VB2018 preview: Unpacking the packed unpacker: reversing an Android anti-analysis library

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   Aug 17, 2018

Seven years ago, the first VB conference paper on Android malware looked at what was then a new, but growing trend. Since then both the threat and the research community have grown enormously, and every VB conference since has featured several talks on Android malware. VB2018 is no exception.

One of this year's Android talks will by Maddie Stone, a researcher from the developer of Android itself, Google. Maddie will present her analysis of an anti-analysis library used by thousands of malicious APKs to obfuscate their functionality.

The library, named 'WeddingCake' because of its many layers, uses techniques also commonly seen in Windows malware, from dynamic decryption to attempts to detect being run inside a research environment. Maddie's analysis demonstrates the challenges faced by those researching the still growing threat of Android malware.

For a taste of Maddie's VB2018 talk and paper, take a look at the slides (pdf) of a talk she gave at Black Hat USA last week, in which she focused on the same library. 

fig5-stone.jpgThe library checks for the presence of the Monkey tool commonly run in emulators.

Don't forget to register for VB2018 to guarantee your place in Montreal, where you will also be able to Sophos's Rowland Yu discuss how to perform network analysis of Android malware as well as attend a workshop on Android malware analysis by Fortinet's Axelle Apvrille.

And if you yourself have performed some hot research on Android malware (or any other security topic), note that the call for last-minute papers remains open until 2 September!

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