The emergence of malicious apps poses a serious threat to the Android platform. Most types of mobile malware rely on network interface to coordinate operations, steal users' private information, and launch attack activities. In this paper, we propose an effective and automatic malware detection method using the text semantics of network traffic. In particular, we consider each HTTP flow generated by mobile apps as a text document, which can be processed by natural language processing to extract text-level features. Then, we use the text semantic features of network traffic to develop an effective malware detection model. In an evaluation using 31 706 benign flows and 5258 malicious flows, our method outperforms the existing approaches, and gets an accuracy of 99.15%. We also conduct experiments to verify that the method is effective in detecting newly discovered malware, and requires only a few samples to achieve a good detection result. When the detection model is applied to the real environment to detect unknown applications in the wild, the experimental results show that our method performs significantly better than other popular anti-virus scanners with a detection rate of 54.81%. Our method also reveals certain malware types that can avoid the detection of anti-virus scanners. In addition, we design a detection system on encrypted traffic for bring-your-own-device enterprise network, home network, and 3G/4G mobile network. The detection model is integrated into the system to discover suspicious network behaviors.
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