Security

User-Driven Access Control: Rethinking Permission Granting in Modern Operating Systems

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Executive Summary

Modern client platforms, such as iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and web browsers, run each application in an isolated environment with limited privileges. A pressing open problem in such systems is how to allow users to grant applications access to user-owned resources, e.g., to privacy- and cost-sensitive devices like the camera or to user data residing in other applications. A key challenge is to enable such access in a way that is non-disruptive to users while still maintaining least-privilege restrictions on applications. In this paper, the authors take the approach of user-driven access control, whereby permission granting is built into existing user actions in the context of an application, rather than added as an afterthought via manifests or system prompts.

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