Precise and Comprehensive Provenance Tracking for Android Devices
Author(s)Gordon, Michael; Eikenberry, Jordan; Eden, Anthony; Perkins, Jeff; Rinard, Martin
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Detailed information about the paths that data take through a system is invaluable for understanding sources and behaviors of complex exfiltration malware. We present a new system, ClearScope, that tracks, at the level of individual bytes, the complete paths that data follow through Android systems. These paths include the original source where data entered the device (such as sensors or network connections), files in which the data was temporarily stored, applications that the data traversed during its time in the device, and sinks through which the data left the device. The ClearScope system design enables this unprecedented level of provenance tracking detail by 1) structuring the provenance representation as references, via provenance tags, to provenance events that record the movement of data between system components and into or out of the device and 2) adopting a split design in which provenance events are streamed to a remote server for storage, with only the minimal information required to generate the tagged stream of events retained on the device. ClearScope also includes compiler optimizations that enable efficient provenance tracking within applications by eliminating unnecessary provenance tracking computations and adopting and efficient aggregate provenance representation for arrays when all array elements have the same provenance. Experience using ClearScope to analyze the notorious Adups FOTA malware highlights the significant benefits that this level of comprehensive detail can bring. Performance experiments with the Caffeine Mark benchmarks show that the overall ClearScope provenance tracking overhead on this benchmark suite is 14%.
security, runtime instrumentation, provenance
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