Haoyu Wang, Yuanchun Li, Yao Guo, Yuvraj Agarwal, and Jason I. Hong


ACM Transactions on Information Systems (ACM TOIS)


June 2017


Mobile apps frequently request access to sensitive data, such as location and contacts. Understanding the purpose of why sensitive data is accessed could help improve privacy as well as enable new kinds of access control. In this article, we propose a text mining based method to infer the purpose of sensitive data access by Android apps. The key idea we propose is to extract multiple features from app code and then use those features to train a machine learning classifier for purpose inference.We present the design, implementation, and evaluation of two complementary approaches to infer the purpose of permission use, first using purely static analysis, and then using primarily dynamic analysis. We also discuss the pros and cons of both approaches and the trade-offs involved.

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