As an Android Application Penetration Tester, or bug hunters, we need to download Android application in our playground (Testbed) device/emulator to play around with the desired application. There are many websites that provide .apk file of any Android applications for downloading into the PC such as www.play.google.com, APK Downloader v2, www.apkmirror.com, www.androidapksfree.com, www.apk4fun.com and etc.
I mostly work with Genymotion and Android Studio for running my Emulators and R.I.P Samsung S3. I tried to find a way to use Google Play on the Android Studio Emulators and still unsuccessful (Please let me know if you have a way to install Google Play service on the Android Studio). Meantime, I am using Genymotion for downloading the applications from Google Play.
For those who are new in Android application penetration testing, and prefer to use emulators rather than physical devices you can install the Google Play on Genymotion to always get the latest available version from the Google app store.
Note: Some of Android applications don’t run on emulators to avoid reverse engineering techniques, so you have to do it on your physical device.
Running Google Play on Genymotion:
- Install Oracle Virtualbox.
- Go to the Genymotion website, signup with a valid email (you will need it later) and download Genymotion into your Desktop and install it ( Next, next, next, finish wizard)
Note: If you are currently installed either of them on your machine make sure you have upgraded them into the latest version.
- Create a new emulator in the Genymotion and start it.
- Download the “Genymotion-ARM-Translation_v1.1.zip”. (Mirror).
- Download Google Apps “gapps-lp-20150222-signed.zip” for Android Version 5 (currently higher available version).
Note: if your emulator is running lower version you may download for your desired version.
- Now start your emulator and once it successfully booted, drag & drop the “Genymotion-ARM-Translation_v1.1.zip” on the emulator. And then reboot the phone.
- Do the same step for Google Apps gapps-lp-20150222-signed.zip. Both files will flash your emulator.
- After step 6 & 7, you google play service or Hangout… will crash several times. No worries, its normal 🙂 Open the installed Google Play application, login with your Gmail account, and let it run and update the required apps and service. You need to update the Google Play application as well. Once you update all of them, you are ready to go.
- Enjoy Hunting and share your experiences with me.
I highly recommend you keep this emulator for only downloading apps from Google Play to avoid any updates during the testing.