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Niu, Yingjiao, Lei, Lingguang, Wang, Yuewu, Chang, Jiang, Jia, Shijie, Kou, Chunjing.  2020.  SASAK: Shrinking the Attack Surface for Android Kernel with Stricter “seccomp” Restrictions. 2020 16th International Conference on Mobility, Sensing and Networking (MSN). :387–394.
The increasing vulnerabilities in Android kernel make it an attractive target to the attackers. Most kernel-targeted attacks are initiated through system calls. For security purpose, Google has introduced a Linux kernel security mechanism named “seccomp” since Android O to constrain the system calls accessible to the Android apps. Unfortunately, existing Android seccomp mechanism provides a fairly coarse-grained restriction by enforcing a unified seccomp policy containing more than 250 system calls for Android apps, which greatly reduces the effectiveness of seccomp. Also, it lacks an approach to profile the unnecessary system calls for a given Android app. In this paper we present a two-level control scheme named SASAK, which can shrink the attack surface of Android kernel by strictly constraining the system calls available to the Android apps with seccomp mechanism. First, instead of leveraging a unified seccomp policy for all Android apps, SASAK introduces an architecture- dedicated system call constraining by enforcing two separate and refined seccomp policies for the 32-bit Android apps and 64-bit Android apps, respectively. Second, we provide a tool to profile the necessary system calls for a given Android app and enforce an app-dedicated seccomp policy to further reduce the allowed system calls for the apps selected by the users. The app-dedicated control could dynamically change the seccomp policy for an app according to its actual needs. We implement a prototype of SASAK and the experiment results show that the architecture-dedicated constraining reduces 39.6% system calls for the 64-bit apps and 42.5% system calls for the 32-bit apps. 33% of the removed system calls for the 64-bit apps are vulnerable, and the number for the 32-bit apps is 18.8%. The app-dedicated restriction reduces about 66.9% and 62.5% system calls on average for the 64-bit apps and 32-bit apps, respectively. In addition, SASAK introduces negligible performance overhead.