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ANDROID 2014 Projects

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Cooperative Positioning and Tracking in Disruption Tolerant Networks

ABSTRACT:

With the increasing number of location-dependent applications, positioning and tracking a mobile device becomes more and more important to enable pervasive and context-aware service. While extensive research has been performed in physical localization and logical localization for satellite, GSM and WiFi communication networks where fixed reference points are densely-deployed, positioning and tracking techniques in a sparse disruption tolerant network (DTN) have not been well addressed. In this paper, we propose a decentralized cooperative method called PulseCounting for DTN localization and a probabilistic tracking method called ProbTracking to confront this challenge. PulseCounting evaluates the user walking steps and movement orientations using accelerometer and electronic compass equipped in cellphones. It estimates user location by accumulating the walking segments, and improves the estimation accuracy by exploiting the encounters of mobile nodes. Several methods to refine the location estimation are discussed, which include the adjustment of trajectory based on reference points and the mutual refinement of location estimation for encountering nodes based on maximum-likelihood. To track user movement, the proposed ProbTracking method uses Markov chain to describe movement patterns and determines the most possible user walking trajectories without full record of user locations. We implemented the positioning and tracking system in Android phones and deployed a testbed in the campus of Nanjing University. Extensive experiments are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and accuracy of the proposed methods, which show an average deviation of 9m in our system compared to GPS.

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The Places of Our Lives: Visiting Patterns and Automatic Labeling from Longitudinal Smartphone Data

ABSTRACT:

The location tracking functionality of modern mobile devices provides unprecedented opportunity to the understanding of individual mobility in daily life. Instead of studying raw geographic coordinates, we are interested in understanding human mobility patterns based on sequences of place visits which encode, at a coarse resolution, most daily activities. This paper presents a study on place characterization in people’s everyday life based on data recorded continuously by smartphones. First, we study human mobility from sequences of place visits, including visiting patterns on different place categories. Second, we address the problem of automatic place labeling from smartphone data without using any geo-location information. Our study on a large-scale data collected from 114 smartphone users over 18 months confirm many intuitions, and also reveals findings regarding both regularly and novelty trends in visiting patterns. Considering the problem of place labeling with 10 place categories, we show that frequently visited places can be recognized reliably (over 80 percent) while it is much more challenging to recognize infrequent places.

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Security Threats to Mobile Multimedia Applications: Camera-Based Attacks on Mobile Phones

ABSTRACT:

Today’s mobile smartphones are very power ful, and many smartphone applications use wireless multimedia communications. Mobile phone security has become an important aspect of security issues in wireless multimedia communications. As the most popular mobile operating system, Android security has been extensively studied by researchers. However, few works have studied mobile phone multimedia security. In this article, we focus on security issues related to mobile phone cameras. Specifically, we discover several new attacks that are based on the use of phone cameras. We implement the attacks on real phones, and demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the attacks. Furthermore, we propose a lightweight defense scheme that can effectively detect these attacks.

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MOSES: Supporting and Enforcing Security Profiles on Smartphones

ABSTRACT:

Smartphones are very effective tools for increasing the productivity of business users. With their increasing computational power and storage capacity, smartphones allow end users to perform several tasks and be always updated while on the move. Companies are willing to support employee-owned smartphones because of the increase in productivity of their employees. However, security concerns about data sharing, leakage and loss have hindered the adoption of smartphones for corporate use. In this paper we present MOSES, a policy-based framework for enforcing software isolation of applications and data on the Android platform. In MOSES, it is possible to define distinct Security Profiles within a single smartphone. Each security profile is associated with a set of policies that control the access to applications and data. Profiles are not predefined or hardcoded, they can be specified and applied at any time. One of the main characteristics of MOSES is the dynamic switching from one security profile to another. We run a thorough set of experiments using our full implementation of MOSES. The results of the experiments confirm the feasibility of our proposal.

