dex2jar - tools to work with Android .dex and java .class files

"dex2jar contains 4 components:
  • dex-reader is designed to read the Dalvik Executable (.dex/.odex) format. It has a light weight API similar to ASM.
  • dex-translator is designed to do the conversion. It reads the dex instruction into dex-ir format and after some optimization it converts it to ASM format.
  • dex-ir used by dex-translator is designed to represent the dex instruction
  • dex-tools contains tools to work with .class files. (eg. modify an apk, deobfuscate a jar)

Dare - a tool for converting Dalvik/Android bytecode into traditional Java *.class files

"Dare is a project which aims at enabling Android application analysis. The Dare tool retargets Android applications in .dex or .apk format to traditional .class files. These .class files can then be processed by existing Java tools, including decompilers. Thus, Android applications can be analyzed using a vast range of techniques developed for traditional Java applications."

Nice. It seems I won't have to learn the Dalvik instruction set after all ... Smile

APKInspector - a GUI tool for APK analysis

"APKinspector is a powerful GUI tool for analysts to analyze the Android applications. The goal of this project is to aide analysts and reverse engineers to visualize compiled Android packages and their corresponding DEX code. The primary focus of this project is to provide a visualization layer that’s typically missing in existing Android reverse engineering tools, as well as to create a unified platform that combines several existing Android reverse engineering tools into a single unified view and context. For example this would include taking the control flow graph output from Androguard and unifying it with the code output from apktool, or dex2jar."

There's a 9 min video demonstrating the featureset of APKInspector.

Stowaway - static analysis tool for identifying permission use in Android apps

"Parts of the Android API are protected with permissions. In order to access protected API calls, developers must request the appropriate permissions in their applications' manifests. If a developer asks for more permissions than an application needs, then the application is overprivileged. Preventing overprivilege is important. Extra permissions may (1) unnecessarily deter users from installing applications, (2) unnecessarily accustom users to accepting lots of permissions, and (3) needlessly increase the potential damage of application vulnerabilities. Stowaway -a static analysis tool- detects overprivilege in compiled Android applications. Stowaway determines the set of API calls that an application uses and then maps those API calls to permissions. Automated testing tools were used on the Android API to build the permission map."

The tool itself seems to be not yet publicly available, but the website lets you upload an APK for analysis and review the results.

Androguard - reverse engineering of Android applications

"Androguard is mainly a tool written in python to play with:
  • Dex (Dalvik virtual machine) (.dex), and ODex (disassemble, decompilation)
  • APK (Android application) (.apk)
  • Android's binary xml (.xml)
Androguard is available for Linux/OSX/Windows (python powered)."

Ubuntu CDs are no more, apparently DVD is the way to go

"There is no longer a traditional CD-sized image, DVD or alternate image, but rather a single 800MB Ubuntu image that can be used from USB or DVD. Users who previously installed using LVM or full-disk encryption via the alternate CD will find that these installation targets are supported by the consolidated image in 12.10."

Well, that's almost true. Apart from the small difference that the new universal desktop image is only 790 MB. I don't really see any reason why the image could not fit on a 700 MB CD anymore. For those lousy 90 MB we've to use a DVD now. Did you already burn it? Is it not ridiculous how little of the 4.7 GB the image uses? Is it not a huge waste of space and resources? Ahhh. Sad

How to unpack (decode+disassemble) a number of APK packages

I recently wrote about how to deodex an odex file. Part of the instructions were a series of commands to unpack (decode+disassemble) an APK into some sort of a "source package". I've attached a short shell script (for linux/unix systems) that will use apktool, aapt and baksmali to extract and disassemble the contents of all APKs in the current working directory. It can be useful eg. to disassemble all system apps copied over to your PC from the /system/app directory on your phone. And having the sources you can start looking around and track down bugs, etc. Of course you could just download the original (Java) sources from, but that would take quite a long time and several gigabytes on your drive.

Using app encryption in Jelly Bean

Paid apps in Google Play are now encrypted with a device-specific key before they are delivered and stored on the device. This article discusses Android app encryption details, a new feature introduced in Jelly Bean (Android 4.1). The article shows how this encryption works and how you can encrypt and install apps "manually".

How to deodex an odex file

In the latest version (v1.4.0) of baksmali the process has been greatly simplified:
baksmali -a <api_level> -x <odex_file> -d <framework_dir> -o <output_dir>

smali - assembler/disassembler for the dex format used by Dalvik

"smali/baksmali is an assembler/disassembler for the dex format used by dalvik, Android's Java VM implementation. The syntax is loosely based on Jasmin's/dedexer's syntax, and supports the full functionality of the dex format (annotations, debug info, line info, etc.)"

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