Android Application Reverse Engineering. Reversing Angry Birds.

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Ok, so this article has been a long time coming.

One of my pastimes is reverse engineering Android applications, just to see “what makes them tick”. In this article, in order to really drive this home, I will reverse engineer the popular “Angry Birds” application.

Due to time constraints and basic laziness, I went for the first APK I could find – Angry Birds in Space.

Also, before anyone asks, in the following article I will NOT be releasing the Angry Birds source code. I simply am using it as a demo :)

First off, you will want to have the Unix “unzip” utility installed. We will be using this to unpack the .apk file.

Second, grab the following pieces of software:
dex2jar – – for converting the .dex file into a .jar file :)
jd-gui – – For decompiling the (.jar) Java file into its (.java) source code :)

Now, the idea behind this article is NOT to teach you to crack apps. Instead, this is the skillset needed to reverse engineer Android Malware – as seen in my previous post –

So. You have your .apk file, the first thing we do is use the GNU Unzip utility to unpackage it!

$ unzip Angry_Birds_Space_Premium_1.3.0.apk

Next, use the utility from dex2jar to convert classes.dex to a JAR file.

$ ./dex2jar- classes.dex

Screenshot of the above 2 steps (I piped output to /dev/null to avoid MASSIVE SPAM OF DATA)

unzip and dex2jar

Next, we simply open the .JAR file using jd-gui.

Decompiling the JAR file

Finally we can simply export the source code from jd-gui for our viewing, and editing pleasure :)

So. In conclusion

  • Android applications are trivial to reverse engineer
  • Software for decompiling them is readily available
  • Fun times :D

About the author

Patrick Macgregor

Patrick Mcgregor has more then 13 years in the Cyber Security Industry consulting and collaborating. Distinguished for an entrepreneurial mindset, creative problem solving, cross-functional teams and a bottom-line orientation.

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