Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Laurence D. Merkle, PhD.


Current cybersecurity best practices, techniques, tactics and procedures are insufficient to ensure the protection of Android systems. Software tools leveraging formal methods use mathematical means to assure both a design and implementation for a system and these methods can be used to provide security assurances. The goal of this research is to determine methods of assuring isolation when executing Android software in a contained environment. Specifically, this research demonstrates security properties relevant to Android software containers can be formally captured and validated, and that an implementation can be formally verified to satisfy a corresponding specification. A three-stage methodology called "The Formal Verification Cycle" is presented. This cycle focuses on the iteration over a set of security properties to validate each within a specification and their verification within a software implementation. A security property can be validated when its functional language prototype (e.g. a Haskell coded version of the property) is converted and processed by a formal method (e.g. a theorem proof assistant). This validation of the property enables the definition of the property in a software specification, which can be implemented separately in an imperative programming language (e.g. the Go programming language). Once the implementation is complete another formal method can be used (e.g. symbolic execution) to verify the imperative implementation satisfies the validated specification. Successful completion of this cycle shows a given implementation is equivalent to a functional language prototype, and this cycle assures a specification for the original desired security properties was properly implemented. This research shows an application of this cycle to develop Assured Android Execution Environments.

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