Carter Yagemann

Carter Yagemann

Ph.D. Candidate

Georgia Institute of Technology

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute for Information Security and Privacy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where I am advised by Prof. Wenke Lee and Prof. Brendan Saltaformaggio. My research interests are in systems and software security, spanning vulnerability discovery via combined program analysis and machine learning, root cause analysis and exploit prevention, and simulation of attacks targeting financial markets.

About Awards Grants Media Patents Projects Publications Service Talks Teaching

Improved Intent Firewall Logging

Proposed Revision 1 - Improved Intent Firewall Logging


Whenever the intent firewall reads in new rules, it logs a verbose level message along the lines of:

I/IntentFirewall( 549): Read new rules (A:0 B:0 S:0)

This message contains a count of how many rules the intent firewall read separated by type (activity, broadcast, and service). This message, however, doesn't count rules which don't have intent filters such as:

<!-- block access to settings menu -->
  <activity block="true" log="false">
    <component-filter name="" />

This is a valid and useful rule, but it does not increment the rules count.


The root of the problem is that the FirewallIntentResolver class maintains two lists for rules. One for intent filters, which is inherited from the IntentResolver class, and one for component filters, which is unique to FirewallIntentResolver. When the intent firewall goes to count how many rules it has, it only checks the size of the intent filter list. This means that any rules with only a component filter will not be counted.

The solution is to have the intent firewall count both lists. One consequence of this solution is that rules that contain an intent filter and a component filter will be counted as two rules, but this is okay for now because intent filters and component filters are matched independently so they act as separate rules anyway.


The following is one example of how this change could be implemented. The following code is taken from as it appears in Android 4.4.2_r2. It has been modified in two places. Changes have been marked with "MODIFY START" and "MODIFY END" comments.

 * Copyright (C) 2013 The Android Open Source Project
 * Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
 * you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
 * You may obtain a copy of the License at
 * Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
 * distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
 * See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
 * limitations under the License.


import android.content.ComponentName;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.content.IntentFilter;
import android.os.Environment;
import android.os.FileObserver;
import android.os.Handler;
import android.os.Message;
import android.os.RemoteException;
import android.util.ArrayMap;
import android.util.Slog;
import android.util.Xml;
import org.xmlpull.v1.XmlPullParser;
import org.xmlpull.v1.XmlPullParserException;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.HashMap;
import java.util.List;

public class IntentFirewall {
    static final String TAG = "IntentFirewall";

    // e.g. /data/system/ifw or /data/secure/system/ifw
    private static final File RULES_DIR = new File(Environment.getSystemSecureDirectory(), "ifw");

    private static final int LOG_PACKAGES_MAX_LENGTH = 150;
    private static final int LOG_PACKAGES_SUFFICIENT_LENGTH = 125;

    private static final String TAG_RULES = "rules";
    private static final String TAG_ACTIVITY = "activity";
    private static final String TAG_SERVICE = "service";
    private static final String TAG_BROADCAST = "broadcast";

    private static final int TYPE_ACTIVITY = 0;
    private static final int TYPE_BROADCAST = 1;
    private static final int TYPE_SERVICE = 2;

    private static final HashMap<String, FilterFactory> factoryMap;

    private final AMSInterface mAms;

    private final RuleObserver mObserver;

    private FirewallIntentResolver mActivityResolver = new FirewallIntentResolver();
    private FirewallIntentResolver mBroadcastResolver = new FirewallIntentResolver();
    private FirewallIntentResolver mServiceResolver = new FirewallIntentResolver();

    static {
        FilterFactory[] factories = new FilterFactory[] {



        // load factor ~= .75
        factoryMap = new HashMap<String, FilterFactory>(factories.length * 4 / 3);
        for (int i=0; i<factories.length; i++) {
            FilterFactory factory = factories[i];
            factoryMap.put(factory.getTagName(), factory);

    public IntentFirewall(AMSInterface ams) {
        mAms = ams;
        File rulesDir = getRulesDir();


        mObserver = new RuleObserver(rulesDir);

