Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Android antiviral products easily evaded

Date:
May 30, 2013
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Think your antivirus product is keeping your Android safe? Think again. Ten of the top Android antiviral products are rendered useless by the simplest attacks.

Think your antivirus product is keeping your Android safe? Think again. Northwestern University researchers, working with partners from North Carolina State University, tested 10 of the most popular antiviral products for Android and found each could be easily circumnavigated by even the most simple obfuscation techniques.

"The results are quite surprising," said Yan Chen, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. "Many of these products are blind to even trivial transformation attacks not involving code-level changes -- operations a teenager could perform."

The researchers began by testing six known viruses on the fully functional versions of 10 of the most popular Android antiviral products, most of which have been downloaded by millions of users.

Using a tool they developed called DroidChameleon, the researchers then applied common techniques -- such as simple switches in a virus's binary code or file name, or running a command on the virus to repackage or reassemble it -- to transform the viruses into slightly altered but equally damaging versions. Dozens of transformed viruses were then tested on the antiviral products, often slipping through the software unnoticed.

All of the antiviral products could be evaded, the researchers found, though their susceptibility to the transformed attacks varied.

The products' shortcomings are due to their use of overly simple content-based signatures, special patterns the products use to screen for viruses, the researchers said. Instead, the researchers suggested, the products should use a more sophisticated static analysis to accurately seek out transformed attacks. Only one of the 10 tested tools currently utilizes a static analysis system.

The researchers chose to study Android products because it is the most commonly used operating system in the United States and worldwide, and because its open platform enabled the researchers to easily conduct analyses. They emphasized, however, that other operating systems are not necessarily more protected from virus attacks.

Antiviral products are improving. Last year, 45 percent of signatures could be evaded with trivial transformations. This year, the number has dropped to 16 percent.

"Still, these products are not as robust and effective as they must be to stop malware writers," Chen said. "This is a cat-and-mouse game."

A paper about the research, "Evaluating Android Anti-Malware Against Transformation Attacks," was presented earlier this month at the 8th ACM Symposium on Information, Computer and Communications Security (ASIACCS 2013).

The research has been featured by numerous tech news outlets, including Dark Reading, Information Week, The H, Security Week, Slashdot, HelpNet Security, ISS Source, EFY Times, Tech News Daily, Fudzilla, and VirusFreePhone, as well as the German IT website Heise Security. It has also attracted the attention of several antivirus software manufacturers interested in the testing system, Chen said.

In addition to Chen, Vaibhav Rastogi, a PhD candidate at Northwestern, and Xuxian Jeng of North Carolina State University authored the work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Android antiviral products easily evaded." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130530132539.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2013, May 30). Android antiviral products easily evaded. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130530132539.htm
Northwestern University. "Android antiviral products easily evaded." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130530132539.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Apple Releases 'Shellshock' Fix Despite Few Affected Users

Apple Releases 'Shellshock' Fix Despite Few Affected Users

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Apple released a security fix for the "Shellshock" vulnerability Monday, though it says only "advanced UNIX users" of OS X need it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Facebook Ad Platform Goes Where You Go On The Web

New Facebook Ad Platform Goes Where You Go On The Web

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Called Atlas, the platform allows advertisers to place ads based on Facebook info on sites outside of Facebook. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Tightens Requirements For Android Manufacturers

Google Tightens Requirements For Android Manufacturers

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) Phonemakers who want to use Google’s software in their devices will have to stick to more stringent requirements. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins