Security Application for Smart Phones and other Mobile Devices
A Security Application for Smart Phone and Mobile
Computer Science Department
American International University-
Abstract—with the development of technology now mobile
devices can perform different official activities beside the
personal ones. People can store password, valuable documents,
pictures, videos and many other private and confidential contents
inside their mobile devices. Moreover, high performing mobile
devices are very costly. But mobile devices being stolen or missed
is a worldwide daily affair, which incurs great loss upon people.
In this paper, the idea as well as system architecture of an
application has been proposed which helps to strengthen the
security of mobile devices. It retrieves the International Mobile
Station Equipment Identity (IMIE) number, recent contact list,
geological location, and the new SIM's number from the lost
device, and finally sends this information to the actual owner of
the device. These information help to find the exact location and
other details of that lost mobile device. Thus this proposed
application acts as a security tool for the smart phones and other
mobile devices. The contribution of this proposed application is
that it would be very convenient for people of developing country
for its cost effectiveness and less energy consumption and will be
independent from telecom operator.
Keywords-SmartPhone; Security; Trace Lost Phone
Developing an efficient and effective mobile application is
always a challenging matter that needs a proper idea and a
standard implementation. The problem of good mobile
application development is compounded by several factors.
Firstly, different users have distinct goals. Secondly, the same
visitor may seek different features at different times. Thirdly,
an application may be developed for a particular type of
device, which may not run in other devices. Fourthly, an
application may be developed for particular geographical
location or specific group of people. This project is taken in
concern keeping all these factors in mind. Therefore, the
project will fulfill the need of all the users who use Linux
Operating System based smart phones or other mobile devices
across the world. It is expected that this application will be a
common like for all the users, and will be able to cover
maximum users' expectation and attraction, because it will
protect the safety of their valuable devices from unwanted
This proposed mobile application can help to retrieve any
lost mobile device, and can strengthen the security of the
devices. Therefore, it will act as a security tool for the mobile
devices. This application is a very useful and a profitable one
for both the user and the developer party because of its unique
features and limitation-free nature. Moreover, this proposed
application is developed with JAVA programming language
which runs on the Linux Platform, Android OS. All types of
mobile devices or tablets that use Linux OS will be able to run
this application. In addition, this application can be modified
further to make a stronger security tool for any kind of mobile
The rest of the paper has been organized as following,
section 2 discuss about the existing application or concept used
for similar purpose. Section 3 describes the application’s
feature, implementation process, working principle and
algorithm. Finally section 4 focuses on future direction and
concludes the proposed application with some remarks.
II. LITERATURE REVIEW
There are few applications on the Android market and in
other Android shops which claim that these can trace a mobile
after it gets lost. But there are many limitations of these
applications, which make these applications ineffective for
providing complete mobile security. Below is a list of such
applications, their features and limitations. Point to be noted
that, most popular applications of the market are described
A. Wheres My Droid
This application has the following features:
1. Ringtone and vibration is used to detect the lost phone.
2. GPS location is traced
3. Notification for SIM Change
However this application is a defected with following limitations
1. This application will not be effective if the application
is simply removed from the “Installed Application”
option of the mobile.
2. GPS does not work properly. It cannot trace the exact
GPS location if the GPS is disabled.
3. If sufficient balance is unavailable, no SMS is sent for
4. ANR crash is another limitation
B. Mobile AntiVirus Security PRO
The claimed features of 'Mobile AntiVirus Security PRO'
1. Application locks screen of lost device and send alert
2. A message is displayed on the locked screen to
request user if anybody find that
3. Make loud noisy sound
4. Use Google Map to trace the location of lost device
Mobile Antivirus Security PRO has some Limitations, like
1. If the device is lost in a distant place then 'ringing'
feature of this application becomes valueless to trace
the device, and becomes helpful for the thief to grab
the device. This option can only be implemented
when the owner of the device is fully sure that the
lost device is somewhere near, and not stolen.
2. If somehow the Google Map does not work, the
application will not work properly.
C. AVAST Mobile Security
Though AVAST is an Antivirus actually, but it also have
some Anti-Theft features. The claimed features of 'AVAST
Mobile Security' are :
1. Remotely trace the GPS location of lost device
2. Activate loud sound
3. Remotely erase memory
AVAST Mobile Security has some limitations, like :
1. GPS tracking is of no use if the original SIM is
2. Loud sound can help only if the lost device is
somewhere surround the owner, otherwise this
feature is also useless
3. Deleting memory cannot protect the data but can
destroy it; therefore this application cannot protect
the data of the lost device.
