The use of
mobile phones has been greatly increased within the past decades. Their
usefulness was also increased with their access to the internet and mobile
broadband services. Modern devices are capable of enhancing their content, by
downloading applications in addition to those being preinstalled. Although
applications can serve various purposes, some of them were designed to access
features beyond their core use, exposing our privacy to potential risk. Cell
phone users have the option to provide or deny access to several functions and
private information of their mobile phone, but without any explanation given on
how their personal data will be put in use.
My goal is to
design an application that will offer an effective solution to the problem
mentioned above. I aim to create a tool capable of defending the user’s privacy
and keep their information out of risk. Using this tool, user will be warned
about potential threats, every time a new application is being installed on his
device. For extra peace of mind the application will have the option to
automatic detect and delete apps, whenever it identifies malicious behavior, protecting
users from potential private data breach.
I intend to use
any technology available to design a user friendly application with a convenient
and responsive interface, simple navigation and time efficient process of
threat eliminating. To improve user experience, the tool will memorize previous
choices and predict future privacy preferences. Users will be able to make full
use of the tool with the minimum required effort. Moreover, they will have the
option to override the tool decisions, at their own risk and proceed with the
use of any application.
Nowadays smartphones have become an
irreplaceable part of our everyday life resulting in a rapid growth in the use
of mobile applications. We use apps to complete various daily tasks, navigate, socialize
or just for entertainment. In order to fulfill those tasks applications request
access to a variety of functions along with private information stored in our
devices. Recent analysis conducted by Jeff Six has shown that some applications
require permissions that are not truly needed and there is also malware
embedded in some of them. When users install an app on their device, they are
asked to provide access to several functions and personal information. From
this moment forward the applications are capable of using these resources at
will and sharing information with third parties for unknown purposes. The goal
of this research is to lay the foundation, for the development of a defense
tool capable of protecting non security-conscious users. The core use of the tool
will be to protect our privacy and data from suspicious applications.
AREAS OF RESEARCH
Primary research will be conducted to
collect original data specifically for the purpose of our project.
The current study aims on examining the
relationships between data privacy issues and mobile applications use, the
degree of awareness about the data that users allow their apps to take as well
as the factors that affect their decision to install or not install an
application in order to design an application that will offer a viable and
effective solution to all these problems. Consequently, quantitative research
is regarded to be the most appropriate research method.
Due to the quantitative approach of this
study, a survey technique consists of structured questionnaires, is considered
to be the most appropriate method.
An electronic survey administrated on
the internet will be applied in this study as it is cost efficient and ensures
a high speed of administering the survey, collecting and analysing the data
(Malhotra & Birks, 2003).
Due to the fact that the population of
interest in this study involves thousands of elements and it is impossible in
terms of time and financial resources to collect data from every element, it is
of crucial importance to select a sample.
Probability samples are considered to be
superior to non-probability in terms of generalizability but non probability sample
is more appropriate for this study since it is more convenient and time and
Secondary data sourced from academic
journal articles, statistical reports and reliable websites will be used to
support and empower the primary research findings.
Moreover, a competitor’s analysis will
be conducted to provide an in depth understanding of our competitors’ products.
The main intended outcome
of this study is a reliable and effective tool that will be able to identify
applications asking permission to access functions and information not directly
related to their core purpose, in order to keep our sensitive personal
information secure while we are using our favorite mobile applications.
The tool will be designed to operate in
different modes, in order to adjust the security levels according with the
user’s needs. Every mode will have a
unique way to prevent suspicious applications and potential data leaks.
first mode will be manually operated by the user. Warnings will appear in response
to suspicious behavior by the apps. The use of the app will be suspended until
the user decides to uninstall the app, update the granted permissions or set an
exception to it. Notifications will also appear during the installation of a
new app, or whenever a new version is released.
second level will offer an automatic method of protection. For the creation of
this mode additional research is required, based on the permissions required by
each application individually. This mode will demand less effort and the users
will enjoy an additional peace of mind. Malicious applications discovered by
our research will not be allowed on the device and their installation will be prevented
last mode will offer the highest level of security. Users will have the option
to prevent the use of several selected functions by any application. For
example a user could maintain his location hidden by any app or social media
connected to his device.