Introducing “apkeep,” EFF Threat Lab’s new APK Downloader

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Introducing “apkeep,” EFF Threat Lab’s new APK Downloader

To track state-sponsored malware and combat the stalkerware of abusive partners, you need tools. Safe, reliable, and fast tools. That’s why EFF’s Threat Lab is proud to announce our very own tool to download Android APK files, apkeep. This enables users to download an Android APK or number of APKs directly from the command-line—either from the Google Play Store (with Google credentials) or from a third-party which mirrors the Play Store apps (no credentials needed).

Written in async Rust, this tool prioritizes simplicity of use, memory safety, reliability, and speed. It has also been compiled to a number of architectures and platforms, including Android’s armv7 and aarch64 platforms to download apps directly from an Android device using Termux. It is available right now for you to use.

In the future, we hope to expand apkeep’s functionality by adding support for the Amazon Appstore, allowing downloads of older app versions, and adding additional architectures.

We are proud to give back to the pool of tools that the application security community has created and that we use every day. We hope our own contribution will provide a useful addition to the toolbox.

Further Details

Examples

The simplest example is to download a single APK to the current directory:

apkeep -a com.instagram.android .

This downloads from the default source, APKPure, which does not require credentials. To download directly from the google play store:

apkeep -a com.instagram.android -d GooglePlay -u 'someone@gmail.com' -p somepass .

Refer to USAGE to download multiple APKs in a single run.

Specify a CSV file or individual app ID

You can either specify a CSV file which lists the apps to download, or an individual app ID. If you specify a CSV file and the app ID is not specified by the first column, you’ll have to use the --field option as well. If you have a simple file with one app ID per line, you can just treat it as a CSV with a single field.

Published September 03, 2021 at 02:01AM
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