Smartphones, tablets and other mobile/handheld devices are increasingly the target of malicious software and other external attacks. The operating systems of these devices provide security mechanisms that can help defend against such attacks. However, a degree of technical expertise is required to understand and configure these mechanisms in order to properly defend against known threats. MASON is an agent that runs on the device and uses a knowledge base to automatically and in real-time configure the existing security mechanisms. The agent acts as an automated security expert, managing security on the device, on behalf of a non-expert user.
A MASON prototype has been implemented and tested on a number of Android platforms. The prototype currently monitors six attributes of the Android state, for which a threat model has been devised with corresponding catalogues of best practice implemented based on the standards: NIST 800-41, NIST 800-41rev1, NIST 800-124, NIST 800-114 and NIST 800-153
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