Detecting iPhone Security Compromise in Simulated Stalking Scenarios: Strategies and Obstacles


Andrea Gallardo, Hanseul Kim, Tianying Li, Lujo Bauer, and Lorrie Cranor, Carnegie Mellon University


Mobile phones can be abused for stalking, through methods such as location tracking, account compromise, and remote surveillance. We conducted eighteen remote semi-structured interviews in which we presented four hypothetical iPhone compromise scenarios that simulated technology-enabled abuse. We asked participants to provide advice for detecting and resolving each type of compromise. Using qualitative coding, we analyzed the interview data and identified the strategies of non-expert participants and the difficulties they faced in each scenario. We found that participants could readily delete an app and search in iOS settings or the home screen, but they were generally unable to identify or turn off location sharing in Google Maps or determine whether the iCloud account was improperly accessed. When following online advice for jailbreak detection, participants had difficulty finding a root checker app and resetting the phone. We identify underlying factors contributing to these difficulties and recommend improvements to iOS, Google Maps, and online advice to reduce the difficulties we identified.

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@inproceedings {281258,
author = {Andrea Gallardo and Hanseul Kim and Tianying Li and Lujo Bauer and Lorrie Cranor},
title = {Detecting {iPhone} Security Compromise in Simulated Stalking Scenarios: Strategies and Obstacles},
booktitle = {Eighteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2022)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-30-4},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {291--312},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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