Crystal Ball: From Innovative Attacks to Attack Effectiveness Classifier

Harel Berger, Chen Hajaj, Enrico Mariconti, Amit Dvir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Android OS is one of the most popular operating systems worldwide, making it a desirable target for malware attacks. Some of the latest and most important defensive systems are based on machine learning (ML) and cybercriminals continuously search for ways to overcome the barriers posed by these systems. Thus, the focus of this work is on evasion attacks in the attempt to show the weaknesses of state of the art research and how more resilient systems can be built. Evasion attacks consist of manipulating either the actual malicious application (problem-based) or its extracted feature vector (feature-based), to avoid being detected by ML systems. This study presents a set of innovative problem-based evasion attacks against well-known Android malware detection systems, which decrease their detection rate by up to 97%. Moreover, an analysis of the effectiveness of these attacks against VirusTotal (VT) scanners was conducted, empirically showing their efficiency against well-known scanners (e.g., McAfee and Comodo) as well. The VT system proved to be a great candidate for the attacks, as in 98% of the apps, less scanners detected the manipulated apps than the original malicious apps. As not all the attacks are effective in the same manner against the VT scanners, the attack efficiency classifiers are advised. Each classifier predicts the applicability of one of the attacks. The set of classifiers creates an ensemble, which shows high success rates, allowing the attacker to decide which attack is best to use for each malicious app and defense system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1333
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2022


  • Android malware
  • machine learning
  • malware detection


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