From above mentioned discussion it can be seen that, some
common features of existing application can be identified such
as locking the phone, erasing the phone memory, making loud
noise, and tracing the device via GPS. None of these
application returns IMIE information or the SIM's activity to
its owner which is most important for tracing the lost mobile
device. Therefore the limitations of existing applications are
destroying complete memory rather than preserving that
information, inappropriate use of GPS tracking, without
consideration of ensuring owner about the activity of lost
device. However, all these limitations are making all existing
applications ineffective to retrieve a lost or stolen mobile
device especially lost data.
D. Comparative Analysis of Proposed Application and
Existing Research on Lost Mobile phone Detection
There is a research that was found on finding lost mobile
devices, thought that was not detailed about the entire
application development process. This research was done by
some students of Singapore . They explained the conceptual
theories of how a lost mobile phone can be traced in their
research report. In their prototype their proposed application
gathers IMIE number, MNC (Mobile Network Code), MCC
(Mobile Country Code), captured image of the thief, recorded
voice of the thief while calling somewhere etc. Finally this
information will be sent to the owner of the mobile device via
MMS. IMIE retrieving is a good concept which is also similar
with this proposed research. But there are some other
limitations with this research. These are:
• MNC (Mobile Network Code) code is not familiar to
normal users; they need help form Mobile Network
Provider to use MNC. Therefore, the proposed
application does not use MNC.
• MCC (Mobile Country Code) is not required to trace the
lost mobile. As, it is highly probable that no thief goes
abroad after stealing mobiles. As a result, we also have
not considered MCC and make the proposed application
• Captured image collection is not a good concept,
because front-side camera is not available with all the
mobile phones, and it is hardly possible that the mobile
has captured the thief's photo. This option is completely
not feasible, so in this work, image collection is ignored.
• Recorded voice collection is not a good idea again for all
these cases. Recorded audio files take large space in the
memory, therefore while sending those to the owner it
will take a large bandwidth. In the case of low
bandwidth GPRS networks concept will not work
• The researchers of prototype using MMS (Multimedia
Messaging Service) to send the collected information to
the actual owner of lots mobile. This is again not a good
concept. For example, in many developing countries the
MMS service is not activated by default. The user needs
to activate the MMS service manually or by requesting
the Mobile Network Provider. So in such case the MMS
will never be able to send information to the actual
owner. There is no confusion that use of MMS is not
user friendly and flexible to use. On the other hand, this
is costly. In this work, all costly means are not
considered. Therefore, this work is cheap and potential
to be more popular than existing applications,
• Their proposed concept does not have any alternative
option for sending information. There is option for
keeping the tracing activity in pending status so that later
when the application finds scope it can send the grabbed
information to the actual owner of the mobile. Use of
alternative data sending from lost device makes our
proposed application more authentic and efficient.
• Their research was only on Symbian Operating System
(7.0), specifically on Nokia 6600. Point to be noted that
only Nokia uses Symbian Operating System. So this
research will be helpful only for the old versions of the
Nokia mobiles. Android is used by Samsung, Sony, LG,
Motorola and other smart phone users, this application is
also developed using android SDK. Therefore, it can be
implemented by most of the smart phone manufacturer.
• The thief can easily stop the application, as it is noted by
them in their research by stopping the software which is
another limitation of their research. The major limitation
of existing application is the device trace can be disabled
by vulnerable user who finds it after lose. However in
this proposed application, the second user cannot control
the device trace feature.
Therefore, the proposed application outperformed the
existing applications due to their unavoidable limitations those
have been discussed in this section.
III. PROPOSED APPLICATION
In this section the proposed application has been described as
A. Special Feature of Proposed Application
There are several new features of this application which
makes this application very useful. These are as following:
• The police or any mobile company can trace any lost
mobile, but they can do it only when the owner of the
mobile device knows his/her lost mobile's IMIE number.
Maximum of the available mobile security applications do
not send IMIE number to its owner. Besides, in 99% cases
the mobile owners do not know their mobile's IMIE
number. For this reason, this application will grab the
IMIE number at first and will send it to the mobile owner.
• GPS Location can be traced by the mobile companies, but
that service is costly and time consuming. If the owner
can find the location of the mobile device with the help of
a small application then he or even the police does not
need to go to mobile company for GPS location anymore.
• If the mobile device is lost, and if the new user (or maybe
thief) changes the SIM (of the lost mobile) frequently, in
that case it will be hard for one mobile company to trace
the GPS location or the even the IMIE number. This
situation will not impact the application anyhow, because
in any situation proposed application will be able to send
the IMIE number or the GPS location by either SMS or
• Android mobiles are now being available even within
6500 BDT. The mobile owners must not go to file a case
to the Mobile Service Provider or to the Police and
expend huge money to retrieve their cheap mobile if this
recovery work can be done using a small application. This
application is making the recovery cost of the lost mobile
devices cheaper and the process easier.
• This application uses both SMS and Email based
communication media with the owner after it gets stolen
or lost. Keeping two options makes this application more
effective to retrieve it. Maximum available applications
do not provide this facility.
