Category Archives: paper

New Haystack paper version available on arxiv!

We have uploaded a new version of our Haystack paper on arxiv!

In this new version, we discuss in more detail Haystack’s goals and its ability to conduct real-world mobile measurements at scale from the device. Haystack’s design allows it to be flexible enough to measure aspects beyond privacy leaks and basic traffic characterization.

As we explain the paper, thanks to the data provided by our first 450 users, we could already investigate the behavior of more than 1,300 mobile apps. We have identified a surprisingly high presence of third-party services on mobile apps for tracking and advertising purposes. Likewise, we also identified interesting facts about pre-installed apps — which are typically ignored by previous research studies that rely on static and dynamic analysis. Furthermore, thanks to Haystack’s data we can explore new computing paradigms like the Internet of Things in real-world settings and IoT deployments. We invite you to take a look at the paper and let us know what you think!

If you haven’t tried Haystack yet, we also invite you to install and try our Android app. The latest version allows you to identify more than 200 analytics and ad networks and estimate how much data you’ve wasted on those activities.

We’re currently working to improve Haystack’s flow re-assembly mechanism and to provide new features. For instance, we want to adapt Haystack to perform performance measurements, allow you to filter undesired flows — as in a privacy firewall —, censorship detection and also to enable packet capture so that you can use Haystack to get pcaps on your phone.

Finally, we’re also working on adding new features to our website. In particular, we are quite excited about the release of the Haystack Analytics services.Haystack Analytics will allow anyone to obtain information about specific mobile apps and services so you learn about the behavior of a given app before installing it.

As usual, we would like to thank our users. Without their participation and help, this project would have not succeeded.