Android Security Permissions - Can we trust them?

Clemens Orthacker*, Peter Teufl, Stefan Kraxberger, Günther Lackner, Michael Gissing, Alexander Marsalek, Johannes Leibetseder, Oliver Prevenhueber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


The popularity of the Android System in combination with the lax market approval process may attract the injection of malicious applications (apps) into the market. Android features a permission system allowing a user to review the permissions an app requests and grant or deny access to resources prior to installation. This system conveys a level of trust due to the fact that an app only has access to resources granted by the stated permissions. Thereby, not only the meaning of single permissions, but especially their combination plays an important role for understanding the possible implications. In this paper we present a method that circumvents the permission system by spreading permissions over two or more apps that communicate with each other via arbitrary communication channels. We discuss relevant details of the Android system, describe the permission spreading process, possible implications and countermeasures. Furthermore, we present three apps that demonstrate the problem and a possible detection method.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecurity and Privacy in Mobile Information and Communication Systems - Third International ICST Conference, MobiSec 2011, Revised Selected Papers
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2012
Event3rd ICST Conference on Security and Privacy for Mobile Information and Communication Systems, MobiSec 2011 - Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 17 May 201119 May 2011

Publication series

NameLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering
Volume94 LNICST
ISSN (Print)1867-8211


Conference3rd ICST Conference on Security and Privacy for Mobile Information and Communication Systems, MobiSec 2011


  • Android Malware
  • Android Market
  • Android Services
  • Backdoors
  • Permission Context
  • Security Permissions
  • Side Channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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