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Proactive Detection and

Recovery of Lost Mobiles


Name1: N.Radha

College: VITAM

Name2: K.Sujitha

College: ANITS

monetary incentivesof stealing mobile

Abstract This paper describes the

phones, personal informationstored in

successfulimplementation of prototype

mobile phones, such as contact lists,

softwareapplication that independently

Calendar, can also be stolen [6]. As the

and proactivelydetects whether a mobile

linebetween mobile phones and personal

phone is lost or misused.When the

digitalassistant gets blurred, the potential

mobile phone is detected as being lostor

impact oflost information becomes more

misused, the application takes steps to


mitigatethe impact of loss and to gather

A. Motivation

evidence. Thegoal is to aid in the

Stealing mobile phones is profitable and

recovery of the mobile phone.

theprofits have kept theft rates high.

The prototype works regardless of the

Despite thehigh loss rates, todays

cellularinfrastructure the mobile phone is

solutions for recovering a lost mobile

operating inand makes minimum

phone and for protecting theinformation

demands on the owner ofthe mobile

stored in the mobile phone are

phone. The prototype was developed


On Nokia 6600 mobile phones that run

Detection scheme:

SymbianOperating System 7.0s.

Development was doneusing Nokias
Series 60 Developers Platform 2.0.
Index Terms Cellular telephone sets,
lossdetection, tracking.
Many mobile phones are lost every year.
According to estimates, 1 million
Mobile phones were lost in United
Kingdom and Australia too reported
100,000mobile phones... Besides the

When the owner detects and reports the

Loss does recovery and loss mitigation
processstart.When an owner loses
a mobile phone, the loss is usually
reported tothe cellular service provider,
who will thendisable the phone number
associated with theSubscriber Identity
Module (SIM)In addition to phone
number disablement,some cellular
service providers are also able to

Perform IMEI blocking. When

A. when the owner reports the loss and

A mobile phone is turned on; the mobile


phonewill broadcast its IMEI as it

SIM card remains unchanged;

attempts to connectto a base station.

B. when the owner does not report the

These serviceproviders can reject any

lossand the SIM card remains

attempt to connect to itsbase station by


IMEI corresponding to stolen mobile

C. when the owner reports the loss and

phones. Neither dothe methods help the

the SIM card is changed;

owner track where themobile phone

D. when the owner does not report the

might be and who is using themobile

loss but the SIM card is changed.


2) Loss mitigation and tracking: Once a

B. Objective

Mobile phone is detected to be lost, the

The objective of our work is to design a

Mobile phone application that
independently andproactively checks if
the phone is lost. If a lossis detected, the
mobile phone shall
a) Gathersevidence to aid in the recovery
of the mobilephone and
b) Minimize the information lost.

A. Design Objectives
1) Versatile detection mechanism: In the
eventthat the owner did not report the
loss; the mobilephone will have to
independently determine its status. To
summarize, we consider four scenarios:

Application should proactively gather

evidenceon who the thief is and where
the mobile phoneis. In addition, the
application should also attempt to
mitigate the loss of owners privacy.
3) Minimum infrastructure upgrades:
Any communications between the
mobile phone and the owner should
occur regardless of the cellular
Network that the mobile phone is used
in. This means that the communications
should rely on commonly used cellular
services, such as Short Messaging
Service (SMS), Multimedia Messaging
Service (MMS) and General Packet
Radio Service (GPRS), rather than

define a whole new communication

4) Minimum demands on the owner: The
Application should make minimum
demands on the owner of the mobile
phone. The application should not, for
example, assume that owners
Will remember the IMEI number.

B. Overview of Application

High Level Functionality
When thedetection mechanism
unambiguously determines
That the mobile phone is indeed lost, the
Application sets its status to LOST and
initiates the loss mitigation and evidence
gathering mechanisms. However, in

Our design assumes the presence of 3

many scenarios, the application is unable


to unambiguously determine if the

a. Owner,

mobile phone is lost. In this event, the

b. A trusted third party, and

application sets its status to

c. Application.


The trusted third party acts a remote

Once the detection mechanisms confirm

entity that the application communicates

that the phone is lost, the mobile phone

with. It actsas an interface between the

will begin loss mitigation and evidence

owner and theapplication. The third

gathering. Loss mitigation refers to a set

party may be a trustedfriend, a mobile

of activities that is aimed at reducing the

phone theft monitoring serviceor a

possibility of fraud, identity theft and

cellular service provider.The prototype

loss of privacy.

application followings the highlevel

functionality depicted in Figure 1.




A. Architecture











The architecture of our prototype

application is shown in Figure 2. Our
prototype was built by interfacing with
six Symbian services: Etel
(Telephony) server, camera server, SMS

Figure 2 Architecture

message type module (MTM)), MMS

The first trigger is a startup-event

MTM, voice system and the call log

Trigger. The secondtype of trigger is a


signal from an incoming

SMS. The third type of trigger is also a
signal trigger, this time from
An incoming call. When an incoming
call arrivesand the thief answers the
phone call, the voiceand camera
handlers, which are
asynchronousobservers, begin to collect
voice samples andtake pictures of
surroundings. The fourth triggertype is
by time. At 24-hours intervals,
theactivescheduler will send the
application an event.

B. Detection Mechanism

In the prototype, we defined three

network operators. A change of MNC /

different detection mechanisms:

MCC indicates that the mobile phone

a. SMS notification.

operating under a different cellular

b. Call pattern.

operator, which may be caused by a

c. MNC / MCC change detection.

