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Seminar:  Analyzing the Privacy and Security Behaviors of Smartphone Apps

Date:April 22, 2013 
Talk Title:Analyzing the Privacy and Security Behaviors of Smartphone Apps
Speaker:Jason Hong
Time & Location:12:00pm - 1:00pm
CIC Building, Pittsburgh


In 2013, smartphones were close to 40% of all phones sold worldwide. App markets have also proven to be popular, with well over 40 billion apps downloaded as of January 2013 for both iOS and Android (80 billion total). However, many smartphone apps are also overly intrusive, gathering a great deal of personal information about individuals, including location, unique phone ID, contacts list, and more.

In this talk, I discuss two works in progress that my colleagues and I are investigating in analyzing the privacy and security behaviors of apps. The first thread is a large-scale analysis of 100k apps, combining static analysis with crowdsourcing to find unusual behaviors of apps. The second thread is an interactive tool that helps analysts visualize and understand the behavior of apps faster, through the use of visualizations, heuristics, and crowdsourcing techniques.

Speaker Bio

Jason Hong is an associate professor in the Human Computer Interaction Institute, part of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He works in the areas of ubiquitous computing and usable privacy and security. He is also an author of the book The Design of Sites, a popular book on web design using web design patterns. Jason is also a co-founder of Wombat Security Technologies, which focuses on the human side of computer security. Jason received his PhD from Berkeley and his undergraduate degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jason is also an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.


Ph.D. (Computer Science) 2005, University of California at Berkeley
B.S. (Discrete Mathematics, Computer Science) 1997, Georgia Institute of Technology