Thursday, November 3, 2011

Android Malware Analysis: A How-To

While mobile malware comprises only a tiny fraction of the overall landscape in terms of volume, it is fast becoming essential to address from an enterprise security standpoint. Unfortunately, very few people would even have a clue where to start if charged with analyzing a program on a smart phone. This disconnect provided the rationale for a presentation I recently gave at Hack in the Box Malaysia on how to go from "I've got an Android APK file, now what?" to full static and dynamic analysis.

The slides, available here, contain links to a number of useful tools. The good news for longtime readers of this blog is that the process is even easier now than it was when Alain Zidouemba discussed reversing Android apps last August. Free software is available that can deliver the original Java source for any given Android app. My presentation also provides an overview of the Android permissions system and its relevance to static analysis, as well as some example packet captures from in-the-wild malicious apps.

One useful piece of advice remains the same since Alain's original analysis, however: the vast majority of malicious apps come not from the Google market but from third-party package distribution sources. We're not saying that you shouldn't ever pull an app from outside the market, just that you should do your homework before you do.
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