Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UC Berkeley

AdDroid: Privilege Separation for Applications and Advertisers in Android

Paul Pearce, Adrienne Porter Felt, Gabriel Nunez and David Wagner

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2013-59
May 14, 2013

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2013/EECS-2013-59.pdf

Advertising is a critical part of the Android ecosystem— many applications use one or more advertising services as a source of revenue. To use these services, developers must bundle third-party, binary-only libraries into their applications. In this model, applications and their advertising libraries share permissions. Advertising-supported applications must request multiple privacy-sensitive permissions on behalf of their advertising libraries, and advertising libraries receive access to all of their host applications’ other permissions. We conducted a study of the Android Market and found that 49% of Android applications contain at least one advertising library, and these libraries overprivilege 46% of advertising-supported applications. Further, we find that 56% of the applications with advertisements that request location (34% of all applications) do so only because of advertisements. Such pervasive overprivileging is a threat to user privacy. We introduce AdDroid, a privilege separated advertising framework for the Android platform. AdDroid introduces a new advertising API and corresponding advertising permissions for the Android platform. This enables AdDroid to separate privileged advertising functionality from host applications, allowing applications to show advertisements without requesting privacy-sensitive permissions.

Advisor: David Wagner and Vern Paxson


BibTeX citation:

@mastersthesis{Pearce:EECS-2013-59,
    Author = {Pearce, Paul and Felt, Adrienne Porter and Nunez, Gabriel and Wagner, David},
    Title = {AdDroid: Privilege Separation for Applications and Advertisers in Android},
    School = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2013},
    Month = {May},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2013/EECS-2013-59.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2013-59},
    Abstract = {Advertising is a critical part of the Android ecosystem— many applications use one or more advertising services as a source of revenue. To use these services, developers must bundle third-party, binary-only libraries into their applications. In this model, applications and their advertising libraries share permissions. Advertising-supported applications must request multiple privacy-sensitive permissions on behalf of their advertising libraries, and advertising libraries receive access to all of their host applications’ other permissions. We conducted a study of the Android Market and found that 49% of Android applications contain at least one advertising library, and these libraries overprivilege 46% of advertising-supported applications. Further, we find that 56% of the applications with advertisements that request location (34% of all applications) do so only because of advertisements. Such pervasive overprivileging is a threat to user privacy. We introduce AdDroid, a privilege separated advertising framework for the Android platform. AdDroid introduces a new advertising API and corresponding advertising permissions for the Android platform. This enables AdDroid to separate privileged advertising functionality from host applications, allowing applications to show advertisements without requesting privacy-sensitive permissions.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Thesis
%A Pearce, Paul
%A Felt, Adrienne Porter
%A Nunez, Gabriel
%A Wagner, David
%T AdDroid: Privilege Separation for Applications and Advertisers in Android
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2013
%8 May 14
%@ UCB/EECS-2013-59
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2013/EECS-2013-59.html
%F Pearce:EECS-2013-59