Identifying vulnerabilities of SSL/TLS certificate verification in Android apps with static and dynamic analysis

Yingjie Wang, Guangquan Xu, Xing Liu, Weixuan Mao, Chengxiang Si, Witold Pedrycz, Wei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Many Android developers fail to properly implement SSL/TLS during the development of an app, which may result in Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks or phishing attacks. In this work, we design and implement a tool called DCDroid to detect these vulnerabilities with the combination of static and dynamic analysis. In static analysis, we focus on four types of vulnerable schema and locate the potential vulnerable code snippets in apps. In dynamic analysis, we prioritize the triggering of User Interface (UI) components based on the results obtained with static analysis to confirm the misuse of SSL/TLS. With DCDroid we analyze 2213 apps from Google Play and 360app. The experimental results show that 457 (20.65%) apps contain potential vulnerable code. We run apps with DCDroid on two Android smart phones and confirm that 245 (11.07%) of 2213 apps are truly vulnerable to MITM and phishing attacks. We propose several strategies to reduce the number of crashes and shorten the execution time in dynamic analysis. Comparing with our previous work, DCDroid decreases 57.18% of the number of apps’ crash and 32.47% of the execution time on average. It also outperforms other three tools, namely, AndroBugs, kingkong and appscan, in terms of detection accuracy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110609
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
StatePublished - Apr 22 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The work reported in this paper was supported in part by Natural Science Foundation of China, under Grant U1736114, and in part by National Key R&D Program of China, under grant 2017YFB0802805.


Dive into the research topics of 'Identifying vulnerabilities of SSL/TLS certificate verification in Android apps with static and dynamic analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this