Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UC Berkeley

Reducing Attack Surfaces for Intra-Application Communication in Android

David Kantola, Erika Chin, Warren He and David Wagner

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2012-182
July 31, 2012

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-182.pdf

The complexity of Android's message-passing system has led to numerous vulnerabilities in third-party applications. Many of these vulnerabilities are a result of developers confusing inter-application and intra-application communication mechanisms. Consequently, we propose modifications to the Android platform to detect and protect inter-application messages that should have been intra-application messages. Our approach automatically reduces attack surfaces in legacy applications. We describe our implementation for these changes and evaluate it based on attack surface reduction and the extent to which our changes break compatibility with a large set of popular applications. We fix 100% of intra-application vulnerabilities, which represents 31.4% of security flaws found in previous work. Furthermore, we find that 99.4% and 93.0% of applications are compatible with our sending and receiving changes, respectively.


BibTeX citation:

@techreport{Kantola:EECS-2012-182,
    Author = {Kantola, David and Chin, Erika and He, Warren and Wagner, David},
    Title = {Reducing Attack Surfaces for Intra-Application Communication in Android},
    Institution = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2012},
    Month = {Jul},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-182.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2012-182},
    Abstract = {The complexity of Android's message-passing system has led to numerous vulnerabilities in third-party applications. Many of these vulnerabilities are a result of developers confusing inter-application and intra-application communication mechanisms. Consequently, we propose modifications to the Android platform to detect and protect inter-application messages that should have been intra-application messages. Our approach automatically reduces attack surfaces in legacy applications. We describe our implementation for these changes and evaluate it based on attack surface reduction and the extent to which our changes break compatibility with a large set of popular applications. We fix 100% of intra-application vulnerabilities, which represents 31.4% of security flaws found in previous work. Furthermore, we find that 99.4% and 93.0% of applications are compatible with our sending and receiving changes, respectively.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Report
%A Kantola, David
%A Chin, Erika
%A He, Warren
%A Wagner, David
%T Reducing Attack Surfaces for Intra-Application Communication in Android
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2012
%8 July 31
%@ UCB/EECS-2012-182
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-182.html
%F Kantola:EECS-2012-182