Attacking Instant Messaging Applications
Iddo Eldor & Nitay Artenstein


22nd-25th of May 2023





What will we do?

Few publicly-known hacks have inspired the imagination of security researchers as much as exploits against IM (instant messaging) applications. 0-click attacks aimed against applications such as WhatsApp, iMessage, and Telegram have raised unprecedented interest and have often caused political turmoil. Yet, in sharp contrast with the curiosity that IM exploitation generates, public information about this surface remains scant. This training is our bid to bridge the gap.

This course will provide students with the knowledge and hands-on experience in reverse engineering, vulnerability research, and exploitation of real-world IM applications. The target audience is advanced security professionals.

Key Learning Objectives

    • IM Architecture Overview
    • Understanding the Attack Flow
    • Building Research Infrastructure
    • Applied Fuzzing and Symbolic Execution
    • Advanced Static & Dynamic Reverse Engineering Techniques
    • Find & Exploit Userland Vulnerabilities in Real Targets


Day 1: Introduction, planning and preparation

    • Instant Messaging Overview
    • Attack Flow: from Recon Stage to Attack Primitives
    • Initial Static & Dynamic Analysis on a Real World IM Application
    • Building Attack Blocks
    • Advanced Frida Scripting

Day 2: Discovery

    • Protocol(s) Deep Dive
    • Understanding and Dissecting Packets
    • Re-Inserting Compiled-Out Functions
    • Automating Sensitive Information Extraction
    • Parameter Tampering
    • Userland ftrace

Day 3: Verification

    • Advanced Static & Dynamic Analysis
    • Common Classes of Java Vulnerabilities
    • In-Memory Fuzzing
    • Applied Symbolic Execution
    • Operational Security

Day 4: Exploitation

    • Common Classes of Native Vulnerabilities
    • Exploit Mitigations
    • Vulnerability Hunting
    • Crashing the Target
    • Building Attack Primitives


    • Knowledge of Python or some equivalent high-level scripting language
    • Reverse engineering experience

Hardware Requirements

    • A working *nix based laptop
    • 30 GB free Hard disk space
    • Each student will be provided with a rooted android phone

Software Requirements

    • JEB
    • IDA(with HexRays for arm64) or Ghidra
    • Administrator/root access


Nitay Artenstein is a senior security researcher and the leader of an international research group. He has been a speaker at various security conferences, including Black Hat and Recon, and has conducted training sessions in Linux kernel exploitation and baseband research. He suffers from a severe addiction to IDA Pro (at least until he gets used to Ghidra’s GUI), and generally gets a kick out of digging around where he’s not supposed to.

Nitay Artenstein

Nitay Artenstein

Iddo Eldor is a vulnerability researcher and reverse engineer with over a decade of experience working for top cyber offensive companies focusing on mobile, currently working for BlindSpot security doing vulnerability research in CI/CD pipelines and helping to improve AI-powered software supply chain protection.

Iddo regularly provides training courses on Mobile Vulnerability Research, Exploitation and Fuzzing to a variety of private clients as well as free courses for youth in the periphery.

He solves most of his problems using Frida (and enjoys ) and waste most of his time coming up with creative names for discovered vulnerabilities.

Iddo Eldor

Iddo Eldor

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