What is Mