Towards a Systematic Study of the Covert Channel Attacks in Smartphones

  • Swarup ChandraEmail author
  • Zhiqiang Lin
  • Ashish Kundu
  • Latifur Khan
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 152)


Recently, there is a great attention on the smartphones security and privacy due to their increasing number of users and wide range of apps. Mobile operating systems such as Android, provide mechanisms for data protection by restricting the communication between apps within the device. However, malicious apps can still overcome such restrictions via various means such as exploiting the software vulnerability in systems or using covert channels for data transferring. In this paper, we aim to systematically analyze various resources available on Android for the possible use of covert channels between two malicious apps. From our systematized analysis, we identify two new hardware resources, namely battery and phone call, that can also be used as covert channels. We also find new features to enrich the existing approaches for better covert channel such as using the audio volume and screen brightness. Our experimental results show that high throughput data transmission can be achieved using these resources for the covert channel attacks.


Android Covert Channel Mobile Security 



We thank anonymous reviewers for their invaluable feedback. This research was partially supported by The Air Force Office of Scientific Research under Award No. FA-9550-12-1-0077. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.


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Copyright information

© Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swarup Chandra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhiqiang Lin
    • 1
  • Ashish Kundu
    • 2
  • Latifur Khan
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA
  2. 2.IBM T J Watson Research CenterYorktown HeightsUSA

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