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Does analyzing motion for mobile malware detection work?

Motion and gestures are being used for mobile malware detection on smartphones. Learn how this method works and whether it is a worthy addition to an enterprise security strategy.

I read about a new type of mobile malware detection that analyzes motion and gestures to detect issues on smartphones. How does this type of antimalware system work? Would it be used in conjunction with other malware detection?

One of the exciting benefits of using new security paradigms on mobile devices is there is a green field for implementing new security controls. This includes many advanced mobile security protection methods at the OS level that Android and iOS have both implemented, but these protections are just improvements over existing systems. On the other hand, there are a number of third-party tools that tackle mobile security threats in novel ways; smartphones, for example, have greater potential for new security controls based on how they can be monitored and how deviations in their usage can be analyzed, reported and investigated.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham recently created a new antimalware system that works by monitoring exact usage of a smartphone at a detailed level. For example, it might be uncommon for a person to send a text message while the GPS shows the device is in motion and the mapping software is running. Or it might not be common for a person to be texting while doing other interactive things on their device, such as emailing or social networking. Additional sensors including the accelerometer, GPS and touchscreen allow for an unprecedented level of monitoring motion analysis to correlate with "good activities." To protect users from harm, certain actions could be whitelisted.

This mobile malware detection system, which has not yet been commercialized, could be used alone or in conjunction with other mobile malware detection and security controls. However, there are significant privacy issues software developers and enterprises should consider before using these types of new security controls since they could collect detailed data about employees' behavior and usage patterns.

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