›› 2017, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (6): 1108-1124.doi: 10.1007/s11390-017-1786-z

• Special Section on Software Systems 2017 • Previous Articles     Next Articles

On Locating Malicious Code in Piggybacked Android Apps

Li Li1, Daoyuan Li1, Tegawendé F. Bissyandé1, Jacques Klein1, Haipeng Cai2, Member, ACM, IEEE, David Lo3, Yves Le Traon1   

  1. 1 Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg 2721, Luxembourg;
    2 School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Washington State University, Washington, WA 99163, U.S.A.;
    3 School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University, Singapore 178902, Singapore
  • Received:2017-04-20 Revised:2017-10-13 Online:2017-11-05 Published:2017-11-05
  • Contact: 10.1007/s11390-017-1786-z
  • About author:Li Li is a research associate at Interdisciplinary Center for Security,Reliability and Trust (SnT),University of Luxembourg,Luxembourg,and a honorary research associate at the CREST group,University College London,London.
  • Supported by:

    This work was supported by the Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR), Luxembourg under projects AndroMap C13/IS/5921289 and Recommend C15/IS/10449467.

To devise efficient approaches and tools for detecting malicious packages in the Android ecosystem, researchers are increasingly required to have a deep understanding of malware. There is thus a need to provide a framework for dissecting malware and locating malicious program fragments within app code in order to build a comprehensive dataset of malicious samples. Towards addressing this need, we propose in this work a tool-based approach called HookRanker, which provides ranked lists of potentially malicious packages based on the way malware behaviour code is triggered. With experiments on a ground truth of piggybacked apps, we are able to automatically locate the malicious packages from piggybacked Android apps with an accuracy@5 of 83.6% for such packages that are triggered through method invocations and an accuracy@5 of 82.2% for such packages that are triggered independently.

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