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Architecture Modeling and Analysis of Security in Android Systems

Bradley Schmerl, Jeffrey Gennari, Alireza Sadeghi, Hamid Bagheri, Sam Malek, Javier Cámara and David Garlan.

In Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Software Architecture (ECSA 2016), Vol. 9839 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, Copenhagen, Denmark, 30 November - 2 December 2016.

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Software architecture modeling is important for analyzing system quality attributes, particularly security. However, such analyses often assume that the architecture is completely known in advance. In many modern domains, especially those that use plugin-based frameworks, it is not possible to have such a complete model because the software system continuously changes. The Android mobile operating system is one such framework, where users can install and uninstall apps at run time. We need ways to model and analyze such architectures that strike a balance between supporting the dynamism of the underlying platforms and enabling analysis, particularly throughout a system�s lifetime. In this paper, we describe a formal architecture style that captures the modifiable architectures of Android systems, and that supports security analysis as a system evolves. We illustrate the use of the style with two security analyses: a predicatebased approach defined over architectural structure that can detect some common security vulnerabilities, and inter-app permission leakage determined by model checking. We also show how the evolving architecture of an Android device can be obtained by analysis of the apps on a device, and provide some performance evaluation that indicates that the architecture can be amenable for use throughout the system�s lifetime.

Keywords: Acme, Architectural Analysis, Architectural Style, Science of Security.  
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