Making Distributed Mobile Applications SAFE: Enforcing User Privacy Policies on Untrusted Applications with Secure Application Flow Enforcement

08/14/2020 ∙ by Adriana Szekeres, et al. ∙ 0

Today's mobile devices sense, collect, and store huge amounts of personal information, which users share with family and friends through a wide range of applications. Once users give applications access to their data, they must implicitly trust that the apps correctly maintain data privacy. As we know from both experience and all-too-frequent press articles, that trust is often misplaced. While users do not trust applications, they do trust their mobile devices and operating systems. Unfortunately, sharing applications are not limited to mobile clients but must also run on cloud services to share data between users. In this paper, we leverage the trust that users have in their mobile OSes to vet cloud services. To do so, we define a new Secure Application Flow Enforcement (SAFE) framework, which requires cloud services to attest to a system stack that will enforce policies provided by the mobile OS for user data. We implement a mobile OS that enforces SAFE policies on unmodified mobile apps and two systems for enforcing policies on untrusted cloud services. Using these prototypes, we demonstrate that it is possible to enforce existing user privacy policies on unmodified applications.

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