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Demetriou, Soteris, Zhang, Nan, Lee, Yeonjoon, Wang, XiaoFeng, Gunter, Carl A., Zhou, Xiaoyong, Grace, Michael.  2017.  HanGuard: SDN-driven Protection of Smart Home WiFi Devices from Malicious Mobile Apps. Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks. :122–133.
A new development of smart-home systems is to use mobile apps to control IoT devices across a Home Area Network (HAN). As verified in our study, those systems tend to rely on the Wi-Fi router to authenticate other devices. This treatment exposes them to the attack from malicious apps, particularly those running on authorized phones, which the router does not have information to control. Mitigating this threat cannot solely rely on IoT manufacturers, which may need to change the hardware on the devices to support encryption, increasing the cost of the device, or software developers who we need to trust to implement security correctly. In this work, we present a new technique to control the communication between the IoT devices and their apps in a unified, backward-compatible way. Our approach, called HanGuard, does not require any changes to the IoT devices themselves, the IoT apps or the OS of the participating phones. HanGuard uses an SDN-like approach to offer fine-grained protection: each phone runs a non-system userspace Monitor app to identify the party that attempts to access the protected IoT device and inform the router through a control plane of its access decision; the router enforces the decision on the data plane after verifying whether the phone should be allowed to talk to the device. We implemented our design over both Android and iOS (\textbackslashtextgreater 95% of mobile OS market share) and a popular router. Our study shows that HanGuard is both efficient and effective in practice.
Chen, Yi, You, Wei, Lee, Yeonjoon, Chen, Kai, Wang, XiaoFeng, Zou, Wei.  2017.  Mass Discovery of Android Traffic Imprints Through Instantiated Partial Execution. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. :815–828.
Monitoring network behaviors of mobile applications, controlling their resource access and detecting potentially harmful apps are becoming increasingly important for the security protection within today's organizational, ISP and carriers. For this purpose, apps need to be identified from their communication, based upon their individual traffic signatures (called imprints in our research). Creating imprints for a large number of apps is nontrivial, due to the challenges in comprehensively analyzing their network activities at a large scale, for millions of apps on today's rapidly-growing app marketplaces. Prior research relies on automatic exploration of an app's user interfaces (UIs) to trigger its network activities, which is less likely to scale given the cost of the operation (at least 5 minutes per app) and its effectiveness (limited coverage of an app's behaviors). In this paper, we present Tiger (Traffic Imprint Generator), a novel technique that makes comprehensive app imprint generation possible in a massive scale. At the center of Tiger is a unique instantiated slicing technique, which aggressively prunes the program slice extracted from the app's network-related code by evaluating each variable's impact on possible network invariants, and removing those unlikely to contribute through assigning them concrete values. In this way, Tiger avoids exploring a large number of program paths unrelated to the app's identifiable traffic, thereby reducing the cost of the code analysis by more than one order of magnitude, in comparison with the conventional slicing and execution approach. Our experiments show that Tiger is capable of recovering an app's full network activities within 18 seconds, achieving over 98% coverage of its identifiable packets and 0.742% false detection rate on app identification. Further running the technique on over 200,000 real-world Android apps (including 78.23% potentially harmful apps) leads to the discovery of surprising new types of traffic invariants, including fake device information, hardcoded time values, session IDs and credentials, as well as complicated trigger conditions for an app's network activities, such as human involvement, Intent trigger and server-side instructions. Our findings demonstrate that many network activities cannot easily be invoked through automatic UI exploration and code-analysis based approaches present a promising alternative.