Faux Disk Encryption: Realities of Secure Storage On Mobile Devices

In this paper, Daniel Mayer and Drew Suarez discuss the challenges mobile app developers face in securing data stored on devices including mobility, accessibility, and usability requirements. Given these challenges, we first debunk common misconceptions about full-disk encryption and show why it is not sufficient for many attack scenarios. We then systematically introduce the more sophisticated secure storage techniques that are available for iOS and Android respectively. For each platform, we discuss in-depth which mechanisms are available, how they technically operate, and whether they fulfill the practical security and usability requirements. We conclude the paper with an analysis of what still can go wrong even when current best-practices are followed and what the security and mobile devic community can do to address these shortcomings.

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