Securacy: An empirical investigation of android applications' network usage, privacy and security

Denzil Ferreira, Vassilis Kostakos, Alastair R. Beresford, Janne Lindqvist, Anind K. Dey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Smartphone users do not fully know what their apps do. For example, an applications' network usage and underlying security configuration is invisible to users. In this paper we introduce Securacy, a mobile app that explores users' privacy and security concerns with Android apps. Securacy takes a reactive, personalized approach, highlighting app permission settings that the user has previously stated are concerning, and provides feedback on the use of secure and insecure network communication for each app. We began our design of Securacy by conducting a literature review and in-depth interviews with 30 participants to understand their concerns. We used this knowledge to build Securacy and evaluated its use by another set of 218 anonymous participants who installed the application from the Google Play store. Our results show that access to address book information is by far the biggest privacy concern. Over half (56.4%) of the connections made by apps are insecure, and the destination of the majority of network traffic is North America, regardless of the location of the user. Our app provides unprecedented insight into Android applications' communications behavior globally, indicating that the majority of apps currently use insecure network connections.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks, WiSec 2015
PublisherACM
ISBN (Electronic)9781450336239
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2015
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks
- Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 15 Jun 201117 Jun 2011
Conference number: 1

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks, WiSec 2015

Conference

ConferenceACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks
Abbreviated titleWiSec
CountryGermany
CityHamburg
Period15/06/201117/06/2011

Keywords

  • Applications
  • Context
  • Experience sampling
  • Network
  • Privacy

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