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How Long to Wait Predicting Bus Arrival Time With Mobile Phone Based Participatory Sensing

ABSTRACT:

The bus arrival time is primary information to most city transport travelers. Excessively long waiting time at bus stops often discourages the travelers and makes them reluctant to take buses. In this paper, we present a bus arrival time prediction system based on bus passengers’ participatory sensing. With commodity mobile phones, the bus passengers’ surrounding environmental context is effectively collected and utilized to estimate the bus traveling routes and predict bus arrival time at various bus stops. The proposed system solely relies on the collaborative effort of the participating users and is independent from the bus operating companies, so it can be easily adopted to support universal bus service systems without requesting support from particular bus operating companies. Instead of referring to GPS-enabled location information, we resort to more generally available and energy efficient sensing resources, including cell tower signals, movement statuses, audio recordings, etc., which bring less burden to the participatory party and encourage their participation. We develop a prototype system with different types of Android-based mobile phones and comprehensively experiment with the NTU campus shuttle buses as well as Singapore public buses over a 7-week period. The evaluation results suggest that the proposed system achieves outstanding prediction accuracy compared with those bus operator initiated and GPS supported solutions. We further adopt our system and conduct quick trial experiments with London bus system for 4 days, which suggests the easy deployment of our system and promising system performance across cities. At the same time, the proposed solution is more generally available and energy friendly.

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Hiding in the Mobile Crowd: Location Privacy through Collaboration

ABSTRACT:

Location-aware smartphones support various location-based services (LBSs): users query the LBS server and learn on the fly about their surroundings. However, such queries give away private information, enabling the LBS to track users. We address this problem by proposing a user-collaborative privacy-preserving approach for LBSs. Our solution does not require changing the LBS server architecture and does not assume third party servers; yet, it significantly improves users’ location privacy. The gain stems from the collaboration of mobile devices: they keep their context information in a buffer and pass it to others seeking such information. Thus, a user remains hidden from the server, unless all the collaborative peers in the vicinity lack the sought information. We evaluate our scheme against the Bayesian localization attacks that allow for strong adversaries who can incorporate prior knowledge in their attacks. We develop a novel epidemic model to capture the, possibly time-dependent, dynamics of information propagation among users. Used in the Bayesian inference framework, this model helps analyze the effects of various parameters, such as users’ querying rates and the lifetime of context information, on users’ location privacy. The results show that our scheme hides a high fraction of location-based queries, thus significantly enhancing users’ location privacy. Our simulations with real mobility traces corroborate our model-based findings. Finally, our implementation on mobile platforms indicates that it is lightweight and the cost of collaboration is negligible.

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GreenDroid: Automated Diagnosis of Energy Inefficiency for Smartphone Applications

ABSTRACT:

Smartphone applications’ energy efficiency is vital, but many Android applications suffer from serious energy inefficiency problems. Locating these problems is labor-intensive and automated diagnosis is highly desirable. However, a key challenge is the lack of a decidable criterion that facilitates automated judgment of such energy problems. Our work aims to address this challenge. We conducted an in-depth study of 173 open-source and 229 commercial Android applications, and observed two common causes of energy problems: missing deactivation of sensors or wake locks, and cost-ineffective use of sensory data. With these findings, we propose an automated approach to diagnosing energy problems in Android applications. Our approach explores an application’s state space by systematically executing the application using Java PathFinder (JPF). It monitors sensor and wake lock operations to detect missing deactivation of sensors and wake locks. It also tracks the transformation and usage of sensory data and judges whether they are effectively utilized by the application using our state-sensitive data utilization metric. In this way, our approach can generate detailed reports with actionable information to assist developers in validating detected energy problems. We built our approach as a tool, GreenDroid, on top of JPF. Technically, we  addressed the challenges of generating user interaction events and scheduling event handlers in extending JPF for analyzing Android applications.We evaluated GreenDroid using 13 real-world popular Android applications. GreenDroid completed energy efficiency diagnosis for these applications in a few minutes. It successfully located real energy problems in these applications, and additionally found new unreported energy problems that were later confirmed by developers.

