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Quantitative bounds on the security-critical resource consumption of JavaScript apps

Current resource policies for mobile phone apps are based on permissions that unconditionally grant or deny access to a resource like private data, sensors and services. In reality, the legitimacy of an access may be context-dependent - for example, depending on how often a resource is accessed and in which situation. This thesis presents research into providing bounds on the access of JavaScript apps to security and privacy-relevant resources on mobile devices. The investigated bounds are quantitative and interaction-dependent: for example, permitting one access each time the user presses a specified button. Two novel systems are presented with different approaches to providing these bounds. The system PhoneWrap injects a quantitative policy into an app and enforces the bound dynamically during runtime by monitoring the resource consumption and the user interaction. If the injected bound is exceeded, the resource request is replaced by a deny action. This way, PhoneWrap restricts the unwanted behaviour while the expected functionality can be performed. Policies for this system describe the UI elements which trigger the expected resource consumption and the number of resource units consumed for each interaction. The enforcement of the policies is achieved via wrapping the critical APIs using JavaScript internal features. The injection of a policy can be performed automatically. PhoneWrap is the first system using the lightweight wrapping method to inject policies directly into mobile apps and the first to combine quantitative policies with interaction-dependencies. The second system AmorJiSe statically analyses the resource consumption of a given JavaScript program. This system automatically infers amortised annotations on top of given JavaScript data types. The amortised annotations symbolise reserved resource units stored in the data structures. This way the amount of resource units available to the app is expressed dependent on the size of the data structures. The resulting function types of the UI handlers can be used to extract interaction-dependent bounds. The correctness of these bounds is proven in relation to a resource-aware operational semantics. AmorJiSe extends the known amortised type paradigm to JavaScript with its dynamic object structures and applies this paradigm to the novel domain of mobile resources. Although, the two systems are based on similar resource models and produce similar resource bounds, they use different methods with different properties which are presented in this dissertation.
Date January 2016
CreatorsFranzen, Daniel
ContributorsAspinall, David ; Stark, Ian
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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