ALTERDROID: Differential Fault Analysis of Obfuscated Smartphone Malware Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2016

start page

  • 789

end page

  • 802


  • 4


  • 15

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1536-1233

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-0660


  • Malware for smartphones has rocketed over the last years. Market operators face the challenge of keeping their stores free from malicious apps, a task that has become increasingly complex as malware developers are progressively using advanced techniques to defeat malware detection tools. One such technique commonly observed in recent malware samples consists of hiding and obfuscating modules containing malicious functionality in places that static analysis tools overlook (e.g., within data objects). In this paper, we describe ALTERDROID, a dynamic analysis approach for detecting such hidden or obfuscated malware components distributed as parts of an app package. The key idea in ALTERDROID consists of analyzing the behavioral differences between the original app and a number of automatically generated versions of it, where a number of modifications (faults) have been carefully injected. Observable differences in terms of activities that appear or vanish in the modified app are recorded, and the resulting differential signature is analyzed through a pattern-matching process driven by rules that relate different types of hidden functionalities with patterns found in the signature. A thorough justification and a description of the proposed model are provided. The extensive experimental results obtained by testing ALTERDROID over relevant apps and malware samples support the quality and viability of our proposal.


  • computer security; malware; mobile computing; evolution