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Android Process Memory Dumps with memfetch – Android 4.4.2 (on Ubuntu 16.04)

I used 2 different C code scripts to achieve the same goal of achieving the process memory dump. The specific code scripts are referred to as Memfetch (by Michal Zalewski – found on his blog) and Memdump (by Tal Aloni – found on StackExchange)

Update [2017-01-16]: I’m not sure whether this will work for Android on both x86 and ARM architectures. I tested it on an ARM architecture (physical device), and it worked. I’m yet to test it on an x86 architecture. Will update after testing.


Find the code from the author’s webpage here – http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/soft/memfetch.tgz

Unzip/Extract the code from the TarGZ archive

 tar -xvf memfetch.tgz 

Get into the directory:

cd memfetch

Use the ls command to list the files. The files should be listed as below:

COPYING   Makefile   memfetch.c   mffind.pl   README

Now install the gcc compiler for Android on ARM (not sure if this is what it’s described as):

 sudo apt-get install gcc-arm-linux-android-eabi 

(some instructions say use the gcc-arm-linux-gnueabi but this didn’t work for me )

Edit the Makefile

Normally at this point you should be able to run the make command and compiling should work, however in Ubuntu the Canonical developers seem to have moved some key .h source files around causing problems. The first file that might cause problems if you run the make command will probably be  this is because Ubuntu has moved them from the original location of /usr/include/asm to be in the kernel source files /usr/src/linux-headers-[your-specific-kernel]/include/asm-generic

Make sure you’ve installed build-essential for this path to be existent

 sudo apt-get install build-essential 

You can get to the correct path with:

cd /usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)/include/asm-generic

Once you locate the asm-generic folder check that the page.h file is present.

Now the best way to solve this problem is to create a symbolic link (symlink) in /usr/include/ called asm that links to /usr/src/linux-headers-[your-specific-kernel]/include/asm-generic/ . This is done with the following command:

sudo ln -s  /usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)/include/asm-generic  /usr/include/asm 

Even with this, there will still be some problems because there are some .h files in asm-generic that will be looking for asm-generic in /usr/include/ where the folder doesn’t actually have those header files. So an extra include (-I) directive will need to be added in the Makefile

The beginning of your make file should look like this:

FILE = memfetch
CFLAGS = -Wall -O9 -static
CC = arm-linux-androideabi-gcc

NB: its a capital ‘O’ not a zero, and it’s a 9 (nine), not a ‘g’. The “O” “9” directive is some optimization thing (i don’t know if it’s necessary or not)

Run make at this point. If it works, then great, you should get a memfetch executable file in your memfetch directory if not, follow on.

If you run make and you still get errors of missing .h files, what i did was to just copy the files from /usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)/include/asm-generic  to /usr/include/


 sudo cp /usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)/include/asm-generic/memory_model.h  /usr/include/asm-generic/memory_model.h

The following files were missing …

  • getorder.h
  • /linux/compiler.h
  • /linux/log2.h
  • /linux/bitops.h
  • /linux/irqflags.h
  • /linux/typecheck.h

At this point i got more files in /bitops that were missing, so i decided to copy the entire directory :

cd  /usr/include/asm-generic
sudo mkdir bitops
sudo cp /usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)/include/asm-generic/bitops/* /usr/include/asm-generic/bitops/

At this point i finally ran the make command in the the memfetch directory and an executable was created. There were a couple of warnings, but no errors and the executable worked when I pushed into onto the Android device.

Pushing to the Android Device and Executing “Memfetch”:

NB: We are assuming that the device is properly rooted, and the setting for giving adb shell root permissions has been set in your “Super User” management app.

Go to the adbexecutable location, which might be /home/Android/Sdk/platform-tools it could also be elsewhere … depending on where you installed it

cd /home/Android/Sdk/platform-tools

The best location to push the executable is /data/local/tmp. Let’s create a directory in this location and use the adb push command to push the executable here

./adb shell
su root
cd /data/local/tmp
mkdir mem_dump_tools

We exited first all the way out so that we can run the ./adb push command

./adb push ~/Desktop/memfetch/memfetch /data/local/tmp/mem_dump_tools/

Verify that the memfetch executable has been pushed to the right location:

./adb shell
su root
cd /data/local/tmp/mem_dump_tools
ls -al

The memfetch executable should be in place however it cannot be executed because it does not have execute permissions. We can give it execute permissions with the following command (assuming we are still the root user)

chmod 755 memfetch

(As a side note: chmod u+x memfetch should also work.)

Verify that the Execute permissions have been applied

ls -al

You should see rwx against the name of the memfetch executable. (The x being the important thing)

Now if we run a particular app and search this process’ ID we can dump the process memory. Pick an app e.g. Google Chrome and fire it. Browse to some page

On the adb shell:

ps | grep chrome

You should get 1-3 processes with Chrome (one with sandboxed and another with privileged attached to the process name). Pick the process ID of the process that is plain com.android.chrome

Now we can run memfetch


e.g: ./memfetch 2314 if the process id is “2314”

You should now get some output to screen showing that the memory-mapped regions are being copied. The result is that for each address range (block) from the /proc//mem folder there is a sub folder called map that contains the mappings. These mappings result in an individual “region dump” per file (with a .bin extension) and each region dump filename is appended into a single file with a /lst extension containing all the filenames of all the regions dumped. So the end result is a lot of .bin files and a single .lst file.

NB: If at this point when you try to run memfetch  and all you get is a listing of the available options/directives, and nothing else, then you need to comment out some section of the code in memfetch.c and recompile. I don’t know why this is the case, but someone on StackExchange [2] figured this out and it also worked for me.

The lines to comment out are:

while ((opt=getopt(argc,(void*)argv, "+samwS:h"))!=EOF)
       case 's': waitsig=1; break;
       case 'a': skipmap=1; break;
       case 'w': textout=1; break;
       case 'm': avoid_mmap=1; break;
       case 'S': if (sscanf(optarg,"%x",&onlyseg)!=1)
            fatal("Incorrect -S syntax (hex address expected).\n");
       default: usage(argv[0]); }

With that, everything should work.

This blog post has become too long, so i’ll do memdump in the next one …


[1]. http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/memfetch.tgz

[2]. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/18372120/memfetch-with-android-samsung-galaxy-nexus

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