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MoST 2012: Mobile Security Technologies 2012

One of the best ways to know where you’re going is by looking behind you. Today, we take a look at some of our past conferences that you can use as a comparison point for latter events.

This conference was held last May 24 in the year 2012 in Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. We brought together practitioners and policy makers that helped attendees explore the mobile security advances of that time. This conference had both on-site and online registration for the workshops available that day.

We had Peter Eckersley come in and give a talk about Carrier IQ, quite the cause for controversy back then. It was found that Carrier IQ gathered data on its users and were not transparent regarding what the date was used for. Carrier IQ was formerly partnered with corporate giants like Sprint, AT&T, and even T-Mobile. Eckersley’s talk was entitled “Spies in our Pockets: Lessons from the Carrier IQ Scandal about Privacy and Transparency on Contemporary Cellular Networks.”

Carrier IQ was a privately held operation in California. In 2015, Carrier IQ was acquired by AT&T. It is unknown whether or not AT&T has scrapped the software which was able to monitor on-screen selections.

Eckersley, at the time, did technical policy work on a variety of issues which ranged from privacy to network neutrality. From there, MoST 2012 went on to have other Speakers present papers. These short position papers were submitted to discuss the topics of vulnerabilities and remediation techniques, risks in networks or clouds, and many more.

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At this point in time, it was evident that mobile security was something that needed surveillance from the general public. The outcry that had followed the Carrier IQ controversy showed that users cared quite deeply about their personal information and what it could be used for.

This particular conference also brought in people from Dalhousie University and IBM T.J Watson Research Center to discuss the concept of the Mobile Web. This session’s chair was Larry Koved. The afternoon session comprised of a discussion about Application Security and Privacy. Students from Seoul National University shared their research regarding a static analyzer that could detect privacy leaks in Android apps. Students from Virginia Tech shared their analysis on malicious mobile apps. A short break followed.

MoST 2012 was a success in bringing together like-minded individuals. We provided a safe space wherein the pioneers of latter technological advances were able to have a soundboard for their studies and analysis. If there was anything that we learned from this, it was the fact that the concept of mobile security and privacy was something to be safeguarded.

At that point in time, Apple and Samsung were all launching smartphones. They launched mobile devices that allowed users to purchase anything with a tap of a screen. This capability pretty much announced to the world that sensitive information was there for the taking. These mobile devices were infinitely alluring targets for hackers. That is why we strive to promote mobile security.

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