Let me tell you what I wish I was doing. I wish I was in the harsh climate of Vermont, pummeling through the air on skis, dancing as snow crafts a new beginning. It wouldn’t be hard to be doing that right now… I have already obtained a season pass, but here I find myself, wallowing in the comfort of my bed.
If I were to BeReal, at this moment, that would mean accepting and presenting myself as the couch potato I am. No, I would much prefer to put on an unhealthy facade, becoming the thing that the well meaning network swore to destroy. I am not real. Today, I will be fake. And I was prepared. You can be too.
Ok, I got a little carried away on this introduction. Yes, I am all of these things, but the real motivation was to see if I could upload a gif.
The day before
I’ll be honest. This was not an impulse decision. The day before, I fired up mitmproxy, intending to play around a bit. For those who don’t know, mitm proxy is a penetration testing tool designed to help you perform MITM Attacks on yourself so you can read and modify requests. I spun it up, and configured it as a proxy on my Android device.
BeReal was properly protected against this sort of attack, utilizing Certificate Pinning (via Android’s TrustManager). Really though, that’s just code. Frida is an incredible tool that allows you to preform script injections on “black boxes” for a large variety of platforms (like Violentmonkey!). That includes (provided your device is rooted) android. Once a frida server is running on given device, you can launch any app with specific code that disables certificate pinning capabilities. I chose one from frida codeshare.
$ frida --codeshare akabe1/frida-multiple-unpinning -Uf com.bereal.ft --no-pause
/ _ | Frida 15.2.2 - A world-class dynamic instrumentation toolkit
| (_| |
> _ | Commands:
/_/ |_| help -> Displays the help system
. . . . object? -> Display information about 'object'
. . . . exit/quit -> Exit
. . . .
. . . . More info at https://frida.re/docs/home/
. . . .
. . . . Connected to Pixel 6 (id=~)
Spawned `com.bereal.ft`. Resuming main thread!
[#] Android Bypass for various Certificate Pinning methods [#]
[-] Chromium Cronet pinner not found
[-] Flutter HttpCertificatePinning pinner not found
[-] Flutter SslPinningPlugin pinner not found
[!] Unexpected SSLPeerUnverifiedException occurred, trying to patch it dynamically...
[!] Attempting to bypass uncommon SSL Pinning method on: okhttp3.CertificatePinner.check$okhttp
[+] Bypassing TrustManagerImpl (Android > 7) checkTrustedRecursive check: mobile.bereal.com
Just like that, I was logging every request from the BeReal app. I decided to intercept these requests, and submit a BeReal, so I could closely monitor the flow.
First, BeReal POSTs to an endpoint (auth.bereal.team/token) with a refresh token
And the server responds with a shortlived authorization token and a new refresh token
Good work for them! This is the proper way to do things.
Next, BeReal GETs an endpoint (https://mobile.bereal.com/api/content/posts/upload-url?mimeType=image%2Fwebp) that starts the upload process. That endpoint returns an array containing two firebase urls, one for the front camera and one for the back.
I tried changing the mimeType to a PNG, but it seems the only supported type is webp. (Remember the real reason for all of this — I wanted to upload a GIF as my bereal) I thought my plan was foiled, but, conveniently, you can do anything with WEBP! (it’s a bit like PDF in this regard). I quickly converted both my images (a GIF and a PNG) into WEBP.
I tried to replace the real images with my own before they were uploaded (remember, we have been intercepting and selectively letting traffic through). When one of the uploads failed, I looked into the headers. I noticed
x-goog-stored-content-length seemed to be the size of the original image in bytes. I changed it to the new one, but that also failed! BeReal has limited their image size to 1mb. I took my GIF, minified that, and turned it back into WEBP. 200kb now!
With both images uploaded, I relaunched BeReal, hoping to see my new post. I rashly disabled the interception, and the original image got reuploaded and posted in a fraction of a second. Rats.
Luckily, MITM proxy was still enabled. I noticed a final request, a POST to https://mobile.bereal.com/api/content/posts. I presume this wasn’t originally fired because of the long long delay as I fumbled to replace the original image. That request basically looked like this
So easy to read! Basically, just two references to the images we uploaded. Defeated by the excited app, I decided to put these requests into Insomnia and be more prepared tomorrow. To avoid the eager app, I decided not to use it (or rather not modify - only block - requests from it). I allowed it’s call to auth.bereal.team/token, but nabbed the token and wrote it down. I then simulated the 4 requests (GET, PUT, PUT, POST) from insomnia using the new URLS and token. I took careful note to make sure the front/back references were correct. I relaunched bereal, knowing nothing bad could happen because I haden’t even initiated a capture in the app today. It wouldn’t try any funny biz. Lou and behold, there was my gif. Amazing.