Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Software protecting against unregulated collection and sharing of app usage behaviors

Technology #6742

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Categories
Researchers
Kang Geun Shin
Managed By
Drew Bennett
Associate Director - Software Licensing 734-615-4004
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Usage behaviors of different smartphone apps capture different views of an individual’s life, and are largely independent of each other. However, in the current mobile app ecosystem, a curious party can covertly link and aggregate usage behaviors of the same user across different apps. In this invention, they present a method of monitoring, characterizing and reducing the underlying linkability across apps.

Effective in reducing the undesired linkability across apps

The LinkDroid, developed by the inventors, provide runtime monitoring and mediation of linkability across different apps. By tracking app level linkability during runtime, the software can find the apps abusing IPCs and OS-level identifying information to establish linkability. Then, it can provide a linkability-aware extension to current mobile operating systems. LinkDroid is a client-side solution and compatible with the existing smartphone ecosystem. It helps end-users “sense” this emerging threat and provides them intuitive opt-out options.

Application

  • Smartphones

Advantages

  • Effective in reducing the undesired linkability across apps
  • Compatible with the existing smartphone ecosystem
  • Marginal overhead