Understanding the origins of mobile app vulnerabilities: A large-scale measurement study of free and paid apps

Takuya Watanabe, Mitsuaki Akiyama, Fumihiro Kanei, Eitaro Shioji, Yuta Takata, Bo Sun, Yuta Ishi, Toshiki Shibahara, Takeshi Yagi, Tatsuya Mori

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper reports a large-scale study that aims to understand how mobile application (app) vulnerabilities are associated with software libraries. We analyze both free and paid apps. Studying paid apps was quite meaningful because it helped us understand how differences in app development/maintenance affect the vulnerabilities associated with libraries. We analyzed 30k free and paid apps collected from the official Android marketplace. Our extensive analyses revealed that approximately 70%/50% of vulnerabilities of free/paid apps stem from software libraries, particularly from third-party libraries. Somewhat paradoxically, we found that more expensive/popular paid apps tend to have more vulnerabilities. This comes from the fact that more expensive/popular paid apps tend to have more functionality, i.e., more code and libraries, which increases the probability of vulnerabilities. Based on our findings, we provide suggestions to stakeholders of mobile app distribution ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2017 IEEE/ACM 14th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2017
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages14-24
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781538615447
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 29
Event14th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2017 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 2017 May 202017 May 21

Publication series

NameIEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories
ISSN (Print)2160-1852
ISSN (Electronic)2160-1860

Other

Other14th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2017
Country/TerritoryArgentina
CityBuenos Aires
Period17/5/2017/5/21

Keywords

  • Mobile App
  • Software Library
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software

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