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Generating Summary Risk Scores for Mobile Applications

ABSTRACT:

One of Android’s main defense mechanisms against malicious apps is a risk communication mechanism which, before a user installs an app, warns the user about the permissions the app requires, trusting that the user will make the right decision. This approach has been shown to be ineffective as it presents the risk information of each app in a “stand-alone” fashion and in a way that requires too much technical knowledge and time to distill useful information. We discuss the desired properties of risk signals and relative risk scores for Android apps in order to generate another metric that users can utilize when choosing apps. We present a wide range of techniques to generate both risk signals and risk scores that are based on heuristics as well as principled machine learning techniques. Experimental results conducted using real-world data sets show that these methods can effectively identify malware as very risky, are simple to understand, and easy to use.

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Face-to-Face Proximity Estimation Using Bluetooth On Smartphones

ABSTRACT:

The availability of “always-on” communications has tremendous implications for how people interact socially. In particular, sociologists are interested in the question if such pervasive access increases or decreases face-to-face interactions. Unlike triangulation which seeks to precisely define position, the question of face-to-face interaction reduces to one of proximity, i.e., are the individuals within a certain distance? Moreover, the problem of proximity estimation is complicated by the fact that the measurement must be quite precise (1-1.5 m) and can cover a wide variety of environments. Existing approaches such as GPS and Wi-Fi triangulation are insufficient to meet the requirements of accuracy and flexibility. In contrast, Bluetooth, which is commonly available on most smartphones, provides a compelling alternative for proximity estimation. In this paper, we demonstrate through experimental studies the efficacy of Bluetooth for this exact purpose. We propose a proximity estimation model to determine the distance based on the RSSI values of Bluetooth and light sensor data in different environments. We present several real world scenarios and explore Bluetooth proximity estimation on Android with respect to accuracy and power consumption.

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Effective Risk Communication for Android Apps

ABSTRACT:

The popularity and advanced functionality of mobile devices has made them attractive targets for malicious and intrusive applications (apps). Although strong security measures are in place for most mobile systems, the area where these systems often fail is the reliance on the user to make decisions that impact the security of a device. As our prime example, Android relies on users to understand the permissions that an app is requesting and to base the installation decision on the list of permissions. Previous research has shown that this reliance on users is ineffective, as most users do not understand or consider the permission information. We propose a solution that leverages a method to assign a risk score to each app and display a summary of that information to users. Results from four experiments are reported in which we examine the effects of introducing summary risk information and how best to convey such information to a user. Our results show that the inclusion of risk-score information has significant positive effects in the selection process and can also lead to more curiosity about security-related information.

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DELTA++: Reducing the Size of Android Application Updates

ABSTRACT:

This method of creating and deploying update patches improves on Google Smart Application Update by first unpacking the Android Application Package and then compressing its elements individually. The smartphone user can then download a smaller patch. Experiments show that performance yields 49 percent more reduction relative to Google’s solution, increasing the savings in cellular network bandwidth use and resulting in lighter application server loads. This reduction in Android application-update traffic could translate to a 1.7 percent decrease in annual US cellular traffic. Similar methods applied to iPhone application updates could yield even greater savings.

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Context-driven, Prescription-Based Personal Activity Classification: Methodology, Architecture, and End-to-End Implementation

ABSTRACT:

Enabling large-scale monitoring and classification of a range of motion activities is of primary importance due to the need by healthcare and fitness professionals to monitor exercises for quality and compliance. Past work has not fully addressed the unique challenges that arise from scaling. This paper presents a novel end-to-end system solution to some of these challenges. The system is built on the prescription-based context-driven activity classification methodology. First, we show that by refining the definition of context, and introducing the concept of scenarios, a prescription model can provide personalized activity monitoring. Second, through a flexible architecture constructed from interface models, we demonstrate the concept of a context-driven classifier. Context classification is achieved through a classification committee approach, and activity classification follows by means of context specific activity models. Then, the architecture is implemented in an end-to-end system featuring an Android application running on a mobile device, and a number of classifiers as core classification components. Finally, we use a series of experimental field evaluations to confirm the expected benefits of the proposed system in terms of classification accuracy, rate, and sensor operating life.

