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Juxtapp: A Scalable System for Detecting Code Reuse Among Android Applications

By Steve Hanna, Ling Huang, Edward Wu, Saung Li and Charles Chen


Abstract. Mobile application markets such as the Android Marketplace provide a centralized showcase of applications that end users can purchase or download for free onto their mobile phones. Despite the influx of applications to the markets, applications are cursorily reviewed by marketplace maintainers due to the vast number of submissions. User policing and reporting is the primary method to detect misbehaving applications. This reactive approach to application security, especially when programs can contain bugs, malware, or pirated (inauthentic) code, puts too much responsibility on the end users. In light of this, we propose Juxtapp, a scalable infrastructure for code similarity analysis among Android applications. Juxtapp provides a key solution to a number of problems in Android security, including determining if apps contain copies of buggy code, have significant code reuse that indicates piracy, or are instances of known malware. We evaluate our system using more than 58,000 Android applications and demonstrate that our system scales well and is effective. Our results show that Juxtapp is able to detect: 1) 463 applications with confirmed buggy code reuse that can lead to serious vulnerabilities in real-world apps, 2) 34 instances of known malware and variants (13 distinct variants of the GoldDream malware), and 3) pirated variants of a popular paid game.

Year: 2012
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