A Large-Scale Empirical Study on Industrial Fake Apps

Chongbin Tang, Sen Chen, Lingling Fan, Lihua Xu, Yang Liu, Zhushou Tang, Liang Dou

While there have been various studies towards Android apps and their development, there is limited discussion of the broader class of apps that fall in the fake area. Fake apps and their development are distinct from official apps and belong to the mobile underground industry. Due to the lack of knowledge of the mobile underground industry, fake apps, their ecosystem and nature still remain in mystery. To fill the blank, we conduct the first systematic and comprehensive empirical study on a large-scale set of fake apps. Over 150,000 samples related to the top 50 popular apps are collected for extensive measurement. In this paper, we present discoveries from three different perspectives, namely fake sample characteristics, quantitative study on fake samples and fake authors' developing trend. Moreover, valuable domain knowledge, like fake apps' naming tendency and fake developers' evasive strategies, is then presented and confirmed with case studies, demonstrating a clear vision of fake apps and their ecosystem.

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