AndroidLeaks: Automatically Detecting Potential Privacy Leaks in Android Applications on a Large Scale

  • Clint Gibler
  • Jonathan Crussell
  • Jeremy Erickson
  • Hao Chen
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7344)


As mobile devices become more widespread and powerful, they store more sensitive data, which includes not only users’ personal information but also the data collected via sensors throughout the day. When mobile applications have access to this growing amount of sensitive information, they may leak it carelessly or maliciously.

Google’s Android operating system provides a permissions-based security model that restricts an application’s access to the user’s private data. Each application statically declares the sensitive data and functionality that it requires in a manifest, which is presented to the user upon installation. However, it is not clear to the user how sensitive data is used once the application is installed. To combat this problem, we present AndroidLeaks, a static analysis framework for automatically finding potential leaks of sensitive information in Android applications on a massive scale. AndroidLeaks drastically reduces the number of applications and the number of traces that a security auditor has to verify manually.

We evaluate the efficacy of AndroidLeaks on 24,350 Android applications from several Android markets. AndroidLeaks found 57,299 potential privacy leaks in 7,414 Android applications, out of which we have manually verified that 2,342 applications leak private data including phone information, GPS location, WiFi data, and audio recorded with the microphone. AndroidLeaks examined these applications in 30 hours, which indicates that it is capable of scaling to the increasingly large set of available applications.


Private Data Android Application Native Code Privacy Leak Java Source Code 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clint Gibler
    • 1
  • Jonathan Crussell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeremy Erickson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hao Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Sandia National LabsLivermoreUSA

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