Security in Mobile Computing

Security in Mobile Computing

Venus W. Samawi (Amman Arab University, Jordan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6583-5.ch019


These days, peoples expected to move around carrying their mobile devices, talking to friends, completing their work, accessing emails etc. His/her pictures, work, study, even relationship (friends, and family) all is in the mobile device. Therefore, mobile devices (especially smart phones) become an ideal target for different attacks. Mobile computing also becomes important in enterprises and organizations. Therefore, it is important to illustrate the state of art on vulnerabilities and threats on mobile device. This chapter is addressed to explain mobile computing concept, features, architecture, operating systems, and risks to mobile devices. Mobile operating system structureand characteristicsare demonstrated. The author also illustrates mobile security issues, and type of threats to mobile devices. Finally, features and security models of two popular smartphone operating systems, Android and iOS, are illustrated. It was found that the security models of these two smartphones is immature and do not meet the enterprises security policies.
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Mobile Computing

Mobile computing is a term that refers to a set of computing operations that allows information accessing anytime, from any place, using any mobile device (laptops, tablets, or smartphones). If the information to be accessed is local, then the user is working under disconnected mode operation. When the device is connected to a network through wireless or wired connection, in this case the user is working under connected mode. Nowadays, mobile devices play an essential role in human daily lives. This is attributed to the availability of different forms of mobile communications (viz. 3G, 4G, GPRS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) that enable users to access various ubiquitous services regardless of time (Deepak & Pradeep, 2012). The main challenges faced by the mobile devices are limitation of their resources (viz. battery life, storage, and bandwidth) which affect the service qualities and communications (viz. mobility and security).

The availability of small powerful computing devices, improved telecommunication and specialized software helped the prevalence process of mobile computing (Deepak, 2012). The main mobile computing characteristics are common with other technologies. But they are of special importance to the mobile computing (Agrawal et al, 2003; Deepak & Pradeep, 2012; Nosrati et al, 2012).

  • Portability: The ability of the device to operate consistently during its move. It can operate at any time and in any place. Therefore, rechargeable batteries are needed to support working for several hours without needing any external charger

  • Data Connection: The networking infrastructure that allows digital connection to the Internet for transmitting and receiving data. Mobile connectivity could be cellular connection (GSM, CDMA or GPRS, 3G, and 4G networks), WiFi connection (accessed through a private business network or through public hotspot), or Satellite Internet access.

  • Social Interactivity (Interactivity): The collective cooperation and data exchanging between users.Here, data denotes files transfer, emails, facsimile, and accessing WWW. Interactivity is more important for mobile devices, since they have less computing power than other types of technology.

  • Individuality: A basic component in mobile computing, which providing communication services between individuals. Basically, mobile devices are designed for individuals

Key Terms in this Chapter

Android: An open source mobile operating system which is based on Linux operating system. Android is developed by the Open Handset Alliance led by Google Inc. It is used by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Mobile Operating System: An operating system dedicated for mobile devices. It is to manage mobile system resources and services.

Mobile Threats: Mobile computing is vulnerable to different form of threats (such as malwares, stolen or lost data, etc.).

Mobile Computing: A term that refers to a set of computing operations that allows information accessing at any time, from any place, using a mobile device.

Mobile Security Model: Used to manage security on mobile smartphones, where security policy should be enforced, authentication and encryption is required, approved application is mandatory, in addition to maintain secure connections (VPN, IPsec, etc.).

Smartphones: Small portable devices which combine computing environment and cellular environment in one device.

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