Book Image

Mobile Security: How to Secure, Privatize, and Recover Your Devices

Book Image

Mobile Security: How to Secure, Privatize, and Recover Your Devices

Overview of this book

The threat of hacking may be the most damaging on the internet. Mobile technology is changing the way we live, work, and play, but it can leave your personal information dangerously exposed. Your online safety is at risk and the threat of information being stolen from your device is at an all- time high. Your identity is yours, yet it can be compromised if you don't manage your phone or mobile device correctly. Gain the power to manage all your mobile devices safely. With the help of this guide you can ensure that your data and that of your family is safe. The threat to your mobile security is growing on a daily basis and this guide may just be the help you need. Mobile Security: How to Secure, Privatize, and Recover Your Devices will teach you how to recognize, protect against, and recover from hacking attempts and outline the clear and present threats to your online identity posed by the use of a mobile device. In this guide you will discover just how vulnerable unsecured devices can be, and explore effective methods of mobile device management and identity protection to ensure your data's security. There will be special sections detailing extra precautions to ensure the safety of family members and how to secure your device for use at work.
Table of Contents (21 chapters)
Mobile Security: How to Secure, Privatize, and Recover Your Devices
About the Authors
About the Reviewers
Tips to Help You Protect Your Mobile Device
The History of Social Networking, the Internet, and Smartphones

The Internet

In this world of Youtube, Facebook, Hulu, and Twitter, it may be hard to imagine that the Internet has only been an integral part of our society for some three decades. The Internet, as we know it today, was originally conceived in 1969 as a method by which colleges could share information and research. Two years later, in 1971, e-mail was born and the @ symbol was first used to separate the name of the user from the service provider. Later in the decade, the PC modem was introduced to facilitate transatlantic communication, and shortly thereafter the bulletin board was developed as a method of easily sharing messages on the network. In 1978, the first spam, unsolicited commercial e-mail, message was sent. One might say that, with spam's introduction, the essential elements of our modern technology culture were firmly in place.


For more information check out, and

The explosion of the World Wide Web continued throughout the 1980s and into the 90s with CompuServe and AOL as early adopters. The web was formalized in 1994 when Tim Berners-Lee created the URL (Uniform Resource Locator). The significance of this innovation cannot be underestimated; it provided a reliable method for locating and accessing information on the Internet by organizing online data into addresses. This URL format made accessing the web data easier for humans to read. The notation of this method is familiar to most of us today, http:// followed by some site-specific title, which was then followed by .com, .org, or a number of other specifiers, also known as top-level domains. This innovation rendered the Internet truly accessible; to find information online, all you needed was the ability to type out a URL. You did not need to understand how to code or how to modify HTML.

Of course, the most significant development for most of us was the introduction, as early as 1990, of the search engine. Which search engine was first is still a matter of debate; some argue that the search tool Archie, developed by researchers at McGill University, was the first with the ability of finding files. Others argue that Gopher, a tool developed by students at the University of Minnesota, was the first true search engine. Regardless of which was first, the search engine quickly became one of the most vital innovations that rendered the resources of the Internet accessible to the general population. By the time Google was introduced in 1997, a number of other search engines, from Yahoo! to Altavista, had already been utilized by millions of people around the world. With a search engine, you didn't even need to enter a URL; you could just type the word you were interested in learning about, and a list of results would be displayed for your perusal.

Today, we can access the Internet from our laptop, our tablet, our cell phone, and even from certain appliances such as refrigerators and televisions. The Internet is an integral aspect of practically every part of our lives. With wireless Internet and telecommunications networks, the Internet can be accessed anywhere. Coffee shops, such as Starbucks and hotels, advertise the availability of wireless connections. Now, you can work, chat with friends, go on Facebook, blog, or play a game practically anywhere. Even resumes, which previously were done exclusively on paper, are compiled electronically on word processor applications and then e-mailed to potential employers online. Want to search for job openings? Go online and browse from a seemingly countless variety of job websites, from Monster to This goes both ways, of course. Just as you can search for employers, employers can search for you on professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn. In 2012, it's hard to imagine that, only some three decades ago, job seekers had to peruse the paper for openings and students had to visit the library to do research for school projects.

Social networking

Facebook was not the first social networking site. It wasn't even the first to provide a network of friends or a "wall", where friends could post messages, images, and links. Social networking, or the concept of using the Internet to form relationships and keep in touch with friends, may have begun as early as the mid 90s when sites such as and Geocities first gained prominence., which is still operating today, was a social networking site that attempted to locate people based on publicly available information such as high school graduation classes or school enrollment databases. The idea was that, if you wanted to reconnect with an old high school flame, you could do just that with

Sites such as Geocities and Tripod alternately offered the advantages of an online network of contacts. On these sites, a user would sign up for an account, and then begin to create their own online presence in the form of a dedicated website. The social networking aspect of these sites was manifested by the list of contacts or friends, which allowed members of these services to connect with one another, send messages, and link to each other's personal websites.

