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Security and Privacy of Mobile Devices Report

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Security and Privacy of Mobile Devices Report

Contemporary mobile devices possess robust and highly reliable operating systems as well as evolving tools that make the development of various software based application overly easy. The purposes of the diverse applications are noble such as enabling users to complete numerous tasks using only one device (Keith et al., 2015). However, there are far reaching privacy and security concerns emanating from researchers given the ways some quotas of society are applying the functionality of such applications. For instance, Bradley (2015) pointed out that by requesting access to a user’s location data, Egyptian authorities used the Grindr application to enforce anti-gay legislation. Like many other mobile device applications, Grind, a dating application utilized by homosexual as well as bisexual males to meet potential dates requests users to turn on location data. Bradley (2015) posits that researchers investigating the privacy and security concerns of using GPS based apps successfully tracked with pin point accuracy the location of numerous users. Other than aces a person’s real-time location, through information gained from active GPS apps, the investigators also located the schedules, patterns, and in some cases, the actual identity of users.

Contemporary mobile device come with pre-installed GPS functionality. The underlying purpose is to offer users a variety of novel experiences bringing about numerous benefits (Gardner, Leibovici, Basiri, & Foody, 2017). For instance, in the past when mobile technology was at its infancy stages, simple devices were used to avail location based services (LBS). These were especially important at the organizational level towards keeping track of goods on transit or personnel working remotely. Similarly, the simple gadgets were also of practical significance towards searching for particular places, checking on weather conditions, as well as revealing a person’s location. LBS enabled apps embedded in contemporary mobile devices employ Wi-Fi or GPS with higher degrees of accuracy making them very important for appraising the efficiency of a variety of business oriented objectives (Gardner, Leibovici, Basiri, & Foody, 2017). Unfortunately, the LBS functionality common in in today’s smart devices also present users with unimaginable risks.

The fears emanating from the optimized use of the internet as a game changing business environment work to hinder its full scale application for commercial ends (Gardner et al., 2017). Devices like smartphones now have LBS technology as a standard feature. This has made it increasingly easy to personalize to the extent that it becomes not only pervasive but also universal. The overarching benefit of the LBS technology is that it bears the ability to pinpoint a user’s exact location at any time and from whichever location (Keith et al., 2015). However, the greatest it also presents a high degree of concern due to its risky capability of compromising an individual’s right to privacy. In this regard, though a business may have an app that a client can use to ease customer oriented transaction with over the internet, the risk that the consumer is subjected to makes hard for them to trust it appropriately (Keith et al., 2015). This implies that if a user opts to continue using the LBS app regardless of the considerable privacy concerns raised, then they are portraying risk-taking behaviors.

Many service providers require users to consent to soliciting offered facilities before gaining access to their products. After consenting to stipulated terms and conditions, an installed app depending on whether it is designed to function when activated or not transmits the user’s actual located and other information (Li et al., 2018). Unfortunately, the terms and conditions are often not straightforwardly written nor prepared in a concise manner that ensures a subscriber comprehends what they are agreeing to (Marcelino & Silva, 2018). As a result, some the sensitive personal data gained using LBS enabled apps is often sold or simply surrendered to third parties. This further increases the degree of privacy and security concerns given that third parties are not obligated to handle such information with the deserved care. There is no guarantee that the data sourced using LBS applications is not offered to government agencies upon request without a user’s consent or knowledge (Li et al., 2018). This is especially the case with the growth of the surveillance culture in many advanced nations.

Not all LBS apps are constructed with the professional competencies that a user may desire. Poorly coded apps are also a point for grave concern to many users. For instance, there are a variety of ways through which LBS data is collected, analyzed, stored, and presented. Many of the application used employ multipart architecture which progressively increases security and privacy risks (Marcelino & Silva, 2018). The more components are incorporated into a system, the larger the overall risk a user is exposed to. In case a mobile device is stolen, then a user’s locally stored data which is mainly for personal use may be accessed by a criminal. However, some operating systems employ the same LBS app to prevent against unauthorized access of data stored within a device. There are also transmission risks occurring during the transmission phase. Redirection attacks as well as man-in the middle intrusions are often used to redirect information to the inappropriate server (Marcelino & Silva, 2018). Privacy and security concerns exist at a similar level after data is store in the cloud. Recent incidences of cyber-attacks on organizations have duly exposed the magnitude of risk at this point. The risk associated with cloud storage has greater scope. In a case where an intruder is able to gain access to only one user account, then the entire system is deemed as compromised. This is the most potent concern with security issues appertaining to social media.

References

Bradley, T. (2015). Location tracking in mobile apps is putting users at risk. Retrieved from https://www.csoonline.com/article/2871933/mobile-security/location-tracking-in-mobile-apps-is-putting-users-at-risk.html

Gardner, Z., Leibovici, D., Basiri, A., & Foody, G. (2017). Trading-off location accuracy and service quality: Privacy concerns and user profiles. In Localization and GNSS (ICL-GNSS), 2017 International Conference on (pp. 1-5). IEEE.

Keith, M. J., Babb, J. S., Lowry, P. B., Furner, C. P., & Abdullat, A. (2015). The role of mobile‐computing self‐efficacy in consumer information disclosure. Information Systems Journal25(6), 637-667.

Li, H., Zhu, H., Du, S., Liang, X., & Shen, X. S. (2018). Privacy leakage of location sharing in mobile social networks: Attacks and defense. IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing15(4), 646-660.

Marcelino, L., & Silva, C. (2018). Location Privacy Concerns in Mobile Applications. In Developments and Advances in Intelligent Systems and Applications (pp. 241-249). Springer, Cham.

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