     * This is called from ActivityManager to check if a start activity intent should be allowed.
     * It is assumed the caller is already holding the global ActivityManagerService lock.
    public boolean checkStartActivity(Intent intent, int callerUid, int callerPid,
            String resolvedType, ApplicationInfo resolvedApp) {
        return checkIntent(mActivityResolver, intent.getComponent(), TYPE_ACTIVITY, intent,
                callerUid, callerPid, resolvedType, resolvedApp.uid);

    public boolean checkService(ComponentName resolvedService, Intent intent, int callerUid,
            int callerPid, String resolvedType, ApplicationInfo resolvedApp) {
        return checkIntent(mServiceResolver, resolvedService, TYPE_SERVICE, intent, callerUid,
                callerPid, resolvedType, resolvedApp.uid);

    public boolean checkBroadcast(Intent intent, int callerUid, int callerPid,
            String resolvedType, int receivingUid) {
        return checkIntent(mBroadcastResolver, intent.getComponent(), TYPE_BROADCAST, intent,
                callerUid, callerPid, resolvedType, receivingUid);

    public boolean checkIntent(FirewallIntentResolver resolver, ComponentName resolvedComponent,
            int intentType, Intent intent, int callerUid, int callerPid, String resolvedType,
            int receivingUid) {
        boolean log = false;
        boolean block = false;

        // For the first pass, find all the rules that have at least one intent-filter or
        // component-filter that matches this intent
        List<Rule> candidateRules;
        candidateRules = resolver.queryIntent(intent, resolvedType, false, 0);
        if (candidateRules == null) {
            candidateRules = new ArrayList<Rule>();
        resolver.queryByComponent(resolvedComponent, candidateRules);

        // For the second pass, try to match the potentially more specific conditions in each
        // rule against the intent
        for (int i=0; i<candidateRules.size(); i++) {
            Rule rule = candidateRules.get(i);
            if (rule.matches(this, resolvedComponent, intent, callerUid, callerPid, resolvedType,
                    receivingUid)) {
                block |= rule.getBlock();
                log |= rule.getLog();

                // if we've already determined that we should both block and log, there's no need
                // to continue trying rules
                if (block && log) {

        if (log) {
            logIntent(intentType, intent, callerUid, resolvedType);

        return !block;

    private static void logIntent(int intentType, Intent intent, int callerUid,
            String resolvedType) {
        // The component shouldn't be null, but let's double check just to be safe
        ComponentName cn = intent.getComponent();
        String shortComponent = null;
        if (cn != null) {
            shortComponent = cn.flattenToShortString();

        String callerPackages = null;
        int callerPackageCount = 0;
        IPackageManager pm = AppGlobals.getPackageManager();
        if (pm != null) {
            try {
                String[] callerPackagesArray = pm.getPackagesForUid(callerUid);
                if (callerPackagesArray != null) {
                    callerPackageCount = callerPackagesArray.length;
                    callerPackages = joinPackages(callerPackagesArray);
            } catch (RemoteException ex) {
                Slog.e(TAG, "Remote exception while retrieving packages", ex);

        EventLogTags.writeIfwIntentMatched(intentType, shortComponent, callerUid,
                callerPackageCount, callerPackages, intent.getAction(), resolvedType,
                intent.getDataString(), intent.getFlags());

     * Joins a list of package names such that the resulting string is no more than
     * Only full package names will be added to the result, unless every package is longer than the
     * limit, in which case one of the packages will be truncated and added. In this case, an
     * additional '-' character will be added to the end of the string, to denote the truncation.
     * If it encounters a package that won't fit in the remaining space, it will continue on to the
     * next package, unless the total length of the built string so far is greater than
     * LOG_PACKAGES_SUFFICIENT_LENGTH, in which case it will stop and return what it has.
    private static String joinPackages(String[] packages) {
        boolean first = true;
        StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
        for (int i=0; i<packages.length; i++) {
            String pkg = packages[i];

