Automated Android application permission recommendation

Lingfeng Bao, David Lo, Xin Xia, Shanping Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The number of Android applications has increased rapidly as Android is becoming the dominant platform in the smartphone market. Security and privacy are key factors for an Android application to be successful. Android provides a permission mechanism to ensure security and privacy. This permission mechanism requires that developers declare the sensitive resources required by their applications. On installation or during runtime, users are required to agree with the permission request. However, in practice, there are numerous popular permission misuses, despite Android introducing official documents stating how to use these permissions properly. Some data mining techniques (e.g., association rule mining) have been proposed to help better recommend permissions required by an API. In this paper, based on popular techniques used to build recommendation systems, we propose two novel approaches to improve the effectiveness of the prior work. The first approach utilizes a collaborative filtering technique, which is inspired by the intuition that apps that have similar features — inferred from their APIs — usually share similar permissions. The second approach recommends permissions based on a text mining technique that uses a naive Bayes multinomial classification algorithm to build a prediction model by analyzing descriptions of apps. To evaluate these two approaches, we use 936 Android apps from F-Droid, which is a repository of free and open source Android applications. We find that our proposed approaches yield a significant improvement in terms of precision, recall, F1-score, and MAP of the top-k results over the baseline approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number092110
Number of pages17
JournalScience China Information Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Android
  • association rule
  • collaborative filtering
  • permission recommendation
  • text mining

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