Pocket Security: Smartphone Cybercrime in the Wild

By: David Maimon & Tamar Berenblum

The goal of this proposal is to identify the social context factors that influence smart- phone cybercrime victimization. In this new international collaboration between scholars in Georgia State University and the Hebrew University Cyber Security Research Center, the Primary Investigators (PIs) will evaluate user susceptibility to cybercrime on mobile devices against three traditional theories of victimization: 1) the routine activities perspective, 2) self-regulation, and 3) social disorganization theory and the broken windows perspective. In a study of 160 users over five months, the PIs will collect user smartphone activity “in the wild” using a custom Android application and send simulated attacks (e.g., a fake phishing attack, request to visit a suspicious site) to the participants and record their reactions. The PIs will analyze a combination of smartphone sensor data, individual questionnaires, demographic data from the U.S. and Israel Census, and neighborhood condition data from Google Street view to evaluate existing victimization theories as applied to smartphones. The proposed research will deliver:

1. New social and behavioral models describing users’ susceptibilities to mobile device threats based on smartphone sensor data;

2. New empirical studies that evaluate and expand existing theories of victimization in the smartphone domain;

3.  An open source mobile data collection and analysis platform and a unique corpus of smart- phone sensor data freely available to the scientific community.