The first site to synthesize these two approaches to social networking was Friendster, which launched in the year 2002. Friendster developed the concept of degrees of social networks. Friendster attempted to connect its members with new contacts based upon how close they were with a member's other friends. For example, if you were friends with Jacob and Bill, and both of them were friends with Jane, then Friendster might attempt to connect you with Jane. This was a novel approach to social networking, because it allowed for an intuitive manner for building social networks in an online space. After all, just because a person hasn't personally connected with someone online, does not mean that they do not know them or that they would not like to connect with them. In effect, Friendster made it easier to interact with and find people they might already know.

Similar to Friendster, Myspace launched in the year 2003. This service's primary advantage was its introduction of a message-board style format to a member's homepage. By creating a "myspace", a member could organize a space in which their friends and contacts could leave comments. One way of thinking of this development may be by thinking of guestbooks which predated and inspired it; on a guestbook, a visitor could leave a comment about the site or the site's author. This comment would remain indefinitely for public viewing unless the site's author chose to delete it. The difference in Myspace was only that a member's entire site may be regarded as an elaborate and personalized guestbook. On Myspace, a member could adorn the top of their page with personal photos or even playable songs and videos. They could provide separate boxes that contained personal information, such as location, age, and marital status. While it was popular, Myspace was a primary destination within popular music, as most popular rock bands used the site in lieu of a permanent web address; they used it to announce things such as concert dates and C.D. release parties.

In 2003, LinkedIn introduced an entirely different approach to social networking. This site may be considered as a natural evolution of the social networking phenomenon; if many were already using social networking sites to connect with friends for informal purposes, why not use the same technology to allow employers and employees to find each other online? This is exactly the possibility that LinkedIn provided. On LinkedIn, an employer or employee could create an account, and populate that account with information about their qualifications or hiring requirements. Then, just as Friendster provided a search engine which allowed people to connect based on a matching profile criteria, LinkedIn would assist its members in matching qualifications with hiring needs. At its most basic level, LinkedIn was a professional database that allowed employers and employees to search for each other. What elevated this service, however, was the ability members had to then contact each other within LinkedIn's infrastructure; they didn't have to call each other if they didn't want to. They could just send a message online. As an additional benefit of this service, colleagues could create professional networks of friends within this formal networking context. LinkedIn was, for all intents and purposes, the professional version of social networking sites, such as Friendster.

In 2004, the most successful social networking site to date was first introduced; Facebook. Many of us already know the story of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. We may have learned about it from seeing the award-winning film, The Social Network, or we may have picked up some of the details from countless articles written about the staggering success of one of the world's most wealthy individuals. Facebook originally began as a social networking site exclusive to Harvard students. One might think of it as an upgraded and advanced version of; with Facebook, members could easily find Harvard students by searching for classmates based on coursework. For example, if you were enrolled in the fall to take Psychology 101, you could search the roll of other students and if they had accounts, peruse their Facebook profiles. If you so choose, you could then leave them a message that said you were excited to be taking a class with them. Facebook's success at Harvard quickly led to its expansion to many other universities. For the first several years of Facebook's existence, in fact, the service was exclusive to universities. It was only in 2006 that Facebook was first made available to the general public.


The dream of a phone you could use anywhere may be as old as the telephone itself. Before cell phones, the only way to make a phone mobile was to install one in a car; many may remember that the car-phone was one of the more famous status symbols of the 1980s.

This changed when, in 1983, Motorola released the first commercially available cell phone, called DynaTAC. Its asking price was a meager $ 3,995, and it boasted a whopping 30 minutes of talktime for the would-be trendsetters. While it was not able to text or surf the Internet, it did include an LED screen that allowed a user to recall and redial previously used phone numbers. Unfortunately, it was also the roughly the size and shape of a brick.

While the paltry feature set and high price point of the DynaTAC may seem ridiculous to those of us living in the 21st century, consumer demand for the product back in the 1980s was quite robust. In fact, the DynaTAC sold well enough for Motorola to introduce numerous iterations, with the last being released in the year 1993. It even made an impact on 1980s popular culture when Michael Douglas's character in the era-defining film Wall Street used one. The DynaTAC's allure is understandable when we consider that the device was, after all, the first commercially released phone which was not permanently tethered to a residence or vehicle. It was the first truly mobile phone.

This first device paved the way for models produced by competitors that boasted longer battery life and a more accessible price point. Cell phones were such a successful product, in fact, that by the 1990s it seemed as though everyone had one. What once had been a status symbol of the excessively wealthy had, by the 90s, become a common commodity which could be had for free if you just signed a multi-year contract.

