Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2015/709

Detecting Mobile Application Spoofing Attacks by Leveraging User Visual Similarity Perception

Luka Malisa and Kari Kostiainen and Srdjan Capkun

Abstract: Mobile application spoofing is an attack where a malicious mobile application mimics the visual appearance of another one. If such an attack is successful, the integrity of what the user sees as well as the confidentiality of what she inputs into the system can be violated by the adversary. A common example of mobile application spoofing is a phishing attack where the adversary tricks the user into revealing her password to a malicious application that resembles the legitimate one.

In this work, we propose a novel approach for addressing mobile application spoofing attacks by leveraging the visual similarity of application screens. We use deception rate as a novel metric for measuring how many users would confuse a spoofing application for the genuine one. We conducted a large-scale online study where participants evaluated spoofing samples of popular mobile applications. We used the study results to design and implement a prototype spoofing detection system, tailored to the estimation of deception rate for mobile application login screens.

Category / Keywords: mobile security

Date: received 16 Jul 2015, last revised 9 Jan 2017

Contact author: luka malisa at inf ethz ch

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Version: 20170109:153956 (All versions of this report)

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