• Maximum applications lock the screen at first and make
loud siren, which is not a clever step to retrieve a lost
device at all. Because when the application will lock the
mobile and make loud siren, the thief will be alert and
will try to format the mobile to destroy the application.
This application is developed to work staying
background. This special feature will not let the thief
understand about the activities of the application.
B. Working process of Proposed Application
This application is able to take different actions to retrieve
the lost devices while running on an Android OS based smart
phone or any other mobile device. These actions are described
1. This application will force the user to install it on the
• Generally the applications are installed on flash
memory. In such case, if the device is stolen and the
thief removes the flash memory, all the applications of
that mobile get lost. Therefore, forcing the users to
install the application on the phone memory will
strengthen the security of the application.
2. When the application will run for the first time, it will ask
the owner of the mobile device to save his alternative
mobile number and email address.
• When the mobile device will be lost, the application
will automatically send SMS or Email to the owner
about its current location and other details of its lost
3. When the application finds that the mobile device is lost,
it will try to send the device's current location and other
details of its lost state to the owner of the device both via
SMS and Email.
• If the SIM has no balance or no internet connection, in
this case the application will try to resend the SMS or
Email when the SIM's account is recharged next time,
or the internet connection is activated.
The information that this application will send to the owner
IMIE Number: IMIE refers to 'International Mobile
Station Equipment Identity' which is a unique number to
identify any mobile devices .
GPS Location: GPS refers to the Global Positioning
System, which is a space-based satellite navigation system that
provides location and time information in all weather,
anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed
line of sight to four or more GPS satellites .
SIM Number: SIM refers to "Subscriber Identity Module"
which has a unique number to identify a user of any mobile
service providing company .
Last 10 Dialed Numbers: This will help to trace the people
with whom the intruder or the new receiver of the mobile
device is contacting.
4. If any person tries to uninstall the application, it will
prevent that by asking the master key password
• This strengthens the security of the application.
C. Technology Used for Proposed Application
This application has been developed using Java
Programming Language (J2SE) to run on the Android OS, one
of the Linux Operating Systems. As tool we have used are
Eclipse and Android SDK. For designing the interface we
have used Photoshop and Eclipse's built-in designing features.
1) Java Programming Language
The Java Standard Edition (J2SE) will be used which is a
widely used platform for programming in the Java language. It
is the Java Platform used for deploying portable applications.
2) Linux Operating System
Android is a Linux based operating system which is
designed primarily for Touch Screen mobile devices such as
Smart-Phone and Tablet-Computers . The Android OS
will be used for developing this application because now a
days maximum mobile are being developed on the Android
It is a tool that helps to develop desktop and mobile
applications. It has a plugin ADT (Android Development
Tools) that will also be used for developing this application
4) Android SDK
It is a Software Development Kit developed by Android,
which is necessary to develop this application . Point to be
noted that, now a days, Google has released a software bundle
named 'Android ADT' (i.e. Android Development Tool) which
contains both 'Eclipse' and 'Android SDK' together . This
has made the setup and configuration of Eclipse and Android
SDK easy to the mobile application developers.
D. Implementation Process of Proposed Application
The implementation process of the proposed application can
be as following
1) Confirmation of Mobile Loss
First step of this proposed application is to confirm that the
device is lost. Unlike some other existing applications ,
the proposed application also detect whether the mobile is lost
if the SIM card is changed. This process may cause confusion
as SIM card can be changed by owner of the mobile device
which is not a lost state for the mobile. But, as for an
application there is no alternative way to understand whether
the mobile is lost or not, it is considered that generally the
owners do not change their SIM card very frequently.
To track the "SIM card change" the application will
compares current SIM number with the last time used SIM
number. For this the AndroidManifest.xml should contain the
permission. On Application layer, “TelephonyManager” class
and the “getLine1Number()” function. Here, the
“getLine1Number ()” function will retrieve the current
SIM's number, which will be compared with the previously
used SIM's number . When this comparison will return
that, both the numbers are not same, the application will
understand that the SIM card is changed; therefore, the mobile
is lost or stolen. Moreover, in developing country usually SIM
card may not contain SIM number. Therefore, sometimes
getLine1Number() returns NULL. In such case
getSimSerialNumber method returns the SIM
identification Number. Another way to detect SIM number is
to retrieve that number from operator by dialing specific
string. For example, in Bangladesh SIM Number can be
grabbed by dialing following key strings :
a. From GrameenPhone : *2#
b. From Banglalink : *511#
c. From Robi : *140*2*4#
d. From Airtel : *121*6*3#
When this code is dialed, it returns the number from the
operator, and that can be saved using proposed application.
