Yifei Wang

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


Wenliang Du


Access Control;Android;Component;Computer Security;TEE

Subject Categories

Computer Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


The pervasiveness of Android devices in today’s interconnected world emphasizes the importance of mobile security in protecting user privacy and digital assets. Android’s current security model primarily enforces application-level mechanisms, which fail to address component-level (e.g., Activity, Service, and Content Provider) security concerns. Consequently, third-party code may exploit an application’s permissions, and security features like MDM or BYOD face limitations in their implementation. To address these concerns, we propose a novel Android component context-aware access control mechanism that enforces layered security at multiple Exception Levels (ELs), including EL0, EL1, and EL3. This approach effectively restricts component privileges and controls resource access as needed. Our solution comprises Flasa at EL0, extending SELinux policies for inter-component interactions and SQLite content control; Compac, spanning EL0 and EL1, which enforces component-level permission controls through Android runtime and kernel modifications; and TzNfc, leveraging TrustZone technologies to secure third-party services and limit system privileges via Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). Our evaluations demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed solution in containing component privileges, controlling inter-component interactions and protecting component level resource access. This enhanced solution, complementing Android’s existing security architecture, provides a more comprehensive approach to Android security, benefiting users, developers, and the broader mobile ecosystem.


Open Access