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Investigating fingerprinters and fingerprinting-alike behaviour of android applications

: Ferreira Torres, C.; Jonker, H.


Lopez, J.:
Computer security. 23rd European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2018. Proceedings. Pt.2 : Barcelona, Spain, September 3-7, 2018
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2018 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 11099)
ISBN: 978-3-319-98988-4 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-319-98989-1 (Online)
ISBN: 978-3-319-98990-7
European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS) <23, 2018, Barcelona>
Fraunhofer AISEC ()

Fingerprinting of browsers has been thoroughly investigated. In contrast, mobile phone applications offer a far wider array of attributes for profiling, yet fingerprinting practices on this platform have hardly received attention.
In this paper, we present the first (to our knowledge) investigation of Android libraries by commercial fingerprinters. Interestingly enough, there is a marked difference with fingerprinting desktop browsers. We did not find evidence of typical fingerprinting techniques such as canvas fingerprinting. Secondly, we searched for behaviour resembling that of commercial fingerprinters. We performed a detailed analysis of six similar libraries. Thirdly, we investigated ∼ 30,000 apps and found that roughly 19% of these apps is using one of the these libraries. Finally, we checked how often these libraries were used by apps subject to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (i.e. apps targeted explicitly at children), and found that these libraries were included 21 times.