Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

6-2017

Abstract

The Android packaging model offers ample opportunities for malware writers to piggyback malicious code in popular apps, which can then be easily spread to a large user base. Although recent research has produced approaches and tools to identify piggybacked apps, the literature lacks a comprehensive investigation into such phenomenon. We fill this gap by: 1) systematically building a large set of piggybacked and benign apps pairs, which we release to the community; 2) empirically studying the characteristics of malicious piggybacked apps in comparison with their benign counterparts; and 3) providing insights on piggybacking processes. Among several findings providing insights analysis techniques should build upon to improve the overall detection and classification accuracy of piggybacked apps, we show that piggybacking operations not only concern app code, but also extensively manipulates app resource files, largely contradicting common beliefs. We also find that piggybacking is done with little sophistication, in many cases automatically, and often via library code.

Keywords

android malware, Android security, code grafting, piggybacking attack

Discipline

Information Security | Software Engineering

Research Areas

Software and Cyber-Physical Systems

Publication

IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security

Volume

12

Issue

6

First Page

1269

Last Page

1284

ISSN

1556-6013

Identifier

10.1109/TIFS.2017.2656460

Publisher

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1109/TIFS.2017.2656460

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