Change of SIM.
3) Call Pattern. We apply the heuristic
That at least 3 of the outgoing numbers
should remain the same over every 24
hour period. If the heuristic is not
followed, the application sets its status to
Status verification.
Application sends
SMS ToTrusted
Third Paety

1) SMS notification. If the SIM of the

Mobile phone has not been changed; the
SMS handler will intercept every
incoming SMS message, check if the
message is a notification and

Mobile Phone

Trusted Third
Party checks if
mobile phone has
been reported

Third Party Replies

with an SMS and
stores the new
phone number

Phone not
Third Party Keeps
Silent. Application
resets its status after
12 hours of Silence

unobtrusively delete all notification

Messages. Next, the application will set

C. Status Verification

its status to LOST.

.Events flow for Status Verification

2) MNC / MCC change detection. The

The application sends the IMEI of the

Combination of MNC (Mobile Network

mobile phone to identify the phone.

Code) and MCC (Mobile Country Code)

Depending on the response from

is a unique identifier for every cellular

The owner, the third party will choose

Where the mobile phone might be


operating. Further evidence is needed to

Appropriate response to the application.

identify where the mobile phone is and

D. Loss Mitigation

the thief using the phone.

Once the status of the phone is

3) Call Records. The call retriever

determined to be LOST, the call log

modulealso collects the call log of the

handler will delete the personal contact

mobile. The calllog contains the list of

information stored in the mobile phone.

telephone numbers that the thief is in

This was implemented to prevent a

contact with and will also describe

misuse of owners personal contact

The thiefs unique call pattern. The

information by the thief or unauthorized

unique call pattern can be used to


identify the thief. Call records are

E. Evidence Gathering

retrieved every 24 hours and submitted

The evidence the applicationgathers are:

as evidence.

1) IMEI. In our prototype, we use the

4) Image capture. The Nokia 6600 has

IMEI to identify each lost mobile phone.

a built in camera. Incoming call signals

At start up and at 24 hour intervals, the

trigger the camera handler to power up

call handler will poll for IMEI

the camera and take a picture. When the

information. The information is

call ends, the picture issubmitted as

submitted together with cellular network


information to the trusted third party.

5) Voice recording. The aim of voice

2) Cellular network information.

Recording is to collect conversation

The call handler also extracts the cell

samples of the thief. In our

identifier to pinpoint the base station that

implementation, voice recording

the mobile phone is connected to.

Is triggered when there are incoming call

However, collecting this information

signals. Short snippets of the

only provides a geographical area

conversation are stored in WAV format.

Recording stops when the size of

The WAV file exceeds a predetermined

Mobile Subscriber Identifier (IMSI)

Threshold. The file is submitted as

which can be polled to determine if the

evidence when the call ends.

SIM has changed. As the interface to

F. Evidence Submission

access the SIM is unavailable, the

The evidence submission engine will

prototype uses MNC / MCC as the

Group IMEI and cellular network

detection mechanism. The mechanism

information together into a single MMS.

suffers from false negatives when

Call records, images, voice recordings

thieves substitute SIMs from the

are sent out as separate MMS as and

Same cellular network operator as the

when they are ready for submission.One

original SIM. In addition, the detection

of the fringe benefits of using MMS is

mechanism suffers from unnecessary

That the trusted third party can extract

false positives when a mobile phone is

the most current phone number used by


the thief if the number is sent over the

b. When gathering evidence, we will

network. This will ensure that the trusted

ideally like to find out the IMSI of any

third party can keep in contact with the

new SIM usedby the mobile phone.


However, this informationcannot be


extracted.B. GPRS as a form of

A. Inability to access SIM libraries

Accessing the SIM requires special
developers privileges, which were
unavailable at the time of the
development. Some of the limitations
introduced as a result are:
a. The MNC/MCC detection mechanism
is designed as a work-around the
inability to uniquely identify each SIM.
Each SIM has a unique International

GPRS is an obvious choice for
communications because the mechanism
is cost-effective and reliable.
GPRS can be used to:
a. Regularly poll a designated web
server for the status of the mobile phone.
b. Upload evidence gathered by the
mobile phone to a designated portal. The

portal allows the owner or law

in distinguishing one users call pattern

enforcement officials real time

from another users is not well

access to the evidence collected.

understood, and neither is there a

Due to these reasons, the GPRS

quantitative measure that can be used to

functionality was not implemented fully

measure the difference between call

in this prototype.

patterns. Machine learning techniques


can give us answers to those questions.

One of our immediate goals is to allow


the application to run stealthily in the

This paper describes the features and

background and to make it more

methods used to implement an

challenging for the thief to delete our

application that proactively and

application. Currently, our application

independently discovers if a mobile

runs as a regular Symbian process and

phone is lost through SMS notification,

can be observed using third party

MNC / MCC changes and call pattern

software such as AppMan . A thief can

changes. Should the detection

easily stop our application from running.

mechanisms indicate that the mobile

This track of work will ensure that the

phone is lost, the application will

thief remains unaware that our

delete the phone book to mitigate

application is running. The other track of

potential information theft and gathers

future work is to use machine learning

evidence of the location of the mobile

for call pattern recognition. In our

phone, the call records of the thief,

prototype, we used a simple heuristic to

images of the surroundings and audio

perform call pattern recognition. The

snippets of the thiefs conversations.

heuristic is not robust against a savvy

thief. Machine learning can help in
designing a more robust call
pattern recognition mechanism. For
example, it what features are important