Intrusion detection for mobile devices using the knowledge-based, temporal abstraction method Academic Article uri icon


  • In this paper, a new approach for detecting previously unencountered malware targeting mobile device is proposed. In the proposed approach, time-stamped security data is continuously monitored within the target mobile device (i.e., smartphones, PDAs) and then processed by the knowledge-based temporal abstraction (KBTA) methodology. Using KBTA, continuously measured data (e.g., the number of sent SMSs) and events (e.g., software installation) are integrated with a mobile device security domain knowledge-base (i.e., an ontology for abstracting meaningful patterns from raw, time-oriented security data), to create higher level, time-oriented concepts and patterns, also known as temporal abstractions. Automatically-generated temporal abstractions are then monitored to detect suspicious temporal patterns and to issue an alert. These patterns are compatible with a set of predefined classes of malware as defined by a security expert (or the owner) employing a set of time and value constraints. The goal is to identify malicious behavior that other defensive technologies (e.g., antivirus or firewall) failed to detect. Since the abstraction derivation process is complex, the KBTA method was adapted for mobile devices that are limited in resources (i.e., CPU, memory, battery). To evaluate the proposed modified KBTA method a lightweight host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS), combined with central management capabilities for Android-based mobile phones, was developed. Evaluation results demonstrated the effectiveness of the new approach in detecting malicious applications on mobile devices (detection rate above 94% in most scenarios) and the feasibility of running such a system on mobile devices (CPU consumption was 3% on average).

publication date

  • January 1, 2010