APPraiser: A Large Scale Analysis of Android Clone Apps

Mitsuaki AKIYAMA
Tatsuya MORI

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E100-D    No.8    pp.1703-1713
Publication Date: 2017/08/01
Publicized: 2017/05/18
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2016ICP0012
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Information and Communication System Security)
Category: Program Analysis
mobile security,  Android,  repackaging,  large-scale data,  

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Android is one of the most popular mobile device platforms. However, since Android apps can be disassembled easily, attackers inject additional advertisements or malicious codes to the original apps and redistribute them. There are a non-negligible number of such repackaged apps. We generally call those malicious repackaged apps “clones.” However, there are apps that are not clones but are similar to each other. We call such apps “relatives.” In this work, we developed a framework called APPraiser that extracts similar apps and classifies them into clones and relatives from the large dataset. We used the APPraiser framework to study over 1.3 million apps collected from both official and third-party marketplaces. Our extensive analysis revealed the following findings: In the official marketplace, 79% of similar apps were attributed to relatives, while in the third-party marketplace, 50% of similar apps were attributed to clones. The majority of relatives are apps developed by prolific developers in both marketplaces. We also found that in the third-party market, of the clones that were originally published in the official market, 76% of them are malware.

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