The next step was taken in 1993 when the first cell phone to include features such as an organizer and fax machine was released. Produced by IBM under the name Simon, this phone was the world's first smartphone. Though large by today's standards, it possessed functions well beyond simply making phone calls, and thus foreshadowed the development of cell phones into one of the most essential devices of the 21st century.

On regular cell phones, you may not be able to fax your documents or manage your calendar, and you most certainly will not be able to download Apps, such as Whatsapp or Angry Birds, through an online application store (App Store). The main reason for this is that regular cell phones, which include popular models such as Motorola's Razr, are designed primarily to make phone calls; the few additional functions supported by these regular cell phones are generally not as extensive as those present in smartphones. In other words, regular cell phones are just that, regular phones.

Smartphones come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, brands, and models. Some, like the Apple iPhone, Sony, Nokia, and Samsung Galaxy S, feature multi-touch screens that can display videos and pictures in high resolution. Others, such as particular models of Research in Motion's Blackberry line, possess a full keyboard as a built-in attachment but do not possess a touch screen. Regardless of the particular differences in each model, all of these phones are similar, in that they are designed to do far more than simply make phone calls. You might say that this is what makes them smart; their focus on their additional functions as opposed to their ability to serve as mobile telephones.

Released in 2007, the iPhone was originally conceived as an iPod with the added functionality of a cell phone. The original iPhone could make and receive phone calls, but it could also play music and interact online using Apple's Safari application, and it could surf the Internet. One of the more significant features of the iPhone was its multi-touch screen, which allowed a user to manipulate icons and folders without the need for attached buttons. On top of all of this, the iPhone sported a 2 megapixel digital camera and included an application store (App Store).

This robust feature set, combined with Apple's by then already established reputation as a technology trendsetter, resulted in the iPhone's unmitigated success upon its 2007 release. In fact, even before the device was released to the public, Apple's competitors were in the first stages of designing their own cell phones which would sport a similar set of features (

Upon its original release, the iPhone was most notable for the staggering array of tasks it could perform. A user could take a photo of a place they had visited, and then send this photo as an e-mail attachment to their friend. The user could then log onto Facebook or, at the time, MySpace through the Safari web browser and share comments on this or other photos with their friends. If the user wished, they could then download a game from the App Store and play for several minutes before deciding to text their friend on the included texting application. Most significantly, all of this could be done on the same device while the user rode the bus into town. The iPhone was a truly multi-functional device, which eliminated the need for other devices to perform the same number of tasks. Truly, the iPhone could do it all.

Subsequent iterations of the iPhone only cemented the success of the first release. In July 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G. The primary feature of this device was in the title; it ran on the third generation of the mobile telecommunications network. The iPhone 3G was also the first generation of the device to include GPS functionality and an included maps application.

The iPhone 4S was released with some additional features in October, 2011. The primary feature of this release was the ability to save data to a cloud. The cloud functionality allowed a user to save data remotely, and to then access that data from either the same device or another device. This functionality also allowed a user to locate their phone geographically by utilizing a GPS tracking signal in the phone.

The difference between Android and iOS

Most of Apple's competitors use the Android mobile operating system to run their user interface. In fact, smartphones using the Android operating system composed 52 percent of the cell phone market share in the US as of October, 2012. (

Comparatively, the iPhone runs on iOS (iPhone Operating System). This is Apple's internally developed operating system, which cannot be used to operate other devices without Apple's permission (and Apple has not, as of the time of this writing, provided such permission to any other manufacturers). From the perspective of maintaining your mobile security, this is significant because Apple is the sole entity which is able to operate and monitor this platform. No other parties, large or small, may alter or edit this infrastructure and this results in a more secure environment for the end user.

The best way to understand the difference between the Android and the iOS operating systems for smartphones is by considering the difference between the Windows and Apple operating systems that run on PCs and Macintosh computers. Also keep in mind that Android is open source which encourages developers to make their own branch of the operating system. The iOS on iPhones only runs on Apple products like Android, runs on a variety of devices produced by a variety of manufactures.

The Android operating system, like the iOS on iPhone, is an operating system designed for use on smart devices with a multi-touch screen. The Android operating system is currently open source, which means that anyone can access the code and make alterations. What this means for the consumer is that the Android operating system can run quite differently on different phones that use it. Also applications designed for one formation of Android may not be supported on other Android devices.

As one might imagine, this lack of parity between Android phones can also create some problems for the end user in terms of performance and functionality. Some apps purchased on the Android App Store may only work on certain phones, and thus it is the user's responsibility to ensure that their phone can run the application in question before they choose to download it.

