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Android Research

The current security mechanisms for Android apps, both static and dynamic analysis approaches, are insufficient for detection and prevention of the increasingly dynamic and sophisticated security attacks.

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January 2018

Android is the dominant mobile platform with 85% market share, as of the first quarter of 2017. At the same time, the number and sophistication of malicious Android apps are increasin.

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July 2017

Permission-induced attacks, i.e., security breaches enabled by permission misuse, are among the most critical and frequent issues threatening the security of Android devices. By ignoring the temporal aspects of an attack during the analysis and enforcement, the state-of-the-art approaches aimed at protecting the users against such attacks are prone to have low-coverage in detection and high-disruption in prevention of permission-induced attacks. To address the aforementioned shortcomings, we present Terminator, a temporal permission analysis and enforcement framework for Android.

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July 2017

The rising popularity of mobile apps deployed on battery-constrained devices underlines the need for effectively evaluating their energy properties. However, currently there is a lack of testing tools for evaluating the energy properties of apps. As a result, for energy testing, developers are relying on tests intended for evaluating the functional correctness of apps. Such tests may not be adequate for revealing energy defects and inefficiencies in apps.

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January 2017

Although a wide variety of approaches identify vulnerabilities in Android apps, none attempt to determine exploitability of those vulnerabilities. Exploitability can aid in reducing false positives of vulnerability analysis, and can help engineers triage bugs. Specifically, one of the main attack vectors of Android apps is their inter-component communication (ICC) interface, where apps may receive messages called Intents.

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January 2017

Recent introduction of a dynamic permission model in Android, allowing the users to grant and revoke permissions a at the installation of an app, has made it much harder to properly test apps. Since an app's behavior may change depending on the granted permissions, it needs to be tested under a wide range of granted permission combinations.

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January 2017

DELDroid is an automated system for determination of least privilege architecture in Android and its enforcement at runtime. A key contribution of our approach is the ability to limit the privileges granted to apps without the need to modify them.

DELDroid utilizes static program analysis techniques to extract the exact privileges each component needs for providing its functionality. A Multiple-Domain Matrix representation of the system's architecture is then used to automatically analyze the security posture of the system and derive its least-privilege architecture.

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July 2016

We present a comprehensive review of the existing approaches for Android security analysis. The review is carried out to achieve the following objectives:

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January 2016

The number of malicious Android apps is increasing rapidly. Android malware can damage or alter other files or settings, install additional applications, etc. To determine such behaviors, a security analyst can significantly benefit from identifying the family to which an Android malware belongs, rather than only detecting if an app is malicious. Techniques for detecting Android malware, and determining their families, lack the ability to handle certain obfuscations that aim to thwart detection.

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January 2016

The rising popularity of mobile apps deployed on battery-constrained devices has motivated the need for effective energy-aware testing techniques. Energy testing is generally more labor intensive and expensive than functional testing, as tests need to be executed in the deployment environment, specialized equipment needs to be used to collect energy measurements, etc. Currently, there is a dearth of automatic mobile testing techniques that consider energy as a program property of interest.

Research Area(s): 
Project Dates: 
September 2015

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