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Last updated: November 22, 2023

Method Hooking


In section "Execution Tracing" we've used frida-trace when navigating to a website in Safari and found that the initWithURL: method is called to initialize a new URL request object. We can look up the declaration of this method on the Apple Developer Website:

- (instancetype)initWithURL:(NSURL *)url;

Using this information we can write a Frida script that intercepts the initWithURL: method and prints the URL passed to the method. The full script is below. Make sure you read the code and inline comments to understand what's going on.

import sys
import frida

# JavaScript to be injected
frida_code = """

    // Obtain a reference to the initWithURL: method of the NSURLRequest class
    var URL = ObjC.classes.NSURLRequest["- initWithURL:"];

    // Intercept the method
    Interceptor.attach(URL.implementation, {
        onEnter: function(args) {
            // Get a handle on NSString
            var NSString = ObjC.classes.NSString;

            // Obtain a reference to the NSLog function, and use it to print the URL value
            // args[2] refers to the first method argument (NSURL *url)
            var NSLog = new NativeFunction(Module.findExportByName('Foundation', 'NSLog'), 'void', ['pointer', '...']);

            // We should always initialize an autorelease pool before interacting with Objective-C APIs
            var pool = ObjC.classes.NSAutoreleasePool.alloc().init();

            try {
                // Creates a JS binding given a NativePointer.
                var myNSURL = new ObjC.Object(args[2]);

                // Create an immutable ObjC string object from a JS string object.
                var str_url = NSString.stringWithString_(myNSURL.toString());

                // Call the iOS NSLog function to print the URL to the iOS device logs

                // Use Frida's console.log to print the URL to your terminal

            } finally {

process = frida.get_usb_device().attach("Safari")
script = process.create_script(frida_code)

Start Safari on the iOS device. Run the above Python script on your connected host and open the device log (as explained in the section "Monitoring System Logs" from the chapter "iOS Basic Security Testing"). Try opening a new URL in Safari, e.g.; you should see Frida's output in the logs as well as in your terminal.

Of course, this example illustrates only one of the things you can do with Frida. To unlock the tool's full potential, you should learn to use its JavaScript API. The documentation section of the Frida website has a tutorial and examples for using Frida on iOS.