CleanOS: Mobile OS Abstractions for Managing Sensitive Data

Today’s mobile OSes, such as Android, mismanage sensitive data in a variety of ways, placing it at great risk in face of physical or software attacks. For example, OSes accumulate significant amounts of sensitive data in cleartext memory; file systems retain deleted files by not purging their contents; and applications cache sensitive data indefinitely in memory for performance or convenience. CleanOS is a new mobile operating system designed to manage sensitive data rigorously and maintain a clean environment at any point in time. CleanOS introduces a new abstraction, called a sensitive data object (SDO), which tracks sensitive data in RAM and on disk and automatically encrypts it if it’s not used for a period of time.

Related Publications

CleanOS: Limiting Mobile Data Exposure with Idle Eviction

Yang Tang, Phillip Ames, Sravan Bhamidipati, Ashish Bijlani, Roxana Geambasu, Nikhil Sarda
Proceedings of the 10th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI’12), October 2012

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Keypad: An Auditing File System for Theft-prone Devices

Roxana Geambasu, John P. John, Steven D. Gribble, Tadayoshi Kohno, Henry M. Levy
Proceedings of the European Conference on Computer Systems ({EuroSys}), April 2011

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Columbia University Department of Computer Science