AppIntent Conference Paper uri icon


  • Android phones often carry personal information, attracting malicious developers to embed code in Android applications to steal sensitive data. With known techniques in the literature, one may easily determine if sensitive data is being transmitted out of an Android phone. However, transmission of sensitive data in itself does not necessarily indicate privacy leakage; a better indicator may be whether the transmission is by user intention or not. When transmission is not intended by the user, it is more likely a privacy leakage. The problem is how to determine if transmission is user intended. As a first solution in this space, we present a new analysis framework called AppIntent. For each data transmission, AppIntent can efficiently provide a sequence of GUI manipulations corresponding to the sequence of events that lead to the data transmission, thus helping an analyst to determine if the data transmission is user intended or not. The basic idea is to use symbolic execution to generate the aforementioned event sequence, but straightforward symbolic execution proves to be too time-consuming to be practical. A major innovation in AppIntent is to leverage the unique Android execution model to reduce the search space without sacrificing code coverage. We also present an evaluation of AppIntent with a set of 750 malicious apps, as well as 1,000 top free apps from Google Play. The results show that AppIntent can effectively help separate the apps that truly leak user privacy from those that do not. 2013 ACM.

name of conference

  • Proceedings of the 2013 ACM SIGSAC conference on Computer & communications security - CCS '13

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of the 2013 ACM SIGSAC conference on Computer & communications security - CCS '13

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, Z., Yang, M., Zhang, Y., Gu, G., Ning, P., & Wang, X. S.

citation count

  • 240

complete list of authors

  • Yang, Zhemin||Yang, Min||Zhang, Yuan||Gu, Guofei||Ning, Peng||Wang, X Sean

publication date

  • January 2013