ProfileDroid: Multi-layer profiling of android applications

Xuetao Wei, Lorenzo Gomez, Iulian Neamtiu, Michalis Faloutsos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

166 Scopus citations


The Android platform lacks tools for assessing and monitoring apps in a systematic way. This lack of tools is particularly problematic when combined with the open nature of Google Play, the main app distribution channel. As our key contribution, we design and implement ProfileDroid, a comprehensive, multi-layer system for monitoring and pro-filing apps. Our approach is arguably the first to profile apps at four layers: (a) static, or app specification, (b) user interaction, (c) operating system, and (d) network. We evaluate 27 free and paid Android apps and make several observations: (a) we identify discrepancies between the app speci-fication and app execution, (b) free versions of apps could end up costing more than their paid counterparts, due to an order of magnitude increase in trafic, (c) most network trafic is not encrypted, (d) apps communicate with many more sources than users might expect|as many as 13, and (e) we find that 22 out of 27 apps communicate with Google during execution. ProfileDroid is the first step towards a systematic approach for (a) generating cost-effective but comprehensive app profiles, and (b) identifying inconsistencies and surprising behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobiCom'12 - Proceedings of the 18th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event18th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2012 - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: Aug 22 2012Aug 26 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM


Other18th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Android apps
  • Google android
  • Monitoring
  • Profiling
  • System


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