Tamper an Android native shared library (.so) using IDA Pro 7.0

Tamper an Android native shared library (.so) using IDA Pro 7.0


  • macOS High Sierra
    Version: 10.13.6
    Model Name: Mac mini
    Processor Name: Intel Core i5
  • IDA Pro Version 7.0
  • Target ABI: x86_64

Install / update python2

Reference: https://docs.python-guide.org/starting/install/osx/

brew install python@2

Python2 binary will be installed at /usr/local/bin/pip2.7

Install Keypatcher


1. install brew

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

2. install cmake

brew install cmake

3. install keystone-engine

sudo pip install keystone-engine

This command may produce below error:

The directory ‘~/Library/Caches/pip/http’ or its parent
directory is not owned by the current user and the cache has been
disabled. Please check the permissions and owner of that directory. If
executing pip with sudo, you may want sudo’s -H flag.

Solution is below:

sudo -H /usr/local/bin/pip2.7 install keystone-engine

proxy option

If you are working behind your company proxy, then should specify the proxy for the pip2.7 command. E.g.

sudo -H /usr/local/bin/pip2.7 install --proxy=: keystone-engine

Once you run above command successfully, you should be able to see below output.


Collecting keystone-engine


100% |████████████████████████████████| 2.8MB 1.2MB/s

Installing collected packages: keystone-engine

Running setup.py install for keystone-engine … done

Successfully installed keystone-engine-0.9.1.post3

Copy the keystone python packages into your IDP Pro python directory

sudo cp -r /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/keystone /Applications/IDA\ Pro\ 7.0/ida64.app/Contents/MacOS/python/

4. Install Keypatch plugin

Then download the keypatch.py from https://github.com/keystone-engine/keypatch and put it to your IDP Pro plugins directory: /Applications/IDA Pro 7.0/ida.app/Contents/MacOS/plugins

5. Restart your IDP Pro

Now from menu Edit->Plugins you should be able to see Keypatch Patcher option available.

Example project

This example project does nothing but invoke a C function to compute the fibonacci number. We have below core source code.

Java_arophix_com_androidopenssl_MainActivity_computeSum(JNIEnv *env, jobject instance, jint a,  
  jint b) {  
  int sum = add(a, b);  
  static int valueToTamper = 10;  
  int result = fibonacci_loop(valueToTamper);  
  ALOGW("====>>>> fibonacci_loop result of %d: %d\t", valueToTamper, result);  
  result = fibonacci_recursive(valueToTamper);  
  ALOGW("====>>>> fibonacci_recursive result of %d: %d\t", valueToTamper, result);  

  return sum;  

We will compile this project and tamper the shared library to get a tampered result, i.e. to tamper the value 10 static int valueToTamper = 10; to some other value, for example 8.

Figure out the location of target name valueToTamper

From menu View->Open subviews->Names. We notice that valueToTamper occurs in form of


And its address is 0x0000000000003008. We go to this address and see its value.

Names window

Tamper the binary

Before tampering the target native-lib.so file, let’s see its original value. Note that here we focus on the x86_64 architecture only.

Original value of valueToTamper

Original value of valueToTamper

Note that the green color 0Ah is actually the value of decimal 10 inside our source code.

static int valueToTamper = 10;  

And, when run this Android application, you will see below logcat output.

Logcat output before tampering
Before tampering

Tampering steps

1. Open patcher

Right click on the address 0x0000000000003008 to open patcher.

Open patcher

2. Modify the assembly

After open the patcher, we can see its original assembly instruction is dd 0Ah, 0Ah, see below:

Original instruction

Then we can modify this instruction to dd 08h, 08h, and change Syntax to Nasm, see below:

Tampered instruction

At last, click Patch to save your changes into database of IDP project, then press Cancel to exit the patcher.

3. Apply patch

To apply the changes you made in your IDA Pro database to the original program, use the menu: Edit->Patch Program->Apply Patches to input file. See below:

Apply Patch to input the original .so

You can tick the Create backup option to save a backup file.
Apply Patch to input the original .so


If you make several patches, apply them, undo one of the patches, and apply patches again, ida will loose the information about the “undone” patch and not able to undo it in the original file. Because of this, you should make a backup of the original file before your first patch, and copy it back before every subsequent patch you make.

After applying the patch, running the example app will produce the tampered result:

Logcat output after tampering



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s