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Design and Implementation of Efficient Integrity Protection for Open Mobile Platforms

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3 Author(s)
Xinwen Zhang ; Huawei Res. Center, Santa Clara, CA, USA ; Seifert, J.-P. ; Aciicmez, O.

The security of mobile devices such as cellular phones and smartphones has gained extensive attention due to their increasing usage in people's daily life. The problem is challenging as the computing environments of these devices have become more open and general-purpose while at the same time they have the constraints of performance and user experience. We propose and implement SEIP, a simple and efficient but yet effective solution for the integrity protection of real-world cellular phone platforms, which is motivated by the disadvantages of applying traditional integrity models on these performance and user experience constrained devices. The major security objective of SEIP is to protect trusted services and resources (e.g., those belonging to cellular service providers and device manufacturers) from third-party code. We propose a set of simple integrity protection rules based upon open mobile operating system environments and application behaviors. Our design leverages the unique features of mobile devices, such as service convergence and limited permissions of user installed applications, and easily identifies the borderline between trusted and untrusted domains on mobile platforms. Our approach, thus, significantly simplifies policy specifications while still achieves a high assurance of platform integrity. SEIP is deployed within a commercially available Linux-based smartphone and demonstrates that it can effectively prevent certain malware. The security policy of our implementation is less than 20 kB, and a performance study shows that it is lightweight.

Published in:

Mobile Computing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jan. 2014

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