Donnerstag, 20. Juni 2013

Hiding Privacy Leaks in Android Applications Using Low-Attention Raising Covert Channels

A new paper of Jean-Francois Lalande and me got accepted:

Jean-Francois Lalande, Steffen Wendzel:
Hiding Privacy Leaks in Android Applications Using Low-Attention Raising Covert Channels,
Proc. Int. Workshop on Emerging Cyberthreats and Countermeasures held in conjunction with the ARES conference, 2013 (to appear).

Covert channels enable a policy-breaking communication not foreseen by a system’s design. Recently, covert channels in Android were presented and it was shown that these channels can be used by malware to leak confidential information (e.g., contacts) between applications and to the Internet. Performance aspects as well as means to counter these covert channels were evaluated. In this paper, we present novel covert channel techniques linked to a minimized footprint to achieve a high covertness. Therefore, we developed a malware that slowly leaks collected private information and sends it synchronously based on four covert channel techniques. We show that some of our covert channels do not require any extra permission and escape well know detection techniques like TaintDroid. Experimental results confirm that the obtained throughput is correlated to the user interaction and show that these new covert channels have a low energy consumption – both aspects contribute to the stealthiness of the channels. Finally, we discuss concepts for novel means capable to counter our covert channels and we also discuss the adaption of network covert channel features to Android-based covert channels.

Keywords: Smartphone Security; Android; Covert Channels; Privacy; Information Hiding


  1. Hi I have just started with my research in covert channels in cloud, Could you please provide me some literature which shows in sequence how technically changes came in storage covert channels... .. It will be a great help. Regards

    1. Hi Shuchi,

      I think, the easiest starting point is to read the papers most authors cite. Just check out some of my publications at and have a look at the references.
      I guess, you especially want to read more about the storage channel evolution. Therefore, I recommend you to read the survey papers by Zander et al.


  2. Thank you very much sir.I have been studying the ones you have adviced.I have a question sir, most of study in network storage channels have detection and prevention techniques like use of wardens and more.In a standalone system in olden times ,it was information flow analysis and non interference for detection.My question is that as I wish to study in context of cloud,would it be that I study both of these separately(considering cloud is mix of old technologies ) or is there any unique channel arising in cloud.i hv studied ritenpart et al...but the channels they hv mentioned is mainly the same threats as in olden times due to OS just impact is higher now. Please advice.
    Warm Regards