To improve the resource limitation of mobile devices, mobile users may utilize cloud-computational and storage services. Although the utilization of the cloud services improves the processing and storage capacity of mobile devices, the migration of confidential information on untrusted cloud raises security and privacy issues. Considering the security of mobile-cloud-computing subscribers' information, a mechanism to authenticate legitimate mobile users in the cloud environment is sought. Usually, the mobile users are authenticated in the cloud environment through digital credential methods, such as password. Once the users' credential information theft occurs, the adversary can use the hacked information for impersonating the mobile user later on. The alarming situation is that the mobile user is unaware about adversary's malicious activities. In this paper, a light-weight security scheme is proposed for mobile user in cloud environment to protect the mobile user's identity with dynamic credentials. The proposed scheme offloads the frequently occurring dynamic credential generation operations on a trusted entity to keep minimum processing burden on the mobile device. To enhance the security and reliability of the scheme, the credential information is updated frequently on the basis of mobile-cloud packets exchange. Furthermore, the proposed scheme is compared with the existing scheme on the basis of performance metrics i.e. turnaround time and energy consumption. The experimental results for the proposed scheme showed significant improvement in turnaround time and energy consumption as compared to the existing scheme. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.