There's a big difference between hackers (people who like to experiment with computer systems to make them do unintended things) and attackers (criminals who exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems to gain access to data or processes).
In this article, we'll cover the basics of hacking on Google's widely used Android system.
Since its release in 2008, adoption of Android has soared, and it is now by far the most common mobile operating system.
The reasons for Android's success are tied to its release as open source software, which allows application developers much better insight into its inner workings. The robust set of applications and extensions to Android translates to Android appearing on many different types of hardware.
In fact, Android has been so successful that it already captures more than 80% of the market share for mobile operating systems, with that number expected to climb to nearly 90% by 2022, according to Statista.
The same openness that makes Android appealing to mobile developers also makes it attractive to hackers. The open platform makes it easy to hack on. Of course, while most hackers simply enjoy experimenting with hardware and software, there are always going to be attackers who seek to exploit vulnerabilities. Download our free secure coding handbook to make sure your Android applications aren’t vulnerable to common exploits.
There are hundreds of resources on the internet for people who want to get involved in Android hacking, from communities to lists of tools and guidebooks.
Veracode Community - Chat with security experts, hackers, and developers about all things application development, including security and modification.
Android-Exploits - This is an open source guide on Android exploits and hacks from GitHub user sundaysec, with links to additional resources and tools.
Hacking Android: 80 Pages of Experts' Tutorials - You'll find code and tutorials on Android security, hacking, and exploits from monthly hacking and cybersecurity magazine Hakin9.
XDA Developers forum - This is an Android development and hacking community with millions of users.
In addition to manual coding, there are many applications built around hacking Android systems. These range from apps targeted at end users who want to extend their Android device's battery life or customize other parts of its operating system to deep system hacks used by more sophisticated hackers and attackers.
Apktool – This tool is used for reverse engineering third party, closed, binary Android applications.
Dex2jar – This widely available tool works with Android .dex and Java .class files, enabling the conversion of one binary format to another.
JD-GUI – This is a graphic utility tool that stands alone and displays Java sources from .class files.
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