Let's not forget Windows

Windows 8, which was released shortly before the time of this writing, may represent the introduction of the third major player in the mobile space. Although Windows mobile has, until recently, been Microsoft's primary effort in the mobile space, the operating system has not been nearly as successful as iOS or Android. With the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft appears to be positioning itself to compete with these two major mobile operating systems. The primary feature of Windows 8, as it pertains to mobile, is the introduction of the Windows Store. The new Windows Store will, according to Microsoft, allow various Microsoft devices to access applications that perform equitably on most of the company's devices. This will be accomplished through the use of Windows Live IDs, which Microsoft has already successfully implemented in Windows Live PC.

The following is a list of common devices, both iOS and Android, within the mobile space:

  • Apple iPad (various generations)

  • Apple iPhone (various generations)

  • Apple iPod touch (various generations)

  • Blackberry Torch 9800

  • HTC Droid Incredible 2

  • HTC Evo (various generations)

  • HTC One X

  • HTC Windows Phone 8X

  • LG Lucid

  • LG Intuition

  • LG Optimus G

  • Motorola Atrix HD

  • Motorola Droid Razr

  • Motorola Photon Q

  • Nokia Lumia 920

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II

  • Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere

  • Samsung Galaxy S III

  • Nexus

  • Samsung GALAXY S4

  • Sony Xperia Z

  • BlackBerry Z10 and Q10

  • ZTE Grand S

  • Huawei Ascend D2

  • Asus Padfone

  • Nokia Lumia 925

Text messaging, chatting, and video chatting

Throughout the 90s, the primary forms of online communication were e-mail, message boards, and newsgroups. As evidenced by the name, electronic mail (e-mail) was originally intended as an alternative to traditional mail. Those of us that remember e-mail in its earliest days may also remember how formal some of the first e-mails could be; users often imitated traditional mail format in every sense. Message boards and newsgroups were, however, a relatively informal method of online communication. Message boards and newsgroups were both advantageous because they allowed for topic-related threads, or conversation categories which could drive the focus of particular conversations. Additionally, of course, all of these forms of communication did not require an immediate response; unlike a phone conversation, a user could read a message and respond in their own time. The message, whether by e-mail or message board, would be posted regardless of whether the recipient was online or not.

To no small degree, these popular 90s technologies have influenced our mobile communications practices. Where, once, we might have posted a message to a friend on a message board or as a response to a newsgroup e-mail, today, many will simply send a text message as a part of their cell phone's Short Message Service (SMS). The SMS service, though first developed in the late 1980s, did not enjoy widespread use among cell phone users until well into the mid-1990s. The format of these messages, like message board responses, is often informal and brief; text messages are only rarely intended as detailed conversations.

Another form of communication is known as instant messaging (IM). Instant messaging is known as online chatting. IM provides real time exchange of messages, which is different from e-mail that in effect sends a batch of data. IM allows quick and efficient communication between people. This can be executed via one on one or even groups of users. Instant messaging is largely done through ICQ, Compuserve AIM (Aol Instant Messenger), and IBM at the same time.

For more complex discussions, a modern mobile user might decide to use an application such as Whatsapp, so that they could send and receive responses in real time. Chatting came to prominence during the 90s with the advent of computer programs, such as ICQ, AIM, and Microsoft Instant Messenger (MSN). These chat programs allowed a user the advantages of telephone conversations, in that they were real-time discussions, and a user would be aware when their conversant was connected or not through status notifications. Like with many previously computer-based activities, chatting has become increasingly popular as a mobile activity. Through applications such as WhatsApp, AIM, or MSN, a user can chat in real time with friends on their smartphones. Of course, this means that all of the risks inherent in chatting on computers have also been duplicated on the smartphone device.

A final method of mobile communication which is becoming increasingly popular is video chatting. This method may have no equivalent in the 1990s but, with the advent of programs such as Skype, has become an all too common method of talking and seeing our friends and family regardless of their physical location. Recent iterations of certain smartphones, in fact, even include a video chatting feature as a part of their integrated cell phone infrastructure; this means that there is no need to download a separate application if one wishes to video chat.

In our modern and mobile world, there seems to be no limit to the varieties of methods by which we can communicate and interact. We can video chat, text chat, send instant messages, comment on photos, send tweets, and of course, call someone.

Many small businesses have even begun to use smartphones and tablets as a method of collecting payment from their customers. For example, Amy's Ice Cream, an ice cream store located in Austin, Texas, uses an app called Pay Anywhere, to swipe customer credit cards and collect payment. This popular app is associated with a credit card add-on that, when attached to the charger port on a tablet or a smartphone allows the device to read the credit information for payment processing.

Because of the bewildering possibilities afforded by App Stores, smartphones are increasingly being utilized as a method of simplifying our most common financial transactions. Today, we can use our smartphones to check our account balance, transfer funds from one account to another, pay for parking, purchase products through various online outlets, and even take payment for goods on those occasions when we are the ones selling goods. Although there are still some limits to what our smartphones can do, we should expect that these limits will only continue to recede as the capabilities of these devices are further realized.