Inside KangaPack: the Kangaroo packer with native decryption

6 min readJun 23, 2023


In this blog post, we unpack a malicious sample sha256: 2c05efa757744cb01346fe6b39e9ef8ea2582d27481a441eb885c5c4dcd2b65b . The core decryption of the payload is implemented at native level. I named the packer KangaPack (you’ll understand why when reading this article), it also goes under the name Packed.57103, I am unaware of any other name.

Teaser: from decompiled code, we’ll see exactly how the packer decrypts the payload, we’ll use JEB decompiler to decompile an ARM library, we’ll use ImHex with a DEX pattern to understand where the payload is hidden.

Where to begin

The sample is packed: its main (com.dsfdgfd.sdfsdf.MainActivity) and receiver (com.shounakmulay.telephony.sms.IncomingSmsReceiver) are not available from the wrapping APK:

  <application android:appComponentFactory="" android:extractNativeLibs="true" android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher" android:label="遠通電收ETC" android:name="com.hwgapkspv.gouhwkh.BQddpmHvTsWgSIexmtrw" android:networkSecurityConfig="@xml/network_security_config" android:usesCleartextTraffic="true">
<receiver android:exported="true" android:initOrder="1048" android:name="com.shounakmulay.telephony.sms.IncomingSmsReceiver" android:permission="android.permission.BROADCAST_SMS">
<action android:initOrder="1048" android:name="android.provider.Telephony.SMS_RECEIVED"/>
<activity android:configChanges="density|fontScale|keyboard|keyboardHidden|layoutDirection|locale|orientation|screenLayout|screenSize|smallestScreenSize|uiMode" android:exported="true" android:hardwareAccelerated="true" android:initOrder="1048" android:launchMode="singleTop" android:name="com.dsfdgfd.sdfsdf.MainActivity" android:theme="@style/LaunchTheme" android:windowSoftInputMode="adjustResize">
<meta-data android:initOrder="1096" android:name="" android:resource="@style/NormalTheme"/>

The application’s entry point is com.hwgapkspv.gouhwkh.BQddpmHvTsWgSIexmtrw. We decompile its attachBaseContext(). Let’s look into it step by step.

The malware unzips its own APK in a working directory /data/data/<PACKAGE_NAME>/app_JKnBkiqZbmLnxDv/HIFlFQ.

protected void attachBaseContext(Context base) {
int i;
// get application source dir
File app_srcdir = new File(this.getApplicationInfo().sourceDir);
File dir = this.getDir("JKnBkiqZbmLnxDv", 0); // app_JKnBkiqZbmLnxDv
// get sub directory HIFlFQ
File HIF_dir = new File(dir, "HIFlFQ");
ArrayList list = new ArrayList();
// if ./app_JKnBkiqZbmLnxDv/HIFlFQ create it an unzip the application
if(!HIF_dir.exists()) {
Ysaplgfew9laf2lsdsa.unzip_metainf(app_srcdir, HIF_dir, true);

Then, it parses each unzipped file:

this.dex_extension = ".dex";
this.classes_dex_file = "classes.dex";
// get all files of the unzipped dir
File[] arr_file = new File(dir, "HIFlFQ").listFiles();
int v = 0;
while(v < arr_file.length) {

Whenever it encounters a DEX file, it reads it, decrypts, parses the resulting ZIP and adds to a list each file of that ZIP. By default, the code is obfuscated, I have edited the names to ease its understanding. We’ll look into writeDex (real name: odgnstswehaxibqwemcbvdand) do_decrypt_file (real name: bhwi8sma09d23ssva) afterwards.

In our case, there is a single DEX file: classes.dex .

