recommended reading

Are FBI's Android data-sharing apps hacker-proof?

Flickr user saadirfan

The FBI plans to tap George Mason University scientists to perform tests on the law enforcement agency's Android mobile applications to see if they are hacker-proof, a notice of intent reveals.

The bureau will match funding provided by the military venture capital arm, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to help tailor testing systems to the FBI's specific needs.

With DARPA money, researchers in the GMU computer science department have been working on a systematic approach to carrying out fuzzing attacks – the feeding of unexpected data into a computer program as a form of brute-force exploitation. Last year, Regina Dugan, then-director of DARPA, announced that the agency was interested in supporting offensive cyber capabilities.

Fuzz testing apps so far have lacked sophisticated or guided techniques, according to a paper outlining the DARPA-funded research. The scientists have been seeking to develop a “scalable approach for intelligent fuzz testing of Android applications” with the help of cloud computing. “The framework uses numerous heuristics and software analysis techniques to intelligently guide the generation of test cases aiming to boost the likelihood of discovering vulnerabilities,” the paper adds.

The team chose to focus on the Android operating system because it has one of the most widely used and vulnerable app markets. Also, because Android is an open-source platform, it is ideal for experimentation in the laboratory, the scientists said.

The goal is to create tools that test vulnerabilities in mobile apps such as those integrated with the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange and National Crime Information Center, both data-sharing tools that grant access to criminal justice records.

Under the terms of the prospective contract, the principal investigator, assistants, and students involved in the research have to be American citizens, the notice of intent states.
 

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen laptop

3.7M Hong Kong Voters' Personal Data Stolen

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.