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See detailUnderstanding the Evolution of Android App Vulnerabilities
Gao, Jun UL; li, li; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise UL et al

in IEEE Transactions on Reliability (2020)

The Android ecosystem today is a growing universe of a few billion devices, hundreds of millions of users and millions of applications targeting a wide range of activities where sensitive information is ... [more ▼]

The Android ecosystem today is a growing universe of a few billion devices, hundreds of millions of users and millions of applications targeting a wide range of activities where sensitive information is collected and processed. Security of communication and privacy of data are thus of utmost importance in application development. Yet, regularly, there are reports of successful attacks targeting Android users. While some of those attacks exploit vulnerabilities in the Android OS, others directly concern application-level code written by a large pool of developers with varying experience. Recently, a number of studies have investigated this phenomenon, focusing however only on a specific vulnerability type appearing in apps, and based on only a snapshot of the situation at a given time. Thus, the community is still lacking comprehensive studies exploring how vulnerabilities have evolved over time, and how they evolve in a single app across developer updates. Our work fills this gap by leveraging a data stream of 5 million app packages to re-construct versioned lineages of Android apps and finally obtained 28;564 app lineages (i.e., successive releases of the same Android apps) with more than 10 app versions each, corresponding to a total of 465;037 apks. Based on these app lineages, we apply state-of- the-art vulnerability-finding tools and investigate systematically the reports produced by each tool. In particular, we study which types of vulnerabilities are found, how they are introduced in the app code, where they are located, and whether they foreshadow malware. We provide insights based on the quantitative data as reported by the tools, but we further discuss the potential false positives. Our findings and study artifacts constitute a tangible knowledge to the community. It could be leveraged by developers to focus verification tasks, and by researchers to drive vulnerability discovery and repair research efforts. [less ▲]

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See detailRevisiting the impact of common libraries for android-related investigations
Li, Li; Riom, Timothée UL; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise UL et al

in Journal of Systems and Software (2019), 154

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See detailMining Android Crash Fixes in the Absence of Issue- and Change-Tracking Systems
Kong, Pingfan UL; li, li; Gao, Jun et al

Scientific Conference (2019, July 15)

Android apps are prone to crash. This often arises from the misuse of Android framework APIs, making it harder to debug since official Android documentation does not discuss thoroughly potential ... [more ▼]

Android apps are prone to crash. This often arises from the misuse of Android framework APIs, making it harder to debug since official Android documentation does not discuss thoroughly potential exceptions.Recently, the program repair community has also started to investigate the possibility to fix crashes automatically. Current results, however, apply to limited example cases. In both scenarios of repair, the main issue is the need for more example data to drive the fix processes due to the high cost in time and effort needed to collect and identify fix examples. We propose in this work a scalable approach, CraftDroid, to mine crash fixes by leveraging a set of 28 thousand carefully reconstructed app lineages from app markets, without the need for the app source code or issue reports. We developed a replicative testing approach that locates fixes among app versions which output different runtime logs with the exact same test inputs. Overall, we have mined 104 relevant crash fixes, further abstracted 17 fine-grained fix templates that are demonstrated to be effective for patching crashed apks. Finally, we release ReCBench, a benchmark consisting of 200 crashed apks and the crash replication scripts, which the community can explore for evaluating generated crash-inducing bug patches. [less ▲]

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See detailOn Identifying and Explaining Similarities in Android Apps
Li, Li; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise UL; Wang, Haoyu et al

in Journal of Computer Science and Technology (2019), 34(2), 437-455

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See detailRebooting Research on Detecting Repackaged Android Apps: Literature Review and Benchmark
Li, Li; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise UL; Klein, Jacques UL

in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (2019)

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See detailShould You Consider Adware as Malware in Your Study?
Gao, Jun UL; Li, Li; Kong, Pingfan UL et al

in 26th edition of the IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (2019, February 24)