            // + 1 length for the comma. This logic technically isn't correct for the first entry,
            // but it's not critical.
            if (sb.length() + pkg.length() + 1 < LOG_PACKAGES_MAX_LENGTH) {
                if (!first) {
                } else {
                    first = false;
            } else if (sb.length() >= LOG_PACKAGES_SUFFICIENT_LENGTH) {
                return sb.toString();
        if (sb.length() == 0 && packages.length > 0) {
            String pkg = packages[0];
            // truncating from the end - the last part of the package name is more likely to be
            // interesting/unique
            return pkg.substring(pkg.length() - LOG_PACKAGES_MAX_LENGTH + 1) + '-';
        return null;

    public static File getRulesDir() {
        return RULES_DIR;

     * Reads rules from all xml files (*.xml) in the given directory, and replaces our set of rules
     * with the newly read rules.
     * We only check for files ending in ".xml", to allow for temporary files that are atomically
     * renamed to .xml
     * All calls to this method from the file observer come through a handler and are inherently
     * serialized
    private void readRulesDir(File rulesDir) {
        FirewallIntentResolver[] resolvers = new FirewallIntentResolver[3];
        for (int i=0; i<resolvers.length; i++) {
            resolvers[i] = new FirewallIntentResolver();

        File[] files = rulesDir.listFiles();
        for (int i=0; i<files.length; i++) {
            File file = files[i];

            if (file.getName().endsWith(".xml")) {
                readRules(file, resolvers);

    /* MODIFY START */
        Slog.i(TAG, "Read new rules (A:" +
        (resolvers[TYPE_ACTIVITY].filterSet().size() +
        resolvers[TYPE_ACTIVITY].componentFilterSetSize()) +
                " B:" +
        (resolvers[TYPE_BROADCAST].filterSet().size() +
        resolvers[TYPE_BROADCAST].componentFilterSetSize()) +
                " S:" +
        (resolvers[TYPE_SERVICE].filterSet().size() +
        resolvers[TYPE_SERVICE].componentFilterSetSize()) +
    /* MODIFY END */

        synchronized (mAms.getAMSLock()) {
            mActivityResolver = resolvers[TYPE_ACTIVITY];
            mBroadcastResolver = resolvers[TYPE_BROADCAST];
            mServiceResolver = resolvers[TYPE_SERVICE];

     * Reads rules from the given file and add them to the given resolvers
    private void readRules(File rulesFile, FirewallIntentResolver[] resolvers) {
        // some temporary lists to hold the rules while we parse the xml file, so that we can
        // add the rules all at once, after we know there weren't any major structural problems
        // with the xml file
        List<List<Rule>> rulesByType = new ArrayList<List<Rule>>(3);
        for (int i=0; i<3; i++) {
            rulesByType.add(new ArrayList<Rule>());

        FileInputStream fis;
        try {
            fis = new FileInputStream(rulesFile);
        } catch (FileNotFoundException ex) {
            // Nope, no rules. Nothing else to do!

        try {
            XmlPullParser parser = Xml.newPullParser();

            parser.setInput(fis, null);

            XmlUtils.beginDocument(parser, TAG_RULES);

            int outerDepth = parser.getDepth();
            while (XmlUtils.nextElementWithin(parser, outerDepth)) {
                int ruleType = -1;

                String tagName = parser.getName();
                if (tagName.equals(TAG_ACTIVITY)) {
                    ruleType = TYPE_ACTIVITY;
                } else if (tagName.equals(TAG_BROADCAST)) {
                    ruleType = TYPE_BROADCAST;
                } else if (tagName.equals(TAG_SERVICE)) {
                    ruleType = TYPE_SERVICE;

                if (ruleType != -1) {
                    Rule rule = new Rule();

                    List<Rule> rules = rulesByType.get(ruleType);

