A CleanRoom approach to bring your own apps

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Goel, Deepak

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Today, on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, hundreds of thousands of software apps provide useful services to users. Users use these apps to search and browse the web, perform financial transactions, emailing, among other functions. Besides, these apps use cloud services which gives the users the flexibility to access them from anywhere and from any device. Because of the rich functionality of these apps and ease of use of mobile devices, users (employees) often want to use their devices and preferred apps at their workplace. However, these apps not only pose risk to user's private data but also to enterprise data, when users use them within an enterprise network. For one thing, these apps come from hundreds and thousands of different app publishers, where all of them may not be trustworthy. Second, apps often need user's private data such as location, contact list, photos among others and use remote cloud to carry out their operations. In the process apps may leak a user's private or enterprise confidential data to a third party. Current practices to prevent such leaks through user enabled app permissions fall short because often user does not understand these permissions. Besides, even if a company's "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) policies mitigate the risk of device compromise with enterprise-approved password policies, remote wipe capabilities, and OS security upgrade policies, the apps on those devices pose their own risks. This thesis presents CleanRoom, a new app platform that prevents apps from leaking the data entrusted to them. It does not rely on users to make good decisions about Privacy, and enables enterprises to allow its employees to use their own devices and bring their preferred apps to work.


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