Mobile Networks and Applications

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 79–87

Quantifying and Classifying Covert Communications on Android


DOI: 10.1007/s11036-013-0482-7

Cite this article as:
Hill, R., Hansen, M. & Singh, V. Mobile Netw Appl (2014) 19: 79. doi:10.1007/s11036-013-0482-7


By exploiting known covert channels, Android applications today are able to bypass the built-in permission system and share data in a potentially untraceable manner. These channels have sufficient bandwidth to transmit sensitive information, such as GPS locations, in real-time to collaborating applications with Internet access. In this paper, we extend previous work involving an application layer covert communications detector. We measure the stability of the volume and vibration channels on the Android emulator, HTC G1, and Motorola Droid. In addition, we quantify the effect that our detector has on channel capacities for stealthy malicious applications using a theoretical model. Lastly, we introduce a new classification of covert and overt communication for the Android platform.


Covert communication Android smartphones Security 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUS

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