Using Static Analysis for Automatic Assessment and Mitigation of Unwanted and Malicious Activities Within Android Applications

AutorLeonid Batyuk, Markus Herpich, Seyit Ahmet Camtepe, Karsten Raddatz, Aubrey-Derrick Schmidt, Sahin Albayrak
QuelleMalware Conference 2011, Fajardo, Puerto Rico, USA 
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In the last decade, smartphones have gained widespread usage. Since the advent of online application stores, hundreds of thousands of applications have become instantly available to millions of smartphone users. Within the Android ecosystem, application security is governed by digital signatures and a list of coarse-grained permissions. However, this mechanism is not fine-grained enough to provide the user with a sufficient means of control of the applications’ activities. Abuse of highly sensible private information such as phone numbers without users’ notice is the result. We show that there is a high frequency of privacy leaks even among widely popular applications. Together with the fact that the majority of the users are not proficient in computer security, this presents a challenge to the engineers developing security solutions for the platform. Our contribution is twofold: first, we propose a service which is able to assess Android Market applications via static analysis and provide detailed, but readable reports to the user. Second, we describe a means to mitigate security and privacy threats by automated reverse-engineering and refactoring binary application packages according to the users’ security preferences.