Project Title: Investigating Users Perceptions and Understanding to Android Broadcast Receivers

Faculty Sponsor: Fadi Mohsen

Department: Computer Science

Telephone: 810.762.3423

E-Mail: mohsenf@umflint.edu

Project Description: An Android application is composed of one or more of the following components: activity, service, content provider, and broadcast receiver. The Broadcast receivers are used as a mean of communication between app’s components, between different apps, and between the OS and apps. The later enables applications to register for system events or actions (e.g. receive call, receive message). Once an event occurs, Android run-time notifies all applications that have a registered receivers of that particular action. The Android system delivers numerous broadcasts for system events, such as when an Internet connection is enabled or a new SMS arrives. While Broadcast receivers are considered a useful feature by developers, users' experiences and privacy might be affected negatively by them. They provide hackers with the ability to orchestrate their attacks and link them with the events that are happening on the mobile device. Our preliminary investigation resulted in proving that with the help of Broadcast receivers, the location privacy of users could be compromised, moreover, we found out that the usage of Broadcast receivers by malicious applications is remarkably higher than benign applications. The purpose of this project is to study developers and users perceptions and understanding to Android Broadcast receivers. The project involves conducting literature review, building Android applications and placing them on the online markets, and conducting user studies.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities:  

  • Conducting literature reviews and summarizing the results.
  • Writing code.
  • Recruiting participants for the user studies.
  • Collecting and analyzing mobile apps samples.

Minimum Student Qualifications: 

  • Programming skills to analyze XML and text files.
  • Android application development skills.
  • Communication skills to recruit users.
  • Technical writing skills.