Investigation of privacy issues in advertisement libraries for mobile apps

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Investigation of privacy issues in advertisement libraries for mobile apps


Author: Wang, Haixu
Title: Investigation of privacy issues in advertisement libraries for mobile apps
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2017
Subject: Smartphones -- Security measures.
Mobile computing -- Security measures.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Computing
Pages: viii, 62 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: While more and more people are paying their attention to the smart phone instead of the computer, smart phones have played a more important role than the computer does nowadays. In the market, the android operation system has taken up 76.4% of the entire smart phone OS sales. Android operation system can sometimes give away consumers' information to the company to meet the demands of their advertisements. Most of the third-party libraries steal private information without the consciousness of both of the developer and the user. Therefore, looking for methods for preventing privacy from disclosure becomes more meaningful. Ad libraries are usually embedded on the ordinary apps for developers to monetize their works. This makes them more sensitive. In this research, we not only introduce the advertisement ecosystem in China but also disclose the most dangerous ways that the private information is being used in the underground market. Then we select and analyze 10 domain advertisement libraries in China by decompiling, sniffing and testing them. Based on the previous work, we not only judge if they post the privacy maliciously, but also give a method to the user to avoid suffering from the information leakage. We analyze the permissions and the APIs used in the source code, and collect the network traffic generated by the app to see if the SDK is benign or not. In addition, we also design and implement a test by creating five characters to see to what extent the advertisement SDKs target the user by the personas. At last, we give our advice to avoid suffering this kind of threat.

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