DVa: Extracting Victims and Abuse Vectors from Android Accessibility Malware

Authors: 

Haichuan Xu, Mingxuan Yao, and Runze Zhang, Georgia Institute of Technology; Mohamed Moustafa Dawoud, German International University; Jeman Park, Kyung Hee University; Brendan Saltaformaggio, Georgia Institute of Technology

Abstract: 

The Android accessibility (a11y) service is widely abused by malware to conduct on-device monetization fraud. Existing mitigation techniques focus on malware detection but overlook providing users evidence of abuses that have already occurred and notifying victims to facilitate defenses. We developed DVa, a malware analysis pipeline based on dynamic victim-guided execution and abuse-vector-guided symbolic analysis, to help investigators uncover a11y malware's targeted victims, victim-specific abuse vectors, and persistence mechanisms. We deployed DVa to investigate Android devices infected with 9,850 a11y malware. From the extractions, DVa uncovered 215 unique victims targeted with an average of 13.9 abuse routines. DVa also extracted six persistence mechanisms empowered by the a11y service.

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