Security in Cloud Computing: a Mapping Study

I have a new article published. For my PhD I write scientific articles that are submitted to scientific journals or conferences. This article is in English and it is published in Computer Science and Information Systems. The Computer Science and Information Systems journal is indexed in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) and it has a two year impact factor of 0.575 (2013).

ComSIS publishes original papers of lasting value covering both theoretical foundations of computer science and commercial, industrial, or educational aspects that provide new insights into design and implementation of software and information systems.

Here is the reference and the link to my article:

Zapata, B. C., Fernández-Alemán, J. L., Toval, A.: Security in Cloud Computing: a Mapping Study. Computer Science and Information Systems, Vol. 12, No. 1, 161–184. (2015)

The abstract of the article:

JMS

A number of cloud applications are currently widely used. However, one of the main reasons for the slowing down in the growth of cloud computing is that of security. Even though some research has been done in the security field, it is necessary to assess the current state of research and practice. This paper aims for the study of the existing research about security in cloud computing to analyze the state of art and to identify future directions. The method selected to investigate the security in cloud computing is a systematic mapping study. A total of 344 papers were selected and classified by security goal, research type and contribution type. The main security specific issues extracted are data protection (30.29%), access management (20.14%), software isolation (16.7%), availability (16%), trust (13.6%) and governance (3.27%). Our results demonstrate that cloud computing seems to be a promising area for security research and evaluation.

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Empirical Studies on Usability of mHealth Apps: A Systematic Literature Review

My fourth accepted article has just been published. For my PhD I write scientific articles that are submitted to scientific journals or conferences. This article is in English and it is published in the Journal of Medical Systems. The Journal of Medical Systems is indexed in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) and its current impact factor is 1.372.

The Journal of Medical Systems provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of the increasingly extensive applications of new information systems techniques and methods across all health care settings. It features four sections focusing on mobile systems, systems level quality improvement, transaction processing systems, and patient facing systems.

Here is the reference and the link to my article:

Zapata BC, Fernández-Alemán JL, Idri A, Toval A. (2015) Empirical Studies on Usability of mHealth Apps: A Systematic Literature Review. J Med Syst 39(2). doi: 10.1007/s10916-014-0182-2

The abstract of the article:

JMS

The release of smartphones and tablets, which offer more advanced communication and computing capabilities, has led to the strong emergence of mHealth on the market. mHealth systems are being used to improve patients’ lives and their health, in addition to facilitating communication between doctors and patients. Researchers are now proposing mHealth applications for many health conditions such as dementia, autism, dysarthria, Parkinson’s disease, and so on. Usability becomes a key factor in the adoption of these applications, which are often used by people who have problems when using mobile devices and who have a limited experience of technology. The aim of this paper is to investigate the empirical usability evaluation processes described in a total of 22 selected studies related to mHealth applications by means of a Systematic Literature Review. Our results show that the empirical evaluation methods employed as regards usability could be improved by the adoption of automated mechanisms. The evaluation processes should also be revised to combine more than one method. This paper will help researchers and developers to create more usable applications. Our study demonstrates the importance of adapting health applications to users’ need.

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Assessing the Privacy Policies in Mobile Personal Health Records

My third accepted article was already published. For my PhD I write scientific articles that are submitted to scientific journals or conferences. This article is in English and it has been presented in the 36th IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conference, held in Chicago, USA.

The theme of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conference is “Discovering, Innovating, and Engineering Future Biomedicine”. It covers diverse topics from cutting-edge biomedical and healthcare technology research and development, clinical applications, to biomedical education.

Here is the reference and the link to my article:

Zapata BC, Niñirola AH, et al. (2014) Assessing the Privacy Policies in Mobile Personal Health Records. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conference.

The abstract of the article:

EMBC

The huge increase in the number and use of smartphones and tablets has led health service providers to take an interest in mHealth. Popular mobile app markets like Apple App Store or Google Play contain thousands of health applications. Although mobile personal health records (mPHRs) have a number of benefits, important challenges appear in the form of adoption barriers. Security and privacy have been identified as part of these barriers and should be addressed. This paper analyzes and assesses a total of 24 free mPHRs for Android and iOS. Characteristics regarding privacy and security were extracted from the HIPAA. The results show important differences in both the mPHRs and the characteristics analyzed. A questionnaire containing six questions concerning privacy policies was defined. Our questionnaire may assist developers and stakeholders to evaluate the security and privacy of their mPHRs.

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Mobile Usability Study

For my article “Mobile PHRs compliance with Android and iOS usability guidelines”, a short mobile usability survey was conducted to validate the questionnaire in the article. The survey was created online using Google Forms and it was published on my Twitter account. Since some participants asked me if I could publish the results, here they are. The survey contained 13 questions that participants had to evaluate on a scale of 1-5 regarding their interaction with mobile applications.

Participants’ age: between 18 and 51.

Simple writing style. Everything is understandable and simple, avoid unexplained terms or acronyms. 3.64
Pictures used to explain concepts. Pictures to support text for a faster and easier navigation. 3.95
Known icons used for common actions. Same icons for same actions in different apps. 4.18
Vertical and horizontal orientations. Adaptation to different device orientations. 3.59
Preferences are learned over time. Store settings, logs, search history, autocomplete fields, etc. 3.45
Reactions of interactive items. Change color or illumination after the user interacts with an element. 3.64
Messages showing information related to actions that the user needs to consider. 3.55
Acknowleding messages to let you know that an action has been completed. e.g. after updating a set of data a message saying “Updated”. 4.23
Activity indicators for long tasks. e.g. progress bars. 4.27
Fast load of the app. e.g. immediate startup with no splash. 4.00
Delay login/register. Let you test some functionalities of the app before requiring login or register. 3.59
Known structure patterns. Tabs (on the bottom or top), Navigation Drawer (e.g. Facebook mobile app), etc. 3.73
Navigation consistent between hierarchical screens. e.g. Hitting the back button will lead you to the previous page rather than the home screen. 4.23

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Mobile PHRs Compliance with Android and iOS Usability Guidelines

My second accepted article has already been published. For my PhD I write scientific articles that are submitted to scientific journals or conferences. This article is in English and it is published in the Journal of Medical Systems. The Journal of Medical Systems is indexed in the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) and its current impact factor is 1.783.

The Journal of Medical Systems provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of the increasingly extensive applications of new information systems techniques and methods across all health care settings. It features four sections focusing on mobile systems, systems level quality improvement, transaction processing systems, and patient facing systems.

Here is the reference and the link to my article:

Zapata BC, Niñirola AH, Idri A, et al. (2014) Mobile PHRs Compliance with Android and iOS Usability Guidelines. J Med Syst 38:1–16. doi: 10.1007/s10916-014-0081-6

The abstract of the article:

JMS

Mobile Personal Health Records (PHRs) have achieved a particularly strong market share since the appearance of more powerful mobile devices and popular worldwide mobile application markets such as Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play. However, Android and Apple have a set of recommendations on design and usability targeted towards developers who wish to publish apps in their stores: Android Design Guidelines and iOS Human Interface Guidelines. This paper aims to evaluate compliance with these guidelines by assessing the usability recommendations of a set of 24 selected mobile PHR applications. An analysis process based on a well-known Systematic Literature Review (SLR) protocol was used. The results show that the 24 mobile PHR applications studied are not suitably structured. 46 % of these applications do not use any of the recommended patterns, using instead lists or springboards, which are deprecated patterns for top-level menus. 70 % of the PHRs require a registration to be able to test the application when these interactions should be delayed. Our study will help both PHR users to select user-friendly mobile PHRs and PHR providers and developers to identify the good usability practices implemented by the applications with the highest scores.

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Seguridad y Privacidad en Carpetas Personales de Salud para Android e iOS

For my PhD I write scientific articles that are submitted to scientific journals or conferences. The objective is to get them accepted and published. Currently we have 3 papers accepted. One of them has recently been published, the only article written in Spanish. The journal is Iberian Journal of Information and Technologies.

The RISTI (Iberian Journal of Information Systems and Technologies) is a peer-reviewed scientific journal, published by Academy Publisher in association with AISTI (Iberian Association of Systems and Information Technology), which focuses the research and the innovative practical application in the field of information systems and technologies. It is a biannual journal that publishes original and innovative articles accepted in an evaluation process by, at least, three members of the Scientific Council.

The journal is published in electronic and print version. The electronic version is free access and here is the reference (APA style) and the link to my article:

Zapata, B., Niñirola, A., Fernández-Alemán, J., & Toval, A. (2014). Seguridad y Privacidad en Carpetas Personales de Salud para Android e iOS. Iberian Journal Of Information Systems And Technologies, 0(13), 35-50. doi:10.4304/risti.13.35-50

RISTI nº 13

The abstract of the article:

Durante los últimos años, el uso de dispositivos móviles como teléfonos inteligentes y tabletas ha suscitado gran interés entre los proveedores de servicios de salud en el mundo de la mSalud. Las Carpetas Personales de Salud (en inglés Personal Health Record o PHR) móviles proporcionan numerosas ventajas y aunque hay estudios que indican que los pacientes están dispuestos a utilizarlos, los índices de uso son aún bajos. La seguridad y la privacidad han sido identificadas como una importante barrera para lograr su amplia adopción. Haciendo uso de un método adaptado de la revisión sistemática de literatura se identificaron 24 PHRs móviles para Android e iOS. La seguridad y privacidad de estos PHRs móviles fueron evaluadas usando un cuestionario de 12 preguntas. Nuestra investigación muestra que los desarrolladores de PHRs móviles han de mejorar sustancialmente sus políticas de privacidad.

