Crowdsourcing Network and Traffic Measurements to Illuminate the Mobile Ecosystem
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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) mobile apps 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 mobile tools to characterize the behavior of mobile networks and mobile apps. Netalyzr for Android and Lumen are two user-friendly tools developed by ICSI that can imultaneously provide a valuable service to users and rich crowd-sourced data to reserachers. The talk will demonstrate its utility to researchers and average users alike by providing case studies on middlebox detection and characterization, mobile traffic characterization, identification of privacy and security risks inflicted by mobile apps, and network performance measurements.