File file = arr_file[v];
String f = file.getName();
if(f.equals(this.classes_dex_file)) {
// adds ".dex" extension to filename
// if filename is "classes.dex" -> "classes.dex.dex"
String the_dex_dex = file.getPath() + this.dex_extension;

// reads the input file as a byte array and writes that to the dex dex file
this.writeDex(BQddpmHvTsWgSIexmtrw.file2bytes(file), the_dex_dex);

// decrypts the file (f) and writes the result to the_dex_dex
// the decrypted file is a ZIP: lists files inside it
File[] arr_file1 = this.do_decrypt_file(new File(the_dex_dex), f).listFiles();

// this loop is basically for(i=0; i<arr_file1.length; i++)
int max = arr_file1.length;
i = 0;
while(true) {
if(i >= max) {
goto loop_finished;
// add each file to a list

Once this is done, the malware installs the listed payload files on the smartphone, thus making their code available to the malware. We’ll see that as well later.

Finding the payload

We dig into writeDex (real name: odgnstswehaxibqwemcbvdand). We notice the method

  1. Retrieves an integer from the last 4 bytes of the file
  2. Allocates a buffer whose size is represented by that integer
  3. Reads the required length before that integer and stores it in a resulting file.
private void writeDex(byte[] bytearray, String filename) throws IOException {
byte[] dexlen = new byte[4];
// we copy the last 4 bytes of the file in dexlen. This is an int.
System.arraycopy(bytearray, bytearray.length - 4, dexlen, 0, 4);
// read the bytes of dexlen and convert to int.
int dex_length = new DataInputStream(new ByteArrayInputStream(dexlen)).readInt();
byte[] newdex = new byte[dex_length];
// we copy the last DEX_length bytes (-4) to newdex array
System.arraycopy(bytearray, bytearray.length - 4 - dex_length, newdex, 0, dex_length);
File file = new File(filename);
try {
FileOutputStream localFileOutputStream = new FileOutputStream(file);
localFileOutputStream.close(); // we write that to filename
catch(IOException localIOException) {
throw new RuntimeException(localIOException);

This means that the payload is actually embedded inside the wrapping classes.dex itself!

To start unpacking manually, we read the last bytes of classes.dex: 00 04 A5 D0. This corresponds to a length of 304592 bytes.

$ hexdump -C classes.dex | tail -n 3
0005eae0 3e 15 97 d7 d5 f8 74 16 5f ed b5 8c 6c aa d0 af |>.....t._...l...|
0005eaf0 00 04 a5 d0 |....|

The original classes.dex file has a length of 387828 bytes. So, we need to copy bytes starting at 387828–304592–4=83232. Not surprisingly, the extract part has no known format: it is encrypted.

$ dd if=classes.dex of=todecrypt skip=83232 count=304592 bs=1
304592+0 records in
304592+0 records out
304592 bytes (305 kB, 297 KiB) copied, 0,610131 s, 499 kB/s
$ file todecrypt
todecrypt: data

Let’s come back to where the encrypted payload is. It is — except for the last 4 bytes — at the end of the original (packing)classes.dex. How is that possible? We load the DEX in ImHex and apply the DEX pattern.

File_size, inside the DEX header, is 387828.

The DEX header has the correct length of 387828. This means we do not have “a DEX, and then an encrypted payload”, but that the encrypted payload is included in the DEX format itself.

DEX data ends at 0x1451F included.

A DEX normally ends after its link_data, which is just after its data section. Here, we have no link_data, so the DEX ends at the end the data section, i.e at 0x1451F. Notice that 0x14520 = 83232 which is exactly the offset for the encrypted payload.

NB. For correct pattern detection of DEX files in ImHex, I added the following to struct Dex in dex.hexpat . I will push the update soon, but meanwhile, you can do it for yourselves:

    u8 data[header.data_size] @header.data_off;
map_list map_list @ header.map_off;
u8 link_data[header.link_size] @ header.link_off;

So, the packer cleverly embeds the encrypted payload inside the DEX file format, fixes the size, signature and checksum.

