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Denial-of-App Attack: Inhibiting the Installation of Android Apps on Stock Phones

Arzt, Steven and Huber, Stephan and Rasthofer, Siegfried and Bodden, Eric (2014):
Denial-of-App Attack: Inhibiting the Installation of Android Apps on Stock Phones.
In: 4th ACM Workshop on Security and Privacy in Smartphones & Mobile Devices, Scottsdale, In: Proceedings of the 4th ACM Workshop on Security and Privacy in Smartphones & Mobile Devices, [Conference or Workshop Item]

Abstract

We describe a novel class of attacks called denial-of-app that allows adversaries to inhibit the future installation of attacker-selected applications on mobile phones. Adversaries can use such attacks to entrap users into installing attacker-preferred applications, for instance to generate additional revenue from advertisements on a competitive app market or to increase the rate of malware installation. Another possibility is to block anti-virus applications or security workarounds to complicate malware detection and removal.

We demonstrate such an attack that works on arbitrary unmodified stock Android phones. It is even possible to block many applications from a list predefined by the attacker instead of just a single app. Even more, we propose an attack for banning applications from Google Play Store regardless of the user's phone by exploiting similar vulnerabilities in the market's app vetting process. Unblocking an application blocked by our attack requires either root privileges or a complete device reset. The Android security team has confirmed and fixed the vulnerability in Android 4.4.3 (bug 13416059) and has given consent to this publication within a responsible-disclosure process. To the best of our knowledge, the attack applies to all versions prior to Android 4.4.3.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Erschienen: 2014
Creators: Arzt, Steven and Huber, Stephan and Rasthofer, Siegfried and Bodden, Eric
Title: Denial-of-App Attack: Inhibiting the Installation of Android Apps on Stock Phones
Language: English
Abstract:

We describe a novel class of attacks called denial-of-app that allows adversaries to inhibit the future installation of attacker-selected applications on mobile phones. Adversaries can use such attacks to entrap users into installing attacker-preferred applications, for instance to generate additional revenue from advertisements on a competitive app market or to increase the rate of malware installation. Another possibility is to block anti-virus applications or security workarounds to complicate malware detection and removal.

We demonstrate such an attack that works on arbitrary unmodified stock Android phones. It is even possible to block many applications from a list predefined by the attacker instead of just a single app. Even more, we propose an attack for banning applications from Google Play Store regardless of the user's phone by exploiting similar vulnerabilities in the market's app vetting process. Unblocking an application blocked by our attack requires either root privileges or a complete device reset. The Android security team has confirmed and fixed the vulnerability in Android 4.4.3 (bug 13416059) and has given consent to this publication within a responsible-disclosure process. To the best of our knowledge, the attack applies to all versions prior to Android 4.4.3.

Series Name: Proceedings of the 4th ACM Workshop on Security and Privacy in Smartphones & Mobile Devices
Divisions: LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren > CASED – Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt
20 Department of Computer Science > EC SPRIDE
20 Department of Computer Science > EC SPRIDE > Secure Software Engineering
Zentrale Einrichtungen
LOEWE
20 Department of Computer Science
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren
Event Title: 4th ACM Workshop on Security and Privacy in Smartphones & Mobile Devices
Event Location: Scottsdale
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2014 14:17
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