Skip to content

Environment Setup & Installing OFRAK

OFRAK is best run in a Docker image. Some OFRAK features can also be run natively on macOS, but the docs typically assume OFRAK is running in Docker.

OFRAK uses Git LFS. This means that you must have Git LFS installed before you clone the repository! Install Git LFS by following the instructions here. If you accidentally cloned the repository before installing Git LFS, cd into the repository and run git lfs pull.


To build any of the Docker images, use the utility, which requires the PyYAML package. For example, these commands will build a Ghidra-based Docker image using the ofrak-ghidra.yml configuration:

python3 -m pip install PyYAML
python3 --config ofrak-ghidra.yml --base --finish

Each image consists of a "base" image and a "finish" image. The base image includes all of the dependencies. The finish image includes the package itself. This is useful for quickly building an image containing the latest version of OFRAK without rebuilding all dependencies.

This environment setup guide uses the redballoonsecurity/ofrak/ghidra image as an example image throughout, but there are several possible base image configurations:

  • ofrak-dev.yml builds the most complete OFRAK Docker image, including the core OFRAK, a Ghidra install, Ghidra OFRAK components, a Binary Ninja install, and Binary Ninja OFRAK components.
    • Binary Ninja will fail to install without a valid license. Follow the instructions below for adding a valid Binary Ninja license.
  • ofrak-ghidra.yml builds an image that includes core OFRAK, a Ghidra install, and Ghidra OFRAK components.
  • ofrak-binary-ninja.yml is a configuration to build an image with core OFRAK, a Binary Ninja install, and Binary Ninja OFRAK components. You need to have a valid BinaryNinja license to build and run the image.
  • ofrak-tutorial.yml builds an image including core OFRAK, Ghidra, the Ghidra components, and the tutorial Jupyter Notebooks that use Ghidra.
  • ofrak-angr.yml builds an image that contains core OFRAK, angr, and the angr OFRAK components.
  • ofrak-core-dev.yml builds an image that only bundles core OFRAK, its main components, and their dependencies.

If you have already built a base Docker image, and only want to reinstall OFRAK (and not all of its dependencies), you can build the finish image without the --base argument:

python3 --config ofrak-ghidra.yml --finish

Use OFRAK Interactively From Docker

The docker run command creates a running container from the provided Docker image.

docker run \
  --rm \
  --detach \
  --hostname ofrak \
  --name rbs-ofrak-interactive \
  --interactive \
  --tty \
  --publish 80:80 \

The options to the docker run command ensure the container is created with the correct settings:

  • --rm removes the container after it terminates
  • --detach runs the container in the background
  • --hostname names the host ofrak inside the container
  • --name identifies the container by the name rbs-ofrak-interactive for other Docker commands, like docker exec
  • --interactive --tty ensures the command knows it is being run inside an interactive terminal and not a script (-it can be used for short)
  • --publish 80:80 allows you to access the OFRAK GUI that the new container will serve on port 80
    • If you would rather access it locally on a different port, change the number on the left, for example: 9090:80
  • redballoonsecurity/ofrak/ghidra:latest is the image to run

The redballoonsecurity/ofrak/ghidra:latest image by default sets up a Ghidra environment and starts serving the OFRAK GUI as soon as it is launched. After running the above, the GUI can be accessed at http://localhost:80/.

To interact with the Python API, the following command drops into an interactive shell inside the running Docker container.

docker exec \
  --interactive \
  --tty \
  rbs-ofrak-interactive \

The docker exec command executes a command inside of the Docker container.

  • --interactive --tty ensures the command knows it is being run inside an interactive terminal and not a script
  • rbs-ofrak-interactive enters the correct running container
  • /bin/bash starts the shell

For an interactive OFRAK example, follow along with the Getting Started Guide inside the container.

Run Scripts With OFRAK in Docker

It is also possible to write OFRAK scripts outside of the container, and then run them with OFRAK inside the container. There are three steps to doing this:

  1. Create a folder with an OFRAK script and any relevant binary assets
  2. Create a container with the folder mapped in
  3. Execute the script inside the container

Suppose we want to run one of the example scripts bundled with OFRAK. These scripts are located in the examples/ directory of the repo. To make the folder accessible from the path /my_examples inside the Docker container, add the following option to the docker run command from the previous section.