2) Obtain IMIE Number
Obtaining IMIE number is the main action to be done for
tracing a mobile device. As maximum people do not know
their device’s IMIE number, tracing it can help best to retrieve
the lost devices. When the application finds that it is lost, it
will trace the IMIE number and will send it to the actual
owner of the device either via SMS or Email . In
AndroidManifest.xml file READ_PHONE_STATE permission
should be added. In addition the following code snippet
returns the IMIE Number. getDeviceId() method of
TelephonyManagerclass returns the IMIE number.
3) Get Current Geographical Location
Getting the lost mobile’s current location is another major
action to be taken. For this the Android “Geocoder” class is
used. This class helps to retrieve the accurate latitude and
longitude of the lost device, by which one can trace his
device’s exact location wherever it is [23, 24]. At first, an
object of the “Geocoder” class is created. Then, the
“getFromLocation” function is called to which retrieves the
latitude and longitude of the device. Next, the application will
check whether the latitude and longitude is correctly retrieved
or not, and finally it will be sent to the owner via SMS or
Email [25, 26]. From the latitude and longitude the country
name, city name, road name etc can be found . But Google
Map or other maps are not 100% accurate in the case of
undeveloped and newly developing countries. For this reason,
the application will retrieve only latitude and longitude, as it
can be said as 100% perfect. This entire process is done
through 3 steps, which can be clear from the below figure 2.
Figure 1: Mobile Lost State Detection
Figure 2: Workflow of GeoCodeRetrival
4) Get Last Dialed Numbers List
This application also grabs last dialed numbers of the thief.
Sometime this helps to trace about whom the thief is
contacting. For retrieving the last dialed numbers the
“getContentResolver ()” function is called at first . If the
number is saved in the mobile, then this application will also
be able to trace the numbers including the number’s owner.
For this action the “getColumnIndex ()” function is used .
5) Sending Automatic SMS to the Mobile Owner
Sending the grabbed information to the Mobile Owner is the
main action that will help the owner to retrieve the lost mobile
device. At first, for sending SMS the application will request
permission from the OS by calling “android.permission” for
“SEND_SMS” and “RECEIVE_SMS” options both. Next the
“Intent” class will be called to call the Intent function so that
the SMS can be delivered to the owner. After that, the
“smsIntent.putExtra()” function will prepare the SMS for the
owner. And finally, with the help of “start Activity () function
the SMS will be sent to the owner .
6) Keep the Action as Pending in case of Unsuccessful
There may be a case like the mobile is out of balance or has
no internet connection. In such case the application will
keep its action pending, and wait for future favorable
condition. When the application will find balance or internet
connection it will instantly send notification about the detailed
statement of the lost mobile. The below figure can make this
Table 1: Notation used in Algorithm 1
MAX_DAILED Maximum number of recent
MAX_GEO_LOCATION Maximum number of recent
PRE_CONFIGURD_NUMBER The SIM number to which
SMS would be sent
E. Algorithm of Proposed Application
Figure 3 depicts the whole scenario of the proposed
Finally algorithm 1 describes the functionality of proposed.
Algorithm 1: Algorithm of Proposed application
i. The application (A) is installed and running
ii. SIM card is changed from previous SIM card
i. Owner can know the current location and phone
activity of lost mobile
1 Service of A is invoked
2 Retrieve IMIE Number, SIM number, Last
MAX_DAILED dialed number, last
MAX_GEO_LOCATION Geographical locations and
stored as a SMS as well as offline email
3 Check Balance to send SMS to
3.1 If Balance is sufficient for SMS, Send Saved
SMS with information retrieved at step 2
3.2 Else Check for internet connection
3.2.1 If Internet Connection is available Send saved
Else wait for Internet Connection and periodically
check step 3 and 3.2
This application is a very useful one for users to make their
mobile devices secure. Up to now lost mobile devices are
tracked with the support of national security services with the
help of telecommunication service providers, which needs a
lot of steps and formalities. But this application makes this
process easy and convenient for even the normal user level.
This application reduces expense, at the same time increase
Get Latitude and Longitude
Find the Street, Road, City and Country by
comparing the Latitude and Longitude from
the database of Google Map
Figure 3: Scenario of Proposed Application
the potentiality to find out the lost device. Another significant
contribution of this paper is decrease in energy consumption.
As the service is not running continuously, therefore an
imminent level of energy consumption can be reduced. Further
development can help this application to be a strong tool for
mobile security. This project can be a very profitable and as
well as effective one for the user and the service provider.
This project covers all the needs of the anti-theft and anti-lost
protection. Additionally the Virus and other Mobile Infection
Protection features can be added with this application.
Therefore, this application can be turned into a Total Security
Software for any mobile device. This application can be
implemented in Linux based small electronic devices to detect
lost vehicles and other aspect. Though, now-a-days, this
service is available by some security providing companies, but
this project can make the costing of this type of device
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