4 months after


DC3-Kordesii is a framework for decoding encoded strings and files in malware via IDA Pro IDAPython scripting. One parser module is usually created per malware family. DC3-Kordesii was designed to ease the burden of encoded string extraction by doing it in an automated, static way as well as to provide a standard set of functionality and methodologies. DC3-Kordesii supports botha analyst directed analysis and large-scale automated executing, utilizing either the REST API, the CLI or by manaully running decoders in IDA. DC3-Kordesii is authored by the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3).


DC3-Kordesii requires the following:

  • python 2.7 (32 bit)
  • IDA Pro (tested with version 6.8)
  • requests (only required for kordesii-client.py)
  • pyelftools
  • pefile

Recommended Modules

The following modules are recommended as they are often used in decoders:

  • pyCrypto


pip install kordesii

Alternatively you can clone this repo and then install with setup.py

git clone <github repo url>
cd kordesii
python setup.py install

Decoder Installation

To make a decoder available for use, place it a directory with the name \_StringDecoder.py Then pass the directory containing your decoders through the command line.

kordesii --decoderdir=C:\my_decoders -p <name> <input_file>

If no decoder directory is specified it will default to the decoder directory that comes with this python package, which will be located in the site-packages. (e.g. C:\Python27\Lib\site-packages\kordesii\decoders)


DC3-Kordesii is designed to standardize automation of a task typically done by one-off scripts.

Most automated porcessing systems will use a condition, such as a YARA signature match, to trigger execution of a particular DC3-Kordesii decoder.

There are 2 options for integration of DC3-Kordesii:

  • REST API based on wsgi/bottle: kordesii-server, kordesii-client
  • CLI: kordesii

DC3-Kordesii also includes a utility for test case execution: kordesii-test


The REST API provides two commonly used functions:

  • /run_decoder/<decoder> -- executes a decoder on uploaded file
  • /descriptions -- provides list of available parsers

kordesii-client and the following curl commands demonstrate how to use this web service:

curl --form [email protected] http://localhost:8080/run_decoder/foo
curl http://localhost:8080/descriptions

bottle (bottlepy.org) is required for the server. The bottle provided web server or another wsgi can be used.

CLI tool

kordesii-tool provides functionality to run decoders on files:

kordesii -p foo README.md

see kordesii -h for full set of options

Decoder Development

The high level setps for module development are:

  • Create new \_StringDecoder module
  • Add the following stub to the bottom of the module (where main is the entry point)
if __name__ == '__main__':
    if 'exit' in idc.ARGV:
  • When possible, subclass StringTracer and implement its search method
  • When necessary, subclass EncodedString

sample_StringDecoder.py is provided as an example and may be used as a template.

stack_string_StringDecoder.py is provided as an example of how to traverse IDA's disassembly via IDAPython.

Decoder Development Tips

  • Use the functions in decoderutils where possible
    • The main function string_decoder_main will likely handle most samples
    • When string_decoder_main cannot be used, use as many of it's main 5 functions as is feasible
    • yara_find_decode_functions (and generic_run_yara)
    • find_encoded_strings (and find_encoded_strings_inline)
    • decode_strings
    • output_strings
    • patch_strings
  • Document the tracing algorithm in plain text