 

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How to export from Zotero to Excel

Some days ago I needed to export a set of references from Zotero to a Microsoft Excel file. I tried to export and import them in Excel using different formats, but none of them was good enough. For example, a single article was imported into several rows, one per author, and that’s not the result that I wanted. Finally I found out the following mechanism although it requires several steps.

  1. Export the database from Zotero using the BibTeX format.Export Zotero
  2. Import it in JabRef as a new database. JabRef is another source bibliography reference manager that uses BibTeX as its native file format. You can download the .jar file from here, so you don’t need to install it.

    Import JabRef

  3. Export the database from JabRef using the OpenOffice Calc format. You can export it using the MS Office XML format, but as I mentioned before, each article will be in more than one row.

    Export JabRef

  4. Open the OpenOffice Calc file and save it as a Microsoft Excel file.

    OpenOffice

  5. Finally, we can open the Excel file and format the results as we like.

    Excel file

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How to find CSL citations styles

Using a reference management software is necessary when writing scientific articles, or any other kind of article, to manage bibliographic data. One of the most popular tools is EndNote, but EndNote is not a free software. I use Zotero instead, which is free and open-source. Zotero is a great tool and works perfectly. The only problem is that the output style that supports the formatting of references required by publishers is usually an EndNote style file, a file with .ens extension. Zotero manages style files with .csl extension.

Currently Zotero provides a list of 6,789 styles in their website here, so this shouldn’t be a problem. But what to do if the required style can’t be found in the Zotero list? Or what to do if you don’t even know the name of the required style? Exploring the styles one by one, even using the search filters can be tedious.

I recently discovered a great solution: the following web page, http://editor.citationstyles.org.

In this web page we can find a style in CSL format by its name, as we can do in Zotero web page, but the interesting functionality is the “Search by example” one.

If you don’t know the name of the style, but know what the final citation should look like, you can use our search by example tool to find styles that most closely match.

So, I want to publish in the journal named “Journal of Medical Systems“. This journal, in the Instructions for Authors section, provides just the .ens file to format the references and gives no specific name for that style, just some examples.

Instructions for Authors

If I try to search it in the Zotero styles page, this journal can’t be found.

Search in Zotero

The solution is using the search by example tool from here. Open the website and write in the inline citation input: “[1]”. In the bibliography input, paste the example given in the journal instructions. Then, click on the Search button. The inputs and results are in the next screenshot.

Gamelin FX, Baquet G, Berthoin S, Thevenet D, Nourry C, Nottin S, Bosquet L (2009) Effect of high intensity intermittent training on heart rate variability in prepubescent children. Eur J Appl Physiol 105:731-738. doi: 10.1007/s00421-008-0955-8

Search by example

The highest match is 18%. Not what we were expecting, right?. This is because we didn’t use the same data than the example shown in the left edge of the screen. We have to edit the bibliography input to include the same information. For this example, change the authors’ name, the year, the title, the journal name, the volume and pages, and the doi. Notice that while we rewrite the fields, the matched information is highlighted in the left box. Click on the Search button again.

1. Watson JD, Crick FHC (1953) Molecular structure of nucleic acids; a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid. Nature 171:737-738. doi: 10.1038/171737a0

Search by example OK

This time we get 99% match. We can view the details of the style, edit it and download it.

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Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Morocco

The Morocco’s National Telecommunications Agency, ANRT (Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications) published in 2013 the survey “Annual ICT Indicators Collection Survey Households and Individuals 2012” available here. The target population was people from 12 to 65 years old living in rural or urban areas with electrification. According to the ONEE (l’Office National de l’Electricité), 97.7% of households in the rural environment have electrification.

The survey shows that fixed line telephony penetration in 2012 was 31%, computer penetration was 43% and internet penetration was 39%. Nevertheless the market penetration of mobile phones reached 92% in 2012: 96% in urban areas and 85% in rural areas. Smartphones had a grow of 30%. The next chart shows the penetration of the studied ICT services.

ICT % penetration

The most popular way to access Internet is 3G.

Internet access

Mobile phones (not smartphones) have the highest penetration level, even in rural areas. Mobile phones are the equipment with the smallest difference in penetration between urban and rural environments.

Computer penetration

Urban computer penetration

Rural computer penetration

Internet penetration in households

Urban internet penetration

Rural internet penetrationMobile phone penetration

Urban mobile penetrationRural mobile penetration

Smartphone penetration

Urban smartphone penetration

Rural smartphone penetration

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