Prajit Kumar Das, Anupam Joshi and Tim Finin, App behavioral analysis using system calls, MobiSec: Security, Privacy, and Digital Forensics of Mobile Systems and Networks, IEEE Conference on Computer Communications Workshops, May 2017.
System calls provide an interface to the services made available by an operating system. As a result, any functionality provided by a software application eventually reduces to a set of fixed system calls. Since system calls have been used in literature, to analyze program behavior we made an assumption that analyzing the patterns in calls made by a mobile application would provide us insight into its behavior. In this paper, we present our preliminary study conducted with 534 mobile applications and the system calls made by them. Due to a rising trend of mobile applications providing multiple functionalities, our study concluded, mapping system calls to functional behavior of a mobile application was not straightforward. We use Weka tool and manually annotated application behavior classes and system call features in our experiments to show that using such features achieves mediocre F1-measure at best, for app behavior classification. Thus leading to the conclusion that system calls were not sufficient features for app behavior classification.