First International Workshop on Agile Secure Software Development

We are co-organizing the First International Workshop on Agile Secure Software Development (ASSD’15) with Prof. Röning from University of Oulu, Finland. The workshop is organized in conjunction with ARES 2015, which will be hosted in Toulouse, France from 24th to 28th August, 2015. We are looking for papers related to applying the agile approach and methods to develop secure software. We encourage you to submit your paper to the workshop.

Time for new challenges: DroidBench 2.0 available

Our micro-benchmark suite DroidBench (published with FlowDroid at PLDI’14) aims at testing the precision and recall of static taint tracking tools for Android. It provides categorized, tested, and well-documented test cases for the various hard challenges in program analysis. The ground truth is provides makes it easy to check and compare the results of the various information-flow analysis tools proposed both in research and available commercially.

The suite has been used by various research groups all over the world and we have seen tools greatly improve on the precision and recall they achieve on DroidBench. With many tools now achieving very good results, it is time for new challenges.

We are thus happy to announce that DroidBench 2.0 is now available from Github. It features 120 test cases in 13 categories including aliasing, implicit data flows, Android lifecycle handling, inter-component communication, and reflective method calls. We would like to thank all the researchers world wide that have contributed to DroidBench and would like to extend this call: Feel free to propose and/or submit new test cases to extend the suite even further so that it can continue to serve as a standardized benchmark suite for research in the field of static taint tracking.

All kinds of contributions are welcome. We have started to also add test cases challenging dynamic analysis tools, for instance emulator-detection mechanisms. In the future, we also plan to add test cases that leverage native code to hide data flows.

DroidSearch accepted at SAI Conference

We are happy to announce that our paper “DroidSearch: A Tool for Scaling Android App Triage to Real-World App Stores” has been accepted for publication at the IEEE Technically Co-Sponsored “Science and Information Conference 2015″ (SAI) in London, UK.

While many precise analysis tools for detecting malware and finding vulnerabilities in Android applications exist, they usually do not scale to the large number of applications in today’s real-world markets such as Google Play. We therefore present DroidSearch, a search engine that aids a multi-staged analysis in which fast pre-filtering techniques allow security experts to quickly retrieve candidate applications that should be subjected to further automated and/or manual analysis. DROIDSEARCH is supported by DROIDBASE, a middleware and back-end database which associates apps with metadata and the results of lightweight analyses on bytecode and configuration files that DROIDBASE automatically manages and executes.

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SSE Group together with McAfee Research Lab has identified a new threat campaign currently underway in South Korea

With the help of our new CodeInspect tool, we – together with the McAfee Research Lab – have identified a new threat campaign currently underway in South Korea;
attempting to exploit the huge media frenzy surrounding the release of the movie ‘The Interview’. Continue reading

Yes, banking apps are as secure as other apps, but is it really the banks who are to blame?

Malicious appsAt 31C3 this year, Eric Filiol and Paul Irolla from Laboratoire de Cryptologie et Virologie Opérationnelles presented on (In)security of mobile banking app security. While I appreciate the effort to draw more attention to the insecurity of mobile applications in general, I am afraid that the talk itself was based on quite a few misconceptions, and thus gave a very wrong impression of how app development actually works and about why the code we see is as insecure as it is. Unfortunately, these misconceptions were readily amplified through the mass media (the Zeit, for instance), which is why I think someone with more experience in the field should probably clarify a few things in this respect. Continue reading

CodeInspect says “Hello World”: A new Reverse-Engineering Tool for Android and Java Bytecode

We are very happy to announce a new tool in our toolchain: CodeInspect - A Jimple-based Reverse-Engineering framework for Android and Java applications.

Developing an Android application in an IDE is very convenient since features like code completion, Open Declaration, renaming variables, searching files etc. help the developer a lot. Especially code-debugging is a very important feature in IDEs. Usually, all those features are available for the source code and not for the bytecode, since they support the developer not a reverse-engineer. Well, but all those features would be be also very helpful for reverse-engineering Android or Java applications. This is the reason why we came up with a new reverse-engineering framework that works on the intermediate representation Jimple and supports all the features above and a lot more. In the following we give a detailed description about CodeInspect and its features. Continue reading

SSE scoring twice at ICSE’15

What a nice early Christmas gift! Today we were notified that both our submissions to ICSE’15 got accepted. Both papers are based on our Android infrastructure. In the paper IccTA: Detecting Inter-Component Privacy Leaks in Android Apps, which came out of our long-standing collaboration with the University of Luxembourg and Penn State, we present a precise approach for Android inter-component analysis. In the paper Mining Apps for Abnormal Usage of Sensitive Data, in joint work with the group of Andreas Zeller (Saarbrücken), we present the first large scale study of using information-flow analysis to identify Android malware. Thanks a lot to all our collaborators for their hard work! It’s been a pleasure working with all of you!

BTW, in addition I will also be speaking at the New Faculty Symposium at ICSE.