Empirical validations of research approaches eventually require a curated ground truth. In studies related to Android malware, such a ground truth is built by leveraging Anti-Virus (AV) scanning reports ... [more ▼]

Empirical validations of research approaches eventually require a curated ground truth. In studies related to Android malware, such a ground truth is built by leveraging Anti-Virus (AV) scanning reports which are often provided free through online services such as VirusTotal. Unfortunately, these reports do not offer precise information for appropriately and uniquely assigning classes to samples in app datasets: AV engines indeed do not have a consensus on specifying information in labels. Furthermore, labels often mix information related to families, types, etc. In particular, the notion of “adware” is currently blurry when it comes to maliciousness. There is thus a need to thoroughly investigate cases where adware samples can actually be associated with malware (e.g., because they are tagged as adware but could be considered as malware as well). In this work, we present a large-scale analytical study of Android adware samples to quantify to what extent “adware should be considered as malware”. Our analysis is based on the Androzoo repository of 5 million apps with associated AV labels and leverages a state-of-the-art label harmonization tool to infer the malicious type of apps before confronting it against the ad families that each adware app is associated with. We found that all adware families include samples that are actually known to implement specific malicious behavior types. Up to 50% of samples in an ad family could be flagged as malicious. Overall the study demonstrates that adware is not necessarily benign. [less ▲]

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See detailNegative Results on Mining Crypto-API Usage Rules in Android Apps
Gao, Jun UL; Kong, Pingfan UL; Li, Li et al

in Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (2019)

Android app developers recurrently use crypto-APIs to provide data security to app users. Unfortunately, misuse of APIs only creates an illusion of security and even exposes apps to systematic attacks. It ... [more ▼]

Android app developers recurrently use crypto-APIs to provide data security to app users. Unfortunately, misuse of APIs only creates an illusion of security and even exposes apps to systematic attacks. It is thus necessary to provide developers with a statically-enforceable list of specifications of crypto-API usage rules. On the one hand, such rules cannot be manually written as the process does not scale to all available APIs. On the other hand, a classical mining approach based on common usage patterns is not relevant in Android, given that a large share of usages include mistakes. In this work, building on the assumption that “developers update API usage instances to fix misuses”, we propose to mine a large dataset of updates within about 40 000 real-world app lineages to infer API usage rules. Eventually, our investigations yield negative results on our assumption that API usage updates tend to correct misuses. Actually, it appears that updates that fix misuses may be unintentional: the same misuses patterns are quickly re-introduced by subsequent updates. [less ▲]

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See detailFraudDroid: Automated Ad Fraud Detection for Android Apps
Dong, Feng; Wang, Haoyu; Li, Li et al

in ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE 2018) (2018, November)

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See detailMoonlightBox: Mining Android API Histories for Uncovering Release-time Inconsistencies
Li, Li; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise UL; Klein, Jacques UL

in 29th IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE) (2018, October)

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See detailAutomated Testing of Android Apps: A Systematic Literature Review
Kong, Pingfan UL; Li, Li; Gao, Jun UL et al

in IEEE Transactions on Reliability (2018)

Automated testing of Android apps is essential for app users, app developers and market maintainer communities alike. Given the widespread adoption of Android and the specificities of its development ... [more ▼]

Automated testing of Android apps is essential for app users, app developers and market maintainer communities alike. Given the widespread adoption of Android and the specificities of its development model, the literature has proposed various testing approaches for ensuring that not only functional requirements but also non-functional requirements are satisfied. In this paper, we aim at providing a clear overview of the state-of-the-art works around the topic of Android app testing, in an attempt to highlight the main trends, pinpoint the main methodologies applied and enumerate the challenges faced by the Android testing approaches as well as the directions where the community effort is still needed. To this end, we conduct a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) during which we eventually identified 103 relevant research papers published in leading conferences and journals until 2016. Our thorough examination of the relevant literature has led to several findings and highlighted the challenges that Android testing researchers should strive to address in the future. After that, we further propose a few concrete research directions where testing approaches are needed to solve recurrent issues in app updates, continuous increases of app sizes, as well as the Android ecosystem fragmentation. [less ▲]

