Security Issues in the Android Cross-Layer Architecture [article]

Alessandro Armando, Alessio Merlo, Luca Verderame
2012 arXiv   pre-print
The security of Android has been recently challenged by the discovery of a number of vulnerabilities involving different layers of the Android stack. We argue that such vulnerabilities are largely related to the interplay among layers composing the Android stack. Thus, we also argue that such interplay has been underestimated from a security point-of-view and a systematic analysis of the Android interplay has not been carried out yet. To this aim, in this paper we provide a simple model of the
more » ... ndroid cross-layer interactions based on the concept of flow, as a basis for analyzing the Android interplay. In particular, our model allows us to reason about the security implications associated with the cross-layer interactions in Android, including a recently discovered vulnerability that allows a malicious application to make Android devices totally unresponsive. We used the proposed model to carry out an empirical assessment of some flows within the Android cross-layered architecture. Our experiments indicate that little control is exercised by the Android Security Framework (ASF) over cross-layer interactions in Android. In particular, we observed that the ASF lacks in discriminating the originator of a flow and sensitive security issues arise between the Android stack and the Linux kernel, thereby indicating that the attack surface of the Android platform is wider than expected.
arXiv:1209.0687v1 fatcat:2ph6oawwvfcfjf4yp25ijtdpra