Xiao Zhang, Amit Ahlawat, Wenliang Du; AFrame: Isolating Advertisements From Mobile Applications in Android; In Proceedings of Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC); 2013-12-09; 10 pages.
Android uses a permission-based security model to restrict applications from accessing private data and privileged resources. However, the permissions are assigned at the application level, so even untrusted third-party libraries, such as advertisement, once incorporated, can share the same privileges as the entire application, leading to over-privileged problems.
We present AFrame, a developer friendly method to isolate untrusted third-party code from the host applications. The isolation achieved by AFrame covers not only the process/permission isolation, but also the display and input isolation. Our AFrame framework is implemented through a minimal change to the existing Android code base; our evaluation results demonstrate that it is effective in isolating the privileges of untrusted third-party code from applications with reasonable performance overhead.