                    // if we get an error while parsing a particular rule, we'll just ignore
                    // that rule and continue on with the next rule
                    try {
                    } catch (XmlPullParserException ex) {
                        Slog.e(TAG, "Error reading an intent firewall rule from " + rulesFile, ex);

        } catch (XmlPullParserException ex) {
            // if there was an error outside of a specific rule, then there are probably
            // structural problems with the xml file, and we should completely ignore it
            Slog.e(TAG, "Error reading intent firewall rules from " + rulesFile, ex);
        } catch (IOException ex) {
            Slog.e(TAG, "Error reading intent firewall rules from " + rulesFile, ex);
        } finally {
            try {
            } catch (IOException ex) {
                Slog.e(TAG, "Error while closing " + rulesFile, ex);

        for (int ruleType=0; ruleType<rulesByType.size(); ruleType++) {
            List<Rule> rules = rulesByType.get(ruleType);
            FirewallIntentResolver resolver = resolvers[ruleType];

            for (int ruleIndex=0; ruleIndex<rules.size(); ruleIndex++) {
                Rule rule = rules.get(ruleIndex);
                for (int i=0; i<rule.getIntentFilterCount(); i++) {
                for (int i=0; i<rule.getComponentFilterCount(); i++) {
                    resolver.addComponentFilter(rule.getComponentFilter(i), rule);

    static Filter parseFilter(XmlPullParser parser) throws IOException, XmlPullParserException {
        String elementName = parser.getName();

        FilterFactory factory = factoryMap.get(elementName);

        if (factory == null) {
            throw new XmlPullParserException("Unknown element in filter list: " + elementName);
        return factory.newFilter(parser);

     * Represents a single activity/service/broadcast rule within one of the xml files.
     * Rules are matched against an incoming intent in two phases. The goal of the first phase
     * is to select a subset of rules that might match a given intent.
     * For the first phase, we use a combination of intent filters (via an IntentResolver)
     * and component filters to select which rules to check. If a rule has multiple intent or
     * component filters, only a single filter must match for the rule to be passed on to the
     * second phase.
     * In the second phase, we check the specific conditions in each rule against the values in the
     * intent. All top level conditions (but not filters) in the rule must match for the rule as a
     * whole to match.
     * If the rule matches, then we block or log the intent, as specified by the rule. If multiple
     * rules match, we combine the block/log flags from any matching rule.
    private static class Rule extends AndFilter {
        private static final String TAG_INTENT_FILTER = "intent-filter";
        private static final String TAG_COMPONENT_FILTER = "component-filter";
        private static final String ATTR_NAME = "name";

        private static final String ATTR_BLOCK = "block";
        private static final String ATTR_LOG = "log";

        private final ArrayList<FirewallIntentFilter> mIntentFilters =
                new ArrayList<FirewallIntentFilter>(1);
        private final ArrayList<ComponentName> mComponentFilters = new ArrayList<ComponentName>(0);
        private boolean block;
        private boolean log;

        public Rule readFromXml(XmlPullParser parser) throws IOException, XmlPullParserException {
            block = Boolean.parseBoolean(parser.getAttributeValue(null, ATTR_BLOCK));
            log = Boolean.parseBoolean(parser.getAttributeValue(null, ATTR_LOG));

            return this;

        protected void readChild(XmlPullParser parser) throws IOException, XmlPullParserException {
            String currentTag = parser.getName();

            if (currentTag.equals(TAG_INTENT_FILTER)) {
                FirewallIntentFilter intentFilter = new FirewallIntentFilter(this);
            } else if (currentTag.equals(TAG_COMPONENT_FILTER)) {
                String componentStr = parser.getAttributeValue(null, ATTR_NAME);
                if (componentStr == null) {
                    throw new XmlPullParserException("Component name must be specified.",
                            parser, null);

