There are apps for just about everything these days. And more and more employers are using business-orientated applications on mobile devices in their workplaces. But what happens to all the data stored in these apps? Many apps send tracking information back to the developer and to third party advertising companies – often without the app owner’s knowledge.

So, if businesses want to use apps for work related tasks how can they ensure that the information employees are storing is safe and secure? APR.Intern, Veelasha Moonsamy, tackled this question in her doctoral (PhD) research. And when NBN Co approached APR.Intern with the same concerns Veelasha was the perfect fit.

“Mobile devices are being used to manage information, however, the level of security and privacy controls in these environments are much younger than those in traditional IT environments,” Veelasha said. “I want to explain and demonstrate the technical steps needed to understand what information mobile apps send and to where they send it.”

The outcome of Veelasha’s project has implications, not just for NBN Co, but for many businesses. Her research will help companies evaluate smartphone applications and determine potential risks to their business operations.

“The opportunity to engage a PhD student through APR.Intern has been of considerable benefit to NBN Co. Business-specific research has been carried out to help reduce the risk to businesses associated with the deployment of mobile devices to staff and contractors,” said Dr Malcolm Shore, Principal Security Officer at NBN Co. “Veelasha contributed a great deal of expertise to NBN Co and has become one of the leading global researchers into mobile security standards.”

Malcolm said that through Veelasha’s work NBN Co. has become one of the first organisations, in the world, to have access to an effective security standard for mobile systems.

“The process of working with APR.Intern has been smooth and enjoyable; being able to establish a testing system for mobile applications through this short-term internship has saved NBN Co many weeks of trials – and likely tribulations,” said Malcolm.

Veelasha also noted that the close involvement of her academic mentor, Professor Lynn Batten, was essential to the success of the project; that her support and un-paralleled expertise made all the difference.

All parties benefited from the internship: “My activities at NBN Co gave me a unique insight into conducting research within industry. It also developed my technical (programming and academic writing), presentation and teamwork skills,” Veelasha said.

“The internship has boosted my confidence to present technical results, in business terms, to business people,” she concluded.

Intern: Veelasha Moonsamy, Deakin University
Industry Partner: Dr Malcolm Shore, Principal Security Officer, NBN Co
Academic Mentor: Prof. Lynn Batten, Deakin University