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A context-aware extension of usage control for the android OS

: Seise, Christian
: Jung, Christian

Kaiserslautern, 2012, XV, 152 S.
Kaiserslautern, TU, Master Thesis, 2012
Master Thesis
Fraunhofer IESE ()
usage control; context awareness

In recent years, the popularity of smart mobile devices has been increasing steadily. By offering sophisticated but likewise easy-to-use programming interfaces, the number of available Apps has grown to a large extent. Yet, smart mobile devices even have become a base for entire new business models. Even though the Android OS has a considerably mature and elaborate security concept, its permission system does not allow a user to control what apps do and what happens with potentially sensitive data once required permissions have been granted.
Hence, a usage control mechanism, controlling permission requests and data usages seems promising to improve overall device security. However, many people use the same mobile phones in different settings without having considered special prerequisites these settings demand. Even if special policies for different situations exist, their activation remains a manual task. Therefore, if usage control mechanisms could adapt to the current device context, there would be the possibility to make security measures more fine-grained and eventually more transparent to the user.
This thesis investigates the use of context information to increase the overall security of Android-powered mobile devices. To achieve this, multiple sources of information are aggregated by a context information service located within the Android OS. This service, in turn, forms the basis to enhance an existing usage control mechanism to enable the use of contextual information within its decision making process. The following work describes, how the usage control mechanism is extended. After an introduction to basic notions and concepts, different solutions are analysed and discussed. Furthermore, the design as well as aspects of its implementation are depicted. Finally, the solution is evaluated with regard to security and performance.