                ComponentName componentName = ComponentName.unflattenFromString(componentStr);
                if (componentName == null) {
                    throw new XmlPullParserException("Invalid component name: " + componentStr);

            } else {

        public int getIntentFilterCount() {
            return mIntentFilters.size();

        public FirewallIntentFilter getIntentFilter(int index) {
            return mIntentFilters.get(index);

        public int getComponentFilterCount() {
            return mComponentFilters.size();

        public ComponentName getComponentFilter(int index) {
            return mComponentFilters.get(index);
        public boolean getBlock() {
            return block;

        public boolean getLog() {
            return log;

    private static class FirewallIntentFilter extends IntentFilter {
        private final Rule rule;

        public FirewallIntentFilter(Rule rule) {
            this.rule = rule;

    private static class FirewallIntentResolver
            extends IntentResolver<FirewallIntentFilter, Rule> {
        protected boolean allowFilterResult(FirewallIntentFilter filter, List<Rule> dest) {
            return !dest.contains(filter.rule);

        protected boolean isPackageForFilter(String packageName, FirewallIntentFilter filter) {
            return true;

        protected FirewallIntentFilter[] newArray(int size) {
            return new FirewallIntentFilter[size];

        protected Rule newResult(FirewallIntentFilter filter, int match, int userId) {
            return filter.rule;

        protected void sortResults(List<Rule> results) {
            // there's no need to sort the results

        public void queryByComponent(ComponentName componentName, List<Rule> candidateRules) {
            Rule[] rules = mRulesByComponent.get(componentName);
            if (rules != null) {

        public void addComponentFilter(ComponentName componentName, Rule rule) {
            Rule[] rules = mRulesByComponent.get(componentName);
            rules = ArrayUtils.appendElement(Rule.class, rules, rule);
            mRulesByComponent.put(componentName, rules);

        private final ArrayMap<ComponentName, Rule[]> mRulesByComponent =
                new ArrayMap<ComponentName, Rule[]>(0);

    /* MODIFY START */
    public int componentFilterSetSize() {
        return mRulesByComponent.size();
    /* MODIFY END */

    final Handler mHandler = new Handler() {
        public void handleMessage(Message msg) {

     * Monitors for the creation/deletion/modification of any .xml files in the rule directory
    private class RuleObserver extends FileObserver {
        private static final int MONITORED_EVENTS = FileObserver.CREATE|FileObserver.MOVED_TO|

        public RuleObserver(File monitoredDir) {
            super(monitoredDir.getAbsolutePath(), MONITORED_EVENTS);

        public void onEvent(int event, String path) {
            if (path.endsWith(".xml")) {
                // we wait 250ms before taking any action on an event, in order to dedup multiple
                // events. E.g. a delete event followed by a create event followed by a subsequent
                // write+close event
                mHandler.sendEmptyMessageDelayed(0, 250);

     * This interface contains the methods we need from ActivityManagerService. This allows AMS to
     * export these methods to us without making them public, and also makes it easier to test this
     * component.
    public interface AMSInterface {
        int checkComponentPermission(String permission, int pid, int uid,
                int owningUid, boolean exported);
        Object getAMSLock();

     * Checks if the caller has access to a component
     * @param permission If present, the caller must have this permission
     * @param pid The pid of the caller
     * @param uid The uid of the caller
     * @param owningUid The uid of the application that owns the component
     * @param exported Whether the component is exported
     * @return True if the caller can access the described component
    boolean checkComponentPermission(String permission, int pid, int uid, int owningUid,
            boolean exported) {
        return mAms.checkComponentPermission(permission, pid, uid, owningUid, exported) ==

    boolean signaturesMatch(int uid1, int uid2) {
        try {
            IPackageManager pm = AppGlobals.getPackageManager();
            return pm.checkUidSignatures(uid1, uid2) == PackageManager.SIGNATURE_MATCH;
        } catch (RemoteException ex) {
            Slog.e(TAG, "Remote exception while checking signatures", ex);
            return false;