The academic review process in one example

The academic peer review process can often be frustrating --- not only for junior members of the research community. In this blog post, in the name of full transparency, I walk through a particular example of a process that took nearly 3 years from start to final publication. The main lessons are that iterations help the quality of a paper, and that persistence can pay off (but no guarantees).

The Android Platform Security Model

Android is the most widely deployed end-user focused operating system. With its growing set of use cases encompassing communication, navigation, media consumption, entertainment, finance, health, and access to sensors, actuators, cameras, or …

Android security trade-offs 2: Lock states

Android has different types of lock states. This post summarizes what they are, what their purpose is, and how the interact.

The Android Platform Security Model (and the security status of actual devices)

Android defines not only an operating system / platform, but a complete ecosystem with more form factors than just smart phones. In this talk, we will look at the Android ecosystem mostly for mobile devices as well as security goals the platform … Towards a Transparent Database of Android Device Security Attributes

Migrating a GadgetBridge installation to a new device

GadgetBridge for Android allows syncing locally with various wearable devices such as wristbands and watches. As they are typically connected through Bluetooth (LE), migration to a new device - or after reinstalling GadgetBridge on the same device - often invalidates the connection. This is a summary of how previous database history can be migrated to such a new installation.

Android Security: Taming the Complex Ecosystem

Android Security: Taming the Complex Ecosystem

The Android ecosystem is immense, represents a diverse manifold of use cases and participants, and is therefore highly complex. At the same time, Android primarily targets end-users and acts as the gateway to digital services for a majority of often …

Android security trade-offs 1: Root access

Android security trade-offs: Rooting “Rooting” has been part of the Android ecosystem pretty much since its creation. Within the context of this blog post, I define rooting as a method to disable standard sandboxing mechanisms for particular processes, which is a superset of Nick Kralevich’s earlier definition because many posts mix up the intentional, user-driven root access with exploitation of vulnerabilities. In this post I mean granting select apps and their processes the “root” privilege, which entitles them to ignore access control mechanisms on the system and kernel levels.

Android security trade-offs 0: Ecosystem complexity

Android security trade-offs The Android ecosystem is highly diverse, complex, and has many different stakeholders typically not visible in the limelight. Consequently, making decisions about features in the platform itself — what we call AOSP (Android Open Source Project) — is hard, and often in surprising ways. Over a year and a half ago, I came to Google as the new Director of Android Platform Security. Even though my research group had been working on Android security for over 7 years, many of those complexities were completely new to me.

Insider Attack Resistance in the Android Ecosystem

The threat model for a mobile device ecosystem is complex. In addition to the obvious physical attacks on lost or stolen devices and malicious code threats, typical mobile devices integrate a significant amount of code from different organizations …


[Finished] Enabling IPv6 address privacy on Android devices.

Josef Ressel Center u'smile

[Finished Sept. 2017] Research Center for User-friendly Secure Mobile Environments

Malware report for

Executive summary is seemingly an iOS and Android library/SDK to bundle with other apps. It is a special form of malware typically referred to as spyware, and is even worse than the typical advertiser network libraries that include in-app advertisments during use. Therefore, do not include this library/SDK in your app if you want to retain a decent reputation with users. How I know about it As with so many advertiser networks, I was totally unaware of appjolt.

Android Exploit Framework

[Finished] Android on-device permanent root exploit framework

IPsec/L2TP gateway for Android and iPhone clients on OpenWRT

How to set up an OpenWRT router/gateway as an IPsec/L2TP gateway for Andoid and iPhone clients The only “reasonable” (that is, not counting PPTP due to its known security issues) VPN protocol supported by default on non-rooted / non-jailbroken Android / iPhone phones as clients is the combination of IPsec and L2TP. Most probably, this was chosen due to its out-of-the-box support by newer Windows clients and MacOS/X as well.

Private Notes

[Finished] Cross-platform end-to-end encrypted note-taking app

Howto create a Debian chroot on an Android phone

Howto create a Debian chroot on an Android phone (HTC Desire and Motorola Milestone) This page will grow once I have everything running, but this is a starting point:… [HTC Desire, unbranded, European version]: Flashed (pre-rooted and with busybox included) firmware from…, taking file On a Debian squeeze (amd64, but with i386 it will be similar) box: sudo apt-get install debchroot qemu-user Download qemu-arm-static from (and its dependency) to get the build-arm-chroot script dd if=/dev/zero of=debian.