TextExerciser: Feedback-driven Text Input Exercising for Android Applications

Abstract

Dynamic analysis of Android apps is often used together with an exerciser to increase its code coverage. One big obstacle in designing such Android app exercisers comes from the existence of text-based inputs, which are often constrained by the nature of the input field, such as the length and character restrictions. In this paper, we propose TextExerciser, an iterative, feedback-driven text input exerciser, which generates text inputs for Android apps. Our key insight is that Android apps often provide feedback, called hints, for malformed inputs so that our system can utilize such hints to improve the input generation. We implemented a prototype of TextExerciser and evaluated it by comparing TextExerciser with state-of-the-art exercisers, such as The Monkey and DroidBot. Our evaluation shows that TextExerciser can achieve significantly higher code coverage and trigger more sensitive behaviors than these tools. We also combine TextExerciser with dynamic analysis tools and show they are able to detect more privacy leaks and vulnerabilities with TextExerciser than with existing exercisers. Particularly, existing tools, under the help of TextExerciser, find several new vulnerabilities, such as one user credential leak in a popular social app with more than 10,000,000 downloads.

Publication
In the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.
Date
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