Towards a Trustworthy Android Ecosystem

Yan Chen (
Northwestern University

Date and Location: Thursday, April 25th, 2013, 12:45pm - 1:45pm @ Stuart Building, Room 111.


Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular. One reason for their popularity is the availability of a wide range of third-party applications, which enrich the environment and increase usability.  There are however various concerns centered around these applications: privacy leakage, malware, etc. In this talk, I will present our recent research to secure these apps towards a more trustworthy Android ecosystem.  One representative work is Uranine, a system that instruments Android applications to detect privacy leakages in real-time. Uranine does not require any platform modification nor does it need the application source code. It includes a static analysis component to instrument only paths along which privacy leakage may happen. We designed several mechanisms to overcome challenges introduced by framework code, callback functions, etc. Our evaluation of Uranine shows that it is accurate at detecting privacy leakages while providing acceptable performance, with often unnoticeable overhead.


Dr. Yan Chen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.  He got his Ph.D. in Computer Science at University of California at Berkeley in 2003. His research interests include network security, measurement and diagnosis for large scale networks and distributed systems. He won the Department of Energy (DoE) Early CAREER award in 2005, the Department of Defense (DoD) Young Investigator Award in 2007, and the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Awards in 2004 and 2005 with his colleagues. Based on Google Scholar, his papers have been cited for over 5,200 times and his h-index is 29.