--volume "$(pwd)/examples":/my_examples

Then the new command to create the container from the image becomes the following. All of the options are the same as before, except for the addition of --volume [...].

docker run \
  --rm \
  --detach \
  --hostname ofrak \
  --name rbs-ofrak-interactive \
  --interactive \
  --tty \
  --volume "$(pwd)/examples":/my_examples \
  --publish 80:80 \

Now, the scripts can be run inside the Docker container, and any files in /my_examples that they create or modify will also be created or modified in examples/ outside of the container. To see this, run the example script using docker exec, and read the new file from outside of the container.

docker exec \
  --interactive \
  --tty \
  rbs-ofrak \
  python3 /my_examples/

# On Linux, this will print "Meow!"


  • By default, in containers with Ghidra, the Ghidra server should start automatically when the container starts up.
  • To manually start the Ghidra server in a container started from this image, users should run python -m ofrak_ghidra.server start.
  • To manually stop it, run python -m ofrak_ghidra.server stop.
  • Ghidra logs can be found here: /root/.ghidra/.ghidra_10.1.2_PUBLIC/application.log.

See the Ghidra user guide for more information about using Ghidra with OFRAK.

Binary Ninja

Note that Binary Ninja is not distributed with OFRAK. Instead, if a license is present, the Docker build step will run the official headless installer using the provided license. You need to have a valid BinaryNinja license to build and run the image. For more details, read the script that is run.

To build the image, the license should be placed in the project's root directory and named license.dat. The serial number needs to be extracted from that file into a file named serial.txt. This can be done with the following command:

python3 \
  -c 'import json, sys; print(json.load(sys.stdin)[0]["serial"])' \
  < license.dat \
  > serial.txt

The command python3 --config ofrak-binary-ninja.yml --base --finish will build an image using Docker BuildKit secrets so that neither the license nor serial number are exposed in the built Docker image. (If Docker BuildKit is not enabled in your environment, precede the python3 command with DOCKER_BUILDKIT=1.)

See the Binary Ninja user guide for more information about using Binary Ninja wiht OFRAK.

Useful Docker Commands

Docker provides very extensive documentation for getting started, as well as a detailed reference for the Docker command line interface (CLI).

Of the many Docker CLI commands, some of the most important for running containers from the provided OFRAK image include:

  • docker run starts container from an image, and runs until the provided command completes inside the container
  • docker ps lists the running containers
  • docker exec executes a command inside a running container
  • docker cp copies files between the local filesystem and the container filesystem, which is useful for files that are not already bind-mounted in (using the -v or --volume arguments to docker run)
  • docker stop gracefully stops a running container
  • docker kill aborts a running container


Core OFRAK can be run locally on macOS.

It is recommended that you create a virtual environment in which to install the code:

python3 -m venv ofrak-venv
source ofrak-venv/bin/activate
  1. Use homebrew to install required libraries and executables:

    brew install \
      apktool \
      binwalk \
      cmake \
      java \
      libmagic \
      lzop \
      p7zip \
      qemu \
      squashfs \
      rar \
      unar \
    • OFRAK uses apktool, java, and wget to install uber-apk-signer for unpacking and packing APK files.
    • OFRAK uses binwalk for analyzing packed binary files.
    • OFRAK uses cmake to install a custom branch of keystone-engine.
    • OFRAK uses the libmagic library for python-magic, which automatically determines which packers/unpackers to use with binaries.
    • OFRAK uses the lzop command line utility for packing/unpacking LZO archives
    • OFRAK uses the 7-zip command line utility for packing/unpacking 7z archives
    • OFRAK uses the qemu-system-i386 command line utility (and other qemu commands) for testing the BzImage packer and unpacker
    • OFRAK uses the mksquashfs command line utility for packing/unpacking SquashFS filesystems.
    • OFRAK uses the rar and unar command line utilities for packing/unpacking RAR archives

    If not all of the dependencies are installed, core OFRAK will still work, but most of the components will not.

  2. The following script can then be used to install keystone:

    #!/usr/bin/env bash
    set -e
    pushd /tmp
    git clone
    cd keystone
    git checkout 2021.09.01
    mkdir build
    cd build
    cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON -G "Unix Makefiles" ..
    make -j8
    sudo make install
    cd ../bindings/python
    make install3
    pip3 install .
    3. The custom branch of capstone can be installed using the following script:

    #!/usr/bin/env bash
    set -e
    pushd /tmp
    git clone
    cd capstone
    git checkout 2021.09.01
    sudo ./ install
    cd bindings/python
    make install3
    4. The uber-apk-signer for unpacking and packing APK files can be installed using the following script:

    brew install wget apktool java
    echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/openjdk/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.zshrc
    wget -O /usr/local/bin/uber-apk-signer.jar
    5. Install core OFRAK and its dependencies:

    for d in ofrak_io ofrak_type ofrak_patch_maker ofrak_components ofrak; do make -C "${d}" develop; done 
    6. If you are planning to contribute to OFRAK, install the pre-commit hooks. For more information, see the contributor guide.

    python3 -m pip install --user pre-commit
    pre-commit install