Value-Based Information Flow Tracking in Software Packages

Tech ID: 29155 / UC Case 2018-176-0


A collaboration between UCLA and Rutgers have developed a novel information flow tracking technique to detect potential data leaks in mobile devices.


Mobile devices have a variety of sensors that enable a wide range of useful applications from step tracking to providing point of care medical services. As their integration into daily life and capabilities increase, it becomes important that information from theses sensors do not get leaked to outside parties. Information flow tracking (IFT) can be used to detect these leaks by monitoring data flow from a sensor to see if it reaches an outlet such as a network socket, a file, or a message shared with another app. Different IFT techniques exist, but they suffer from several usability and precision issues that have hindered their adoption.


A collaboration between the departments of electrical engineering and computer science at UCLA and Rutgers have developed a novel information flow tracking technique (IFT), called METRON, to detect potential data leaks from apps on mobile devices. The innovative way in which METRON detects data leaks allows it to maintain the same accuracy as state of the art IFT techniques while overcoming the problems that they currently face. METRON does not require any modification to the operating system or to the app of interest. It can be run on current Android platforms, whereas current techniques have yet to do so. Most importantly, METRON can report more detailed operation histories of potentially leaked data than the vague leakage reports of current IFT’s, while using less memory and computational power.


  • Mobile and software security analysis
  • Privacy protection on mobile devices
  • Data flow analysis for bug detection


  • Better accuracy at detecting data leaks than current IFT’s
  • Provides more detailed leakage reports 
  • Uses less memory and computational power
  • Simple to use: can be used without having to modify the operating system or the apps of interest
  • Can be used on current Android and iOS platforms

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20200293682 09/17/2020 2018-176


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  • Srivastava, Mani B.

Other Information


Mobile, mobile devices, Android, iOS, Google, Apple, security, mobile apps, privacy protection, information flow technology, data leakage

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