Android Security Framework: Enabling Generic and Extensible Access Control on Android

Michael Backes, Sven Bugiel, Sebastian Gerling, Philipp von Styp-Rekowsky

We introduce the Android Security Framework (ASF), a generic, extensible security framework for Android that enables the development and integration of a wide spectrum of security models in form of code-based security modules. The design of ASF reflects lessons learned from the literature on established security frameworks (such as Linux Security Modules or the BSD MAC Framework) and intertwines them with the particular requirements and challenges from the design of Android's software stack. ASF provides a novel security API that supports authors of Android security extensions in developing their modules. This overcomes the current unsatisfactory situation to provide security solutions as separate patches to the Android software stack or to embed them into Android's mainline codebase. As a result, ASF provides different practical benefits such as a higher degree of acceptance, adaptation, and maintenance of security solutions than previously possible on Android. We present a prototypical implementation of ASF and demonstrate its effectiveness and efficiency by modularizing different security models from related work, such as context-aware access control, inlined reference monitoring, and type enforcement.

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