Layout of packer’s classes.dex

Understanding decryption

Now let’s go back to do_decrypt_file (real name: bhwi8sma09d23ssva). The function calls abddesCrypt.

 byte[] arr_b = Molfwernpozxswfsg.abcdesCrypt(Fsolwtym0asmsaw.File2byte(file));  
FileOutputStream decrypted_file = new FileOutputStream(new File(file.getPath()));

And as I said in the introduction, this calls native code:

import android.content.Context;

public class Molfwernpozxswfsg {
static {

public static native byte[] abcdesCrypt(byte[] arg0) {

The function is implemented in We decompile it. The code is straight forward. The encrypted payload is retrieved from v5 and stored in ciphertext_ptr (the names have been edited for clarity). Then, the code allocates buffers and initializes OpenSSL’s EVP API. AES decryption is initialized for CBC mode using a symmetric key and an IV. The routine asks to decrypt the ciphertext (EVP_DecryptUpdate) and retrieves the result (EVP_DecryptFinal_ex)

adcdesCrypt function decompiled by JEB

To decrypt, we need to find the key and IV. See they point to the same address! AES_SECRET_KEY   dd 27C7Ch                                 ; xref: Java_com_hwgapkspv_gouhwkh_Molfwernpozxswfsg_abcdesCrypt+6Ch (data-dyn-adv) / Java_com_hwgapkspv_gouhwkh_Molfwernpozxswfsg_abcensCryption+7Ch (data-dyn-adv) / Java_com_hwgapkspv_gouhwkh_Molfwernpozxswfsg_abcdesCrypt+64h (data-dyn-adv) / Java_com_hwgapkspv_gouhwkh_Molfwernpozxswfsg_abcensCryption+74h (data-dyn-adv) / 2DD00h (ptr) AES_IV dd 27C7Ch
.rodata:00027C7C aJ2K10uXshMh9UGP db "j2K10uXshMh9UGPS",0

We have all we need to decrypt the payload.

from Crypto.Cipher import AES
ciphertext = open('encrypted_payload','rb').read()
iv=key, AES.MODE_CBC, iv)
f = open('','wb')

The resulting file is a ZIP. It contains the payload DEX.

Loading the payload

Once decrypted, the malware calls an install function (real name: ir68n8s9tdadlbjh). The code is difficult to understand, but fortunately, we don’t have to: I have already seen this code, it is part of Android itself. Compare it with this source code.

private static void install(ClassLoader loader, List additionalClassPathEntries, File optimizedDirectory) throws IllegalArgumentException, IllegalAccessException, NoSuchFieldException, InvocationTargetException, NoSuchMethodException {
IOException[] dexElementsSuppressedExceptions1;
Object pathListField = BQddpmHvTsWgSIexmtrw.findField(loader, "pathList").get(loader);
ArrayList suppressedExceptions = new ArrayList();
Log.d("BQddpmHvTsWgSIexmtrw", "Build.VERSION.SDK_INT " + Build.VERSION.SDK_INT);
if(Build.VERSION.SDK_INT >= 23) {
BQddpmHvTsWgSIexmtrw.expandFieldArray(pathListField, "dexElements", BQddpmHvTsWgSIexmtrw.makePathElements(pathListField, new ArrayList(additionalClassPathEntries), optimizedDirectory, suppressedExceptions));
— Cryptax

It implements installation of all files listed in additionalClassPathEntries argument. In that list, we’ll have the classes_ogr.dex file. Thus, the file will be loaded and everything inside (com.dsfdgfd.sdfsdf.MainActivity for instance) becomes available.

Packer naming

This packer isn’t recognized by APKiD (yet) and I don’t know where it is from. If you have any clue, please contact me Twitter or (handle: @cryptax). Meanwhile, I am going to name it. As it contains the payload inside the DEX file inside, I’ll call it KangaPack (kudos to Kangaroos).

— Cryptax




Mobile and IoT malware researcher. The postings on this account are solely my own opinion and do not represent my employer.