1.3. Basic Obfuscation

We’ll assume you have Pyarmor 8.0+ installed already. You can tell Pyarmor is installed and which version by running the following command in a shell prompt (indicated by the $ prefix):

$ pyarmor --version

If Pyarmor is installed, you should see the version of your installation. If it isn’t, you’ll get an error.

This tutorial is written for Pyarmor 8.0+, which supports Python 3.7 and later. If the Pyarmor version doesn’t match, you can refer to the tutorial for your version of Pyarmor by using the version switcher at the bottom right corner of this page, or update Pyarmor to the newest version.

Throughout this tutorial, assume run pyarmor in project path which includes:

    ├── foo.py
    ├── queens.py
    └── joker/
        ├── __init__.py
        ├── queens.py
        └── config.json

Pyarmor uses pyarmor gen with rich options to obfuscate scripts to meet the needs of different applications.

Here only introduces common options in a short, using any combination of them as needed. About usage of each option in details please refer to pyarmor gen

1.3.1. More options to protect script

For scripts, use these options to get more security:

$ pyarmor gen --enable-jit --mix-str --assert-call foo.py

Using --enable-jit tells Pyarmor processes some sentensive data by c function generated in runtime.

Using --mix-str [1] could mix the string constant (length > 4) in the scripts.

Using --assert-call makes sure function is obfuscated, to prevent called function from being replaced by special ways

For example,

data = "abcxyz"

def fib(n):
    a, b = 0, 1
    while a < n:
        print(a, end=' ')
        a, b = b, a+b

if __name__ == '__main__':

String constant abcxyz and function fib will be protected like this

data = __mix_str__(b"******")

def fib(n):
    a, b = 0, 1
    while a < n:
        print(a, end=' ')
        a, b = b, a+b

if __name__ == '__main__':

If function fib is obfuscated, __assert_call__(fib) returns original function fib. Otherwise it will raise protection exception.

[1]--mix-str is not available in trial version

1.3.2. More options to protect package

For package, append 2 extra options:

$ pyarmor gen --enable-jit --mix-str --assert-call --assert-import --restrict joker/

Using --assert-import prevents obfsucated modules from being replaced with plain script. It checks each import statement to make sure the modules are obfuscated.

Using --restrict makes sure the obfuscated module is only available inside package. It couldn’t be imported from any plain script, also not be run by Python interpreter.

By default __init__.py is not restricted, in order to let others use your package functions, just import them in the __init__.py, then others could get exported functions in the public __init__.py.

In this test package, joker/__init__.py is an empty file, so module joker.queens is not exported. Let’s check this, first create a script dist/a.py

import joker
print('import joker OK')
from joker import queens
print('import joker.queens OK')

Then run it:

$ cd dist
$ python a.py
... import joker OK
... RuntimeError: unauthorized use of script

In order to export joker.queens, edit joker/__init__.py, add one line

from joker import queens

Then do above test again, now it should work:

$ cd dist/
$ python a.py
... import joker OK
... import joker.queens OK

1.3.3. Checking runtime key periodically

Checking runtime key every hour:

$ pyarmor gen --period 1 foo.py

1.3.4. Binding to many machines

Using -b many times to bind obfuscated scripts to many machines.

For example, machine A and B, the ethernet addresses are 66:77:88:9a:cc:fa and f8:ff:c2:27:00:7f respectively. The obfuscated script could run in both of machine A and B by this command

$ pyarmor gen -b "66:77:88:9a:cc:fa" -b "f8:ff:c2:27:00:7f" foo.py

1.3.5. Using outer file to store runtime key

First obfuscating script with --outer:

$ pyarmor gen --outer foo.py

In this case, it could not be run at this time:

$ python dist/foo.py

Let generate an outer runtime key valid for 3 days by this command:

$ pyarmor gen key -e 3

It generates a file dist/pyarmor.rkey, copy it to runtime package:

$ cp dist/pyarmor.rkey dist/pyarmor_runtime_000000/

Now run dist/foo.py again:

$ python dist/foo.py

Let’s generate another license valid for 10 days:

$ pyarmor gen key -O dist/key2 -e 10

$ ls dist/key2/pyarmor.rkey

Copy it to runtime package to replace the original one:

$ cp dist/key2/pyarmor.rkey dist/pyarmor_runtime_000000/

The outer runtime key file also could be saved to other paths, but the file name must be pyarmor.rkey, here list the search order:

  1. First search runtime package
  2. Next search path PYARMOR_RKEY
  3. Next search path sys._MEIPASS
  4. Next search current path

If no found in these paths, raise runtime error and exits.

1.3.6. Localization runtime error

Some of runtime error messages could be customized. When something is wrong with the obfuscated scripts, it prints your own messages.

First create messages.cfg in the path .pyarmor:

$ mkdir .pyarmor
$ vi .pyarmor/message.cfg

Then edit it. It’s a .ini format file, change the error messages as needed


  error_1 = this license key is expired
  error_2 = this license key is not for this machine
  error_3 = missing license key to run the script
  error_4 = unauthorized use of script

Now obfuscate the script in the current path to use customized messages:

$ pyarmor gen foo.py

If we want to show same message for all of license errors, edit it like this


  error_1 = invalid license key
  error_2 = invalid license key
  error_3 = invalid license key

Here no error_4, it means this error uses the default message.

And then obfuscate the scripts again.

1.3.7. Packing obfuscated scripts

Pyarmor need PyInstaller to pack scripts first, then replace plain scripts with obfuscated ones in bundle. Packing to one file

First packing script to one file by PyInstaller with option -F:

$ pyinstaller -F foo.py

It generates one bundle file dist/foo, pass this to pyarmor:

$ pyarmor gen -O obfdist --pack dist/foo foo.py

This command will obfuscate foo.py first, then repack dist/foo, replace the original foo.py with obfdist/foo.py, and append all the runtime files to bundle.

The final output is still dist/foo:

$ dist/foo Packing to one folder

First packing script to one foler by PyInstaller:

$ pyinstaller foo.py

It generates one bundle folder dist/foo, and an executable file dist/foo/foo, pass this executable to pyarmor:

$ pyarmor gen -O obfdist --pack dist/foo/foo foo.py

Like above section, dist/foo/foo will be repacked with obfuscated scripts.

Now run it:

$ dist/foo/foo