CSC News

May 11, 2017

Enck Earns Distinguished Paper Award at ASIACCS

Dr. William Enck, associate professor of Computer Science in the NC State Computer Science Department, is among a group of researchers who recently won a Distinguished Paper Award at the ACM Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ASIACCS) held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, April 2-6, 2017.  The paper’s co-authors include Ruowen Wang, a PhD alumnus from the NC State Computer Science Department, Ninghui Li, professor of Computer Science at Purdue University, and Ahmed Azab, Peng Ning, Xun Chen, Wenbo Shen and Yueqiang Cheng from Samsung Research America.
The paper is titled "SPOKE:  Scalable Knowledge Collection and Attack Surface Analysis of Access Control Policy for Security Enhanced Android”.
Abstract:  SEAndroid is a mandatory access control (MAC) framework that can confine faulty applications on Android. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of SEAndroid enforcement depends on the employed policy. The growing complexity of Android makes it difficult for policy engineers to have complete domain knowledge on every system’s functionality. As a result, policy engineers sometimes craft over-permissive and ineffective policy rules, which unfortunately increased the attack surface of the Android system and have allowed multiple real-world privilege escalation attacks. We propose SPOKE, a SEAndroid Policy Knowledge Engine, that systematically extracts domain knowledge from rich-semantic functional tests and further uses the knowledge for characterizing the attack surface of SEAndroid policy rules. Our attack surface analysis is achieved by two steps: 1) It reveals policy rules that cannot be justified by the collected domain knowledge. 2) It identifies potentially over-permissive access patterns allowed by those unjustified rules as the attack surface.
We evaluate SPOKE using 665 functional tests targeting 28 different categories of functionalities developed by Samsung Android Team. SPOKE successfully collected 12,491 access patterns for the 28 categories as domain knowledge, and used the knowledge to reveal 320 unjustified policy rules and 210 over-permissive access patterns defined by those rules, including one related to the notorious libstagefright vulnerability. These findings have been confirmed by policy engineers.
To read the award-winning paper, click here.
Building on the success of ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), the ACM Special Interest Group on Security, Audit, and Control (SIGSAC) formally established the annual ACM Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ASIACCS). The inaugural ASIACCS was held in Taipei (2006). Since then ASIACCS has been held in Singapore (2007), Tokyo (2008), Sydney (2009), Beijing (2010), Hong Kong (2011), Seoul (2012), Hangzhou (2013), Kyoto (2014), Singapore (2015), and Xi'an (2016).  


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