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CONTEXT-BASED ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR MOBILE DEVICES

ABSTRACT:

Mobile Android applications often have access to sensitive data and resources on the user device. Misuse of this data by malicious applications may result in privacy breaches and sensitive data leakage. An example would be a malicious application surreptitiously recording a confidential business conversation. The problem arises from the fact that Android users do not have control over the application capabilities once the applications have been granted the requested privileges upon installation. In many cases, however, whether an application may get a privilege depends on the specific user context and thus we need a context-based access control mechanism by which privileges can be dynamically granted or revoked to applications based on the specific context of the user. In this paper we propose such an access control mechanism. Our implementation of context differentiates between closely located sub-areas within the same location. We have modified the Android operating system so that context-based access control restrictions can be specified and enforced. We have performed several experiments to assess the efficiency of our access control mechanism and the accuracy of context detection.

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Collaborative Policy Administration

ABSTRACT:

Policy-based management is a very effective method to protect sensitive information. However, the overclaim of privileges is widespread in emerging applications, including mobile applications and social network services, because the applications’ users involved in policy administration have little knowledge of policy-based management. The overclaim can be leveraged by malicious applications, then lead to serious privacy leakages and financial loss. To resolve this issue, this paper proposes a novel policy administration mechanism, referred to as collaborative policy administration (CPA for short), to simplify the policy administration. In CPA, a policy administrator can refer to other similar policies to set up their own policies to protect privacy and other sensitive information. This paper formally defines CPA and proposes its enforcement framework. Furthermore, to obtain similar policies more effectively, which is the key step of CPA, a text mining-based similarity measure method is presented. We evaluate CPA with the data of Android applications and demonstrate that the text mining-based similarity measure method is more effective in obtaining similar policies than the previous category-based method.

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Catch Me If You Can: Evaluating Android Anti-Malware Against Transformation Attacks

ABSTRACT:

Mobile malware threats (e.g., on Android) have recently become a real concern. In this paper, we evaluate the state-of-the-art commercial mobile anti-malware products for Android and test how resistant they are against various common obfuscation techniques (even with known malware). Such an evaluation is important for not only measuring the available defense against mobile malware threats, but also proposing effective, next-generation solutions. We developed DroidChameleon, a systematic framework with various transformation techniques, and used it for our study. Our results on 10 popular commercial anti-malware applications for Android are worrisome: none of these tools is resistant against common malware transformation techniques. In addition, a majority of them can be trivially defeated by applying slight transformation over known malware with little effort for malware authors. Finally, in light of our results, we propose possible remedies for improving the current state of malware detection on mobile devices.

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A Real-Time Adaptive Algorithm for Video Streaming over Multiple Wireless Access Networks

ABSTRACT:

Video streaming is gaining popularity among mobile users. The latest mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, are equipped with multiple wireless network interfaces. How to efficiently and cost-effectively utilize multiple links to improve video streaming quality needs investigation. In order to maintain high video streaming quality while reducing the wireless service cost, in this paper, the optimal video streaming process with multiple links is formulated as a Markov Decision Process (MDP). The reward function is designed to consider the quality of service (QoS) requirements for video traffic, such as the startup latency, playback fluency, average playback quality, playback smoothness and wireless service cost. To solve the MDP in real time, we propose an adaptive, best-action search algorithm to obtain a sub-optimal solution. To evaluate the performance of the proposed adaptation algorithm, we implemented a testbed using the Android mobile phone and the Scalable Video Coding (SVC) codec. Experiment results demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed adaptation algorithm for mobile video streaming applications, which outperforms the existing state-of-the-art adaptation algorithms

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