Empirical Analysis of Mobile Systems: Illuminating the Dark Side
As a society we have come to rely upon our mobile phones for myriad daily tasks. It is striking how little insight we, as mobile users and researchers, have into the operation and performance of our devices and network, into how (or whether) they protect the information we entrust to them, and with whom they share it. The research community (including the speaker) have energetically used a variety of approaches to gain empirical understanding of the mobile device/network ecosystem; however, these techniques have had to make tradeoffs that affect either the scale, scope or granularity of measurements. This talk describes how we leverage ideas from this prior work to design and develop two tools such as Netalyzr (active analysis of mobile systems) and Lumen (passive analysis of mobile traffic). Both tools are freely available on Google Play. The talk will demonstrate their utility to researchers and average users alike by providing three case studies on mobile traffic characterization, identification of privacy and security risks caused by mobile apps, and performance measurements.