Meet the Package Owners: Santosh

I thought it would be a good idea to introduce the package owners in the security technology domain; these good people don’t work for the Symbian Foundation, but they do work very hard on the Symbian Platform code, and deserve public recognition for that :-).

We thought we’d try an interview format for these introductions, and Santosh Patil, owner of the OS Security package, bravely volunteered to be the first up.

Santosh Patil

Q: How long have you been working with Symbian code? What did you do before that?

I have been working with Symbian code for over three years now, from the time I joined “old” Symbian. Prior to that I was in an entirely different area! Something much larger in size; I was working on automated control systems for controlling large freight trains carrying iron ore. I was doing this work while consulting for GE Transportation Systems through Tata Consultancy Services.

Q: What packages do you work on, and what are they used for?

I work on the Security package which is in the OS layer. Directly or indirectly, one or more components of the security package would most likely be used when dealing with anything related to security or data privacy. This could be securing the data present on the phone (encryption) or securing the data communications of the phone. The security package also provides higher level services such as authorization which is used by many system servers to present uniform, unobtrusive prompts and the Content Access Framework which provides unified access to both unprotected and DRM-protected content.

Q: Are there any projects you would encourage newcomers to get involved in?

I’d like all new developers to try out our APIs and provide feedback (and possibly contribute enhancements) so that we could together improve the overall offering of the Symbian platform for securing the device. Specifically, there are opportunities to contribute alternate implementations of cryptographic algorithms (ECC?) and authentication plugins for the soon-to-be contributed authentication server.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge for mobile device security?

Ensuring fool-proof security is really hard. Being able to do the “right” thing without expecting the user to know about and therefore knowledgeably answer security questions is one significant challenge that I see.

Q: Which is your favourite Symbian-powered device?

My current (and they change often!) pick would be the Nokia 5800.

Q: When you’re not working on Symbian code, what do you like to do for fun?

Trek in the jungles away from mobile networks (it’s getting harder to find such places these days!) or fly radio-controlled planes.


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