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The mobile hackers' guide to Charles Proxy 👍
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README.md

README.md

Charles Proxy Mobile Guide

The mobile hackers' guide to Charles Proxy 👍

Intro

Charles is an HTTP proxy / HTTP monitor / Reverse Proxy that enables a developer to view all of the HTTP and SSL / HTTPS traffic between their machine and the Internet. This includes requests, responses and the HTTP headers (which contain the cookies and caching information).

SSL Proxying

Computer (macOS)

  • Charles -> Proxy -> SSL Proxying Settings... -> SSL Proxying

    • Check "Enable SSL Proxying"
    • Add location matcher "Host: *", "Port: *"
  • Charles -> Help -> SSL Proxying -> Install Charles Root Certificate

    • It would install the certificate to Keychain, and open it up automatically
    • Double click the certificate in Keychain
    • Expand Trust, select Always Trust for When using this certificate
  • Get the IP address that Charles is listening to

    • Charles -> Help -> Local IP Address
    • Or get the WLAN IP address via command line (right into your clipboard)
      ifconfig | tr "\n" "" | tr "\r" "" | grep -Eo "→en0.*?→en[[:digit:]]" | grep -Eo "inet[[:blank:]+]([0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3}" | cut -d' ' -f2 | tr -d "\n" | pbcopy && pbpaste
    • Or get the LAN IP address via command line (right into your clipboard)
      ifconfig | tr "\n" "" | tr "\r" "" | grep -Eo "→en[[:digit:]].*?active→" | grep -v "en0" | grep -Eo "inet[[:blank:]+]([0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3}" | cut -d' ' -f2 | tr -d "\n" | pbcopy && pbpaste

Android

  • Launch Charles and keep it running

  • Get the IP address

  • Make sure the Android device uses the same network as Charles

  • On Android device

    • Go to Settings -> Wi-Fi -> long click the network in use -> Modify network -> Advanced options -> Proxy -> Manual

      • Proxy hostname = IP address
      • Proxy port = 8888
    • Launch Browser, visit https://chls.pro/ssl, save the certificate

    • The system would ask you to set a lock screen PIN or password, just set one and save it
    • Now the certificate is installed
    • Open an application and monitor the traffic on Charles
  • A dialog pops up on computer asking "A connection attempt to Charles has been made from the host ...", just click Allow button

Android N (7.0, API level 24) and afterwards

  • Open your Android project with Android Studio
  • Android Studio -> File -> New -> Android resource directory
    • Directory name = xml
    • Directory type = xml
    • Source set = debug
  • Android Studio -> File -> New -> XML resource file
    • File name = network_security_config
    • Root element = network-security-config
  • Above step would generate a XML file with the given root element. Now paste below content to replace the existing content in the generated XML file.
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <network-security-config xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
        <debug-overrides>
            <trust-anchors>
                <!-- Trust user added CAs while debuggable only -->
                <certificates src="user" />
            </trust-anchors>
        </debug-overrides>
    </network-security-config>
  • Then go to debug source set, create a blank AndroidManifest.xml file if you don't have one for the debug build variant, and add content like below (eventually the manifest merger will merge it with the main manifest). When you already have one, simply add the networkSecurityConfig attribute under application.
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    
    <manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
        xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools">
    
        <application
            android:networkSecurityConfig="@xml/network_security_config">
        </application>
    
    </manifest>

Now the SSL proxying should work for your app's debug build variant, but not for release build variant.

iOS

  • Launch Charles and keep it running

  • Get the IP address

  • Make sure the iOS device uses the same network as Charles

  • On iOS device

    • Open an application and monitor the traffic on Charles
  • A dialog pops up on computer asking "A connection attempt to Charles has been made from the host ...", just click Allow button

iOS 10.3 and afterwards

  • After the certificate is installed
  • Go to Settings -> General -> About -> Certificate Trust Settings -> Enable Full Trust For Root Certificates -> enable Charles' certificate

Terminal

In case you need to debug via curl in a terminal:

  • To set Charles as the proxy

    export http_proxy=http://127.0.0.1:8888 && export https_proxy=$http_proxy
  • To remove the proxy

    unset http_proxy https_proxy

SSL CA Certificate

  • Charles Proxy running on the same computer provides the same SSL certificate.
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