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See detailA Closer Look at Real-World Patches
Liu, Kui UL; Kim, Dongsun UL; Koyuncu, Anil UL et al

in 34th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME) (2018, September)

Bug fixing is a time-consuming and tedious task. To reduce the manual efforts in bug fixing, researchers have presented automated approaches to software repair. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown ... [more ▼]

Bug fixing is a time-consuming and tedious task. To reduce the manual efforts in bug fixing, researchers have presented automated approaches to software repair. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that the state-of-the-art techniques in automated repair tend to generate patches only for a small number of bugs even with quality issues (e.g., incorrect behavior and nonsensical changes). To improve automated program repair (APR) techniques, the community should deepen its knowledge on repair actions from real-world patches since most of the techniques rely on patches written by human developers. Previous investigations on real-world patches are limited to statement level that is not sufficiently fine-grained to build this knowledge. In this work, we contribute to building this knowledge via a systematic and fine-grained study of 16,450 bug fix commits from seven Java open-source projects. We find that there are opportunities for APR techniques to improve their effectiveness by looking at code elements that have not yet been investigated. We also discuss nine insights into tuning automated repair tools. For example, a small number of statement and expression types are recurrently impacted by real-world patches, and expression-level granularity could reduce search space of finding fix ingredients, where previous studies never explored. [less ▲]

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See detailCiD: Automating the Detection of API-related Compatibility Issues in Android Apps
Li, Li; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise UL; Wang, Haoyu et al

in International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA) (2018, July)

Detailed reference viewed: 129 (3 UL)
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See detailFaCoY - A Code-to-Code Search Engine
Kim, Kisub UL; Kim, Dongsun UL; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise UL et al

in International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2018) (2018, May 27)

Code search is an unavoidable activity in software development. Various approaches and techniques have been explored in the literature to support code search tasks. Most of these approaches focus on ... [more ▼]

Code search is an unavoidable activity in software development. Various approaches and techniques have been explored in the literature to support code search tasks. Most of these approaches focus on serving user queries provided as natural language free-form input. However, there exists a wide range of use-case scenarios where a code-to-code approach would be most beneficial. For example, research directions in code transplantation, code diversity, patch recommendation can leverage a code-to-code search engine to find essential ingredients for their techniques. In this paper, we propose FaCoY, a novel approach for statically finding code fragments which may be semantically similar to user input code. FaCoY implements a query alternation strategy: instead of directly matching code query tokens with code in the search space, FaCoY first attempts to identify other tokens which may also be relevant in implementing the functional behavior of the input code. With various experiments, we show that (1) FaCoY is more effective than online code-to-code search engines; (2) FaCoY can detect more semantic code clones (i.e., Type-4) in BigCloneBench than the state-of-theart; (3) FaCoY, while static, can detect code fragments which are indeed similar with respect to runtime execution behavior; and (4) FaCoY can be useful in code/patch recommendation. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterising Deprecated Android APIs
Li, Li; Gao, Jun UL; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise UL et al

in 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR 2018) (2018, May)

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See detailOn Vulnerability Evolution in Android Apps
Gao, Jun UL; Li, Li; Pingfan, Kong et al

Poster (2018)

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See detailA verification framework for stateful security protocols
Li, Li; Dong, Naipeng; Pang, Jun UL et al

in Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Formal Engineering Methods (2017)

Detailed reference viewed: 96 (1 UL)
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See detailSymbolic analysis of an electric vehicle charging protocol.
Li, Li; Pang, Jun UL; Liu, Yang et al

in Proceedings of 19th IEEE Conference on Engineering of Complex Computer Systems (ICECCS) (2014)

Detailed reference viewed: 80 (0 UL)