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Android Malware Genome Project wants to fight malware by understanding it

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Researchers at North Carolina State University are trying to categorize Android malware in order to understand it better and hopefully create better security tools.

android robot doll (1020)
android robot doll (1020)

Android malware is increasingly becoming a concern for users, but a team of researchers at North Carolina State University is hoping to help fight the problem by understanding it better. Lead by assistant professor Xuxian Jiang, the Android Malware Genome Project is collecting samples of Android malware in order to categorize them and release the code to other researchers. So far over 1,200 samples have been collected and organized based on features like how they're downloaded and activated. Based on research conducted last November, the team found that Android security software tools were only able to detect at most 79.6 percent of malware-ridden apps, and sometimes as little as 20.2 percent. It's an area that could use some improvement.

The information gathered will eventually be available to other researchers, though it likely won't be made fully public due to security concerns — instead there will be some sort of verification system put in place to ensure only the right people have access to the samples. And despite the constant evolution of malware, Jiang believes that understanding it better will help fight future iterations. "Previous experiences indicate that the study of how malware evolves is helpful to even predict what kind of malware we may expect in the future," he told Dark Reading. "Such insights should be needed to proactively better develop mobile security apps and protect users."