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Mobile computing has revolutionized both our personal and professional lives. This paper discusses the benefits offered by mobile computing and provides an overview on the mobile communication architecture. We also survey the current security risks present in the mobile computing infrastructure and suggest methods to counter them.


 1 Introduction

Mobile computing has revolutionized both our personal and professional lives. It has opened up opportunities and avenues for us to explore which were hitherto unthinkable. Ubiquitous and pervasive computing have become part of our daily lives, so much so that professionals are expected to be replying to business emails on the move as well as have access to critical business information on the fly. The concept of mobile computing has had immense benefits in situations like disaster recovery and emergency response. As expected, mobile computing has its own pitfalls – data security and privacy.

With the exponentially rising cyber attacks on businesses by hacktivists, nation statesand cyber- criminals; hardening of devices, securing technologies and safeguarding business related and personal data has become of utmost importance to the information technology industry. In this paper, we will refer to the scope of Mobility and Mobile Databases as defined by Lubinski (1998) [6] . Mobility refers to the ability of a user to stay ambulatory with respect to the environment, location, other persons and terminals. As an example, say the user is able to use his laptop with a fixed network in a new office location or connect to a hotel Wi-Fi and be able to perform the same tasks seamlessly. This leads us to define mobile databases as a system of distributed databases over the network as opposed to a central database on a fixed host.

The other significant idea that we touch upon in this paper is high level principles of informa- tion security and related terms used to refer to common attacks in the mobile database space. The basic objectives of any information security policy or implementation are confidentiality, integrity, availability of resources under consideration, accountability and non-repudiation. Information leakage, denial of service, misuse of information, data integrity and privacy vi- olation are just a few of the security threats that mobile databases currently face. We will look into each of these aspects in greater detail in the coming sections.



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One of the most popular activities on the Web is shopping. It has much allure in it — you can shop at your leisure, anytime, and in your pajamas. Literally anyone can have their pages built to display their specific goods and services.

1.1 Background to Study

History of ecommerce dates back to the invention of the very old notion of “sell and buy”, electricity, cables, computers, modems, and the Internet. Ecommerce became possible in 1991 when the Internet was opened to commercial use. Since that date thousands of businesses have taken up residence at web sites.

At first, the term ecommerce meant the process of execution of commercial transactions electronically with the help of the leading technologies such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) which gave an opportunity for users to exchange business information and do electronic transactions. The ability to use these technologies appeared in the late 1970s and allowed business companies and organizations to send commercial documentation electronically.

Although the Internet began to advance in popularity among the general public in 1994, it took approximately four years to develop the security protocols (for example, HTTP) and DSL which allowed rapid access and a persistent connection to the Internet. In 2000 a great number of business companies in the United States and Western Europe represented their services in the World Wide Web. At this time the meaning of the word ecommerce was changed. People began to define the term ecommerce as the process of purchasing of available goods and services over the Internet using secure connections and electronic payment services. Although the dot-com collapse in 2000 led to unfortunate results and many of ecommerce companies disappeared, the “brick and mortar” retailers recognized the advantages of electronic commerce and began to add such capabilities to their web sites (e.g., after the online grocery store Webvan came to ruin, two supermarket chains, Albertsons and Safeway, began to use e-commerce to enable their customers to buy groceries online). By the end of 2001, the largest form of ecommerce, Business-to-Business (B2B) model, had around $700 billion in transactions.

According to all available data, ecommerce sales continued to grow in the next few years and, by the end of 2007, ecommerce sales accounted for 3.4 percent of total sales.

Ecommerce has a great deal of advantages over “brick and mortar” stores and mail order catalogs. Consumers can easily search through a large database of products and services. They can see actual prices, build an order over several days and email it as a “wish list” hoping that someone will pay for their selected goods. Customers can compare prices with a click of the mouse and buy the selected product at best prices.

Online vendors, in their turn, also get distinct advantages. The web and its search engines provide a way to be found by customers without expensive advertising campaign. Even small online shops can reach global markets. Web technology also allows to track customer preferences and to deliver individually-tailored marketing.

History of ecommerce is a history of a new, virtual world which is evolving according to the customer advantage. It is a world which we are all building together brick by brick, laying a secure foundation for the future generations.


1.2 Problem Statement

The 21st century has witnessed dramatic transformation in the financial sector as advances in IT have created new ways of handling financial transactions through various e-commerce platforms. The commerce world and Cameroon’s business sector in particular is being digitized, such that any type of business (commercial) data is transferred across the Internet. As a result, different types of businesses from consumer based retail sites, through auction or music sites, to business exchanges of goods and services are traded between individuals and companies electronically. It is currently one of the most important aspects of the Internet to emerge, as online business is absolutely convenient on 24-hour availability, with no barriers of time or distance and a generally efficient customer service. E-commerce could operate in all four of the major market segments in Cameroon: business-to-business (supplier management, distribution management, and channel management.), business to consumer (Online shopping), consumer to consumer (Auctions sales) and consumer to business (requesting information through web platforms).

Despite a rising number of players and new entrants in the market, online shopping in Cameroon has not yet been embraced as much as it has been in South Africa and Nigeria. According to 2013 World Bank data, only 6.4% of its 22 million population are internet users. Yet despite the limitations e-commerce faces, the industry does hold strong potential. This is due to Cameroon’s less developed formal retail sector (with Nielsen estimating that 98% of shopping happens informally) and consumers increasingly looking for unique and ‘trendy’ deals. As such this research seeks to identify the challenges facing the ecommerce sector in Cameroon at its infant stage and to suggest ways forward.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study was to identify the challenges facing the Ecommerce sector in Cameroon at its infant stage and to suggests ways forward.

Specific Objectives

The specific aims of the study are:

  1. To identify advantages associated with the use of electronic ecommerce facilities.
  2. To identify the challenges facing the E-commerce users and how to address them.
  3. To find out if ecommerce has an effect on the lives of users.

1.4 Research Question

Based on the above stated objectives, the following research questions are asked: 

  1. What advantages do E-commerce users have over non-users?
  2. What factors affect adoption of E-commerce in Cameroon?
  3. Does electronic commerce have an effect on the lives of users?

1.5 Hypothesis

From the problem statement, objectives of the study and research questions, the following hypothesis are formulated:

Null Hypothesis: electronic commerce does not have any effect on the lives of consumers and sellers, and the economy as a whole.

Alternative Hypothesis: electronic commerce has an effect on the lives of the consumers and sellers, and the economy as a whole.


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