 if it’s less than 4

  • Set CO_OBFUSCAED (0x80000000) flag in co_flags

  • Change all code objects in the co_consts recursively

Next serializing reformed code object and obfuscate it to protect constants and literal strings:

char *string_code = marshal.dumps( co );
char *obfuscated_code = obfuscate_algorithm( string_code  );

Finally generate obfuscated script:

sprintf( buf, "__pyarmor__(__name__, __file__, b'%s')", obfuscated_code );
save_file( "dist/foo.py", buf );

The obfuscated script is a normal Python script, it looks like this:

__pyarmor__(__name__, __file__, b'\x01\x0a...')

How to Run Obfuscated Script

How to run obfuscated script dist/foo.py by Python Interpreter?

The first 2 lines, which called Bootstrap Code:

from pytransfrom import pyarmor_runtime
pyarmor_runtime()

It will fulfil the following tasks

  • Load dynamic library _pytransform by ctypes
  • Check dist/license.lic is valid or not
  • Add 3 cfunctions to module builtins: __pyarmor__, __armor_enter__, __armor_exit__

The next code line in dist/foo.py is:

__pyarmor__(__name__, __file__, b'\x01\x0a...')

__pyarmor__ is called, it will import original module from obfuscated code:

static PyObject *
__pyarmor__(char *name, char *pathname, unsigned char *obfuscated_code)
{
    char *string_code = restore_obfuscated_code( obfuscated_code );
    PyCodeObject *co = marshal.loads( string_code );
    return PyImport_ExecCodeModuleEx( name, co, pathname );
}

After that, in the runtime of this python interpreter

  • __armor_enter__ is called as soon as code object is executed, it will restore byte-code of this code object:

    static PyObject *
    __armor_enter__(PyObject *self, PyObject *args)
    {
        // Got code object
        PyFrameObject *frame = PyEval_GetFrame();
        PyCodeObject *f_code = frame->f_code;
    
        // Increase refcalls of this code object
        // Borrow co_names->ob_refcnt as call counter
        // Generally it will not increased  by Python Interpreter
        PyObject *refcalls = f_code->co_names;
        refcalls->ob_refcnt ++;
    
        // Restore byte code if it's obfuscated
        if (IS_OBFUSCATED(f_code->co_flags)) {
            restore_byte_code(f_code->co_code);
            clear_obfuscated_flag(f_code);
        }
    
        Py_RETURN_NONE;
    }
    
  • __armor_exit__ is called so long as code object completed execution, it will obfuscate byte-code again:

    static PyObject *
    __armor_exit__(PyObject *self, PyObject *args)
    {
        // Got code object
        PyFrameObject *frame = PyEval_GetFrame();
        PyCodeObject *f_code = frame->f_code;
    
        // Decrease refcalls of this code object
        PyObject *refcalls = f_code->co_names;
        refcalls->ob_refcnt --;
    
        // Obfuscate byte code only if this code object isn't used by any function
        // In multi-threads or recursive call, one code object may be referenced
        // by many functions at the same time
        if (refcalls->ob_refcnt == 1) {
            obfuscate_byte_code(f_code->co_code);
            set_obfuscated_flag(f_code);
        }
    
        // Clear f_locals in this frame
        clear_frame_locals(frame);
    
        Py_RETURN_NONE;
    }