№ 039/2012 from Mar 01, 2012
Under the motto "Vitamin C for your smartphone," visitors at this year’s CeBIT computer fair can take a look at a digital immune system that can help protect against electronic attacks on mobile devices. Just like the biological defense system in humans, the digital assistants are composed of several individual components, and these are being shown by Freie Universität Berlin and its partners. Researchers from the Institute of Computer Science demonstrate a novel method by which trusted neighbor phones quickly and reliably find each other, and then jointly prevent unpleasant "infection" from the outside. The digital immune system is being developed in the SKIMS project, which aims to design, develop, and implement a cross-layer security system for mobile devices and is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The results are being exhibited at the BMBF booth, exhibition hall 26, booth E50.
Unauthorized external connections and malicious applications from outside are two ways smartphones can be compromised. The developers of SKIMS are pursuing a comprehensive new security concept. They harness novel technologies to allow the mobile phone to detect security-critical events and act to neutralize them, drawing surrounding devices in for assistance as needed. They are developing mechanisms to maintain this detection and defensive barrier. Incoming viruses are diagnosed through a light-weight entropy procedure and a mobile honeypot. An integration check at run-time prevents the smartphone from opening unauthorized apps. Novel socio-technical approaches identify trustworthy neighbors to allow the phone to establish spontaneous secure communication channels. Researchers from Freie Universität Berlin, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, DFN-CERT Services GmbH, ESCRYPT GmbH, and the NEC Laboratories Europe in involved in the SKIMS project.
SKIMS is part of the German Federal IT Security Program with a special focus on research for security in insecure environments. SKIMS is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and is part of the high-tech strategy for Germany.