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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 smart-phone 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.
Date of Conference: 18-19 Oct. 2011