Book Image

Hacking Android

By : Srinivasa Rao Kotipalli
Book Image

Hacking Android

By: Srinivasa Rao Kotipalli

Overview of this book

With the mass explosion of Android mobile phones in the world, mobile devices have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Security of Android devices is a broad subject that should be part of our everyday lives to defend against ever-growing smartphone attacks. Everyone, starting with end users all the way up to developers and security professionals should care about android security. Hacking Android is a step-by-step guide that will get you started with Android security. You’ll begin your journey at the absolute basics, and then will slowly gear up to the concepts of Android rooting, application security assessments, malware, infecting APK files, and fuzzing. On this journey you’ll get to grips with various tools and techniques that can be used in your everyday pentests. You’ll gain the skills necessary to perform Android application vulnerability assessment and penetration testing and will create an Android pentesting lab.
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Hacking Android
About the Authors
About the Reviewer


Mobile security is one of the hottest topics today. Android being the leading mobile operating system in the market, it has a huge user base, and lots of personal as well as business data is being stored on Android mobile devices. Mobile devices are now sources of entertainment, business, personal life, and new risks. Attacks targeting mobile devices and apps are on the rise. Android, being the platform with the largest consumer base, is the obvious primary target for attackers. This book will provide insights into various attack techniques in order to help developers and penetration testers as well as end users understand Android security fundamentals.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Setting Up the Lab, is an essential part of this book. This chapter will guide you to setting up a lab with all the tools that are required to follow the rest of the chapters in the book. This chapter is an essential part of the book for those who are new to Android security. It will help you build an arsenal of tools required for Android security at one place.

Chapter 2, Android Rooting, provides an introduction to the techniques typically used to root Android devices. This chapter discusses the basics of rooting and its pros and cons. Then, we shall move into topics such as the Android partition layout, boot loaders, and boot loader unlocking techniques. This chapter acts a guide for those who want to root their devices and want know the ins and outs of rooting concepts.

Chapter 3, Fundamental Building Blocks of Android Apps provides an overview of Android app internals. It is essential to understand how apps are being built under the hood, what they look like when installed on a device, how they are run, and so on. This is exactly what this chapter covers.

Chapter 4, Overview of Attacking Android Apps, provides an overview of the attack surface of Android. It discusses possible attacks on Android apps, devices, and other components in the application architecture. Essentially, this chapter lets you build a simple threat model for a traditional application that communicates with databases over the network. It is essential to understand what the possible threats that an application may come across are in order to understand what to test during a penetration test. This chapter is a high-level overview and contains fewer technical details.

Chapter 5, Data Storage and Its Security, provides an introduction to the techniques typically used to assess the data storage security of Android applications. Data storage is one of the most important elements of Android app development. This chapter begins with discussing different techniques used by developers to store data locally and how they can affect security. Then, we shall look into the security implications of the data storage choices made by developers.

Chapter 6, Server-Side Attacks, provides an overview of the attack surface of Android apps from the server side. This chapter will discuss the attacks possible on Android app backends. This chapter is a high-level overview and contains fewer technical details, as most server-side vulnerabilities are related to web attacks, which have been covered extensively in the OWASP testing and developer guides.

Chapter 7, Client-Side Attacks – Static Analysis Techniques, covers various client-side attacks from a static application security testing (SAST) viewpoint. Static analysis is a common technique of identifying vulnerabilities in Android apps caused due to the ease availability of reversing tools for Android. This chapter also discusses some automated tools available for static analysis of Android applications.

Chapter 8, Client Side Attacks – Dynamic Analysis Techniques, covers some common tools and techniques to assess and exploit client-side vulnerabilities in Android applications using dynamic application security testing (DAST). This chapter will also discuss tools such as Xposed and Frida that are used to manipulate application flow during runtime.

Chapter 9, Android Malware, provides an introduction to the fundamental techniques typically used in creating and analyzing Android malware. The chapter begins with introducing the characteristics of traditional Android malware. This chapter also discusses how to develop a simple piece of malware that gives an attacker a reverse shell on the infected phone. Finally, the chapter discusses Android malware analysis techniques.

Chapter 10, Attacks on Android Devices This chapter is an attempt to help users secure themselves from attackers while performing everyday operations, such as connecting their smartphones to free Wi-Fi access points at coffee shops and airports. This chapter also discusses why it is dangerous to root Android devices and install unknown applications.

What you need for this book

In order to get hands-on experience while reading this book, you need the following software. Download links and installation steps are shown later in the book.

  • Android Studio

  • An Android emulator

  • Burpsuite

  • Apktool

  • Dex2jar

  • JD-GUI

  • Drozer

  • GoatDroid App

  • QARK

  • Cydia Substrate

  • Introspy

  • Xposed Framework

  • Frida

Who this book is for

This book is for anyone who wants to learn about Android security. Software developers, QA professionals, and beginner- to intermediate-level security professionals will find this book helpful. Basic knowledge of Android programming would be a plus.


In this book, you will find a number of text styles that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "Let us first delete the test.txt file from the current directory."

A block of code is set as follows:

public void onReceivedSslError(WebView view, SslErrorHandler handler,                 SslError error) 

When we wish to draw your attention to a particular part of a code block, the relevant lines or items are set in bold:

if(!URL.startsWith("file:")) {

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

$ adb forward tcp:27042 tcp:27042
$ adb forward tcp:27043 tcp:27043

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, for example, in menus or dialog boxes, appear in the text like this: "Finally, give your AVD a name and click Finish."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

Reader feedback

Feedback from our readers is always welcome. Let us know what you think about this book—what you liked or disliked. Reader feedback is important for us as it helps us develop titles that you will really get the most out of.

To send us general feedback, simply e-mail , and mention the book's title in the subject of your message.

If there is a topic that you have expertise in and you are interested in either writing or contributing to a book, see our author guide at

Customer support

Now that you are the proud owner of a Packt book, we have a number of things to help you to get the most from your purchase.

Downloading the example code

You can download the example code files for this book from your account at If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit and register to have the files e-mailed directly to you.

You can download the code files by following these steps:

  1. Log in or register to our website using your e-mail address and password.

  2. Hover the mouse pointer on the SUPPORT tab at the top.

  3. Click on Code Downloads & Errata.

  4. Enter the name of the book in the Search box.

  5. Select the book for which you're looking to download the code files.

  6. Choose from the drop-down menu where you purchased this book from.

  7. Click on Code Download.

You can also download the code files by clicking on the Code Files button on the book's webpage at the Packt Publishing website. This page can be accessed by entering the book's name in the Search box. Please note that you need to be logged in to your Packt account.

Once the file is downloaded, please make sure that you unzip or extract the folder using the latest version of:

  • WinRAR / 7-Zip for Windows

  • Zipeg / iZip / UnRarX for Mac

  • 7-Zip / PeaZip for Linux

The code bundle for the book is also hosted on GitHub at We also have other code bundles from our rich catalog of books and videos available at Check them out!


Although we have taken every care to ensure the accuracy of our content, mistakes do happen. If you find a mistake in one of our books—maybe a mistake in the text or the code—we would be grateful if you could report this to us. By doing so, you can save other readers from frustration and help us improve subsequent versions of this book. If you find any errata, please report them by visiting, selecting your book, clicking on the Errata Submission Form link, and entering the details of your errata. Once your errata are verified, your submission will be accepted and the errata will be uploaded to our website or added to any list of existing errata under the Errata section of that title.

To view the previously submitted errata, go to and enter the name of the book in the search field. The required information will appear under the Errata section.


Piracy of copyrighted material on the Internet is an ongoing problem across all media. At Packt, we take the protection of our copyright and licenses very seriously. If you come across any illegal copies of our works in any form on the Internet, please provide us with the location address or website name immediately so that we can pursue a remedy.

Please contact us at with a link to the suspected pirated material.

We appreciate your help in protecting our authors and our ability to bring you valuable content.


If you have a problem with any aspect of this book, you can contact us at , and we will do our best to address the problem.