Boffins propose security shim for Android

Hoping Choc Factory wants third-party infosec sweeties

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

An international group of researchers believes Android needs more extensible security, and is offering up a framework they hope either Google or mobe-makers will take for a spin.

The project is described in this paper slated for the Usenix Security Symposium on Friday in San Diego.

The researchers from Germany's Technische Universität Darmstadt and NC State University explain that while Android APIs are rich and nuanced, each API has an impact on the underlying security model.

And there's another problem the researchers, led by William Enck, identify: while World+Dog has ideas about improving Android security, they need firmware changes. Instead, they propose an architecture that other security fixes can plug into. That means rooting the phone once (if nobody comes along for the ride), or not at all if the capability is build into phones.

As they write: “The Android Security Modules (ASM) framework … provides a set of authorisation hooks to build reference monitors for Android security … It provides researchers a standardised interface for security architectures and will potentially lead to field enhancement of devices without modifying the system firmware … if adopted by Google”.

Detailing their design goals, the researchers note that the ASM framework needs to maintain existing Android security (offering more restrictive security without breaking things like the sandbox), protect the integrity of the kernel, and support multiple authorisation modules without imposing a performance overhead.

The idea of multiple authorisation modules would let security on an Android device be split between personal and business use.

In addition, the ASM could give more fine-grained security and/or privacy control to end users. Enck explains in this NC State University release:

“Security modules can also enhance consumer privacy. The framework provides callbacks that can filter, modify, or anonymise data before it is shared with third-party apps, in order to protect personal information.

“For instance consider an app like Whatsapp, which usually copies all your contacts to its server – which is not needed for it to function.” ASM would let users restrict the app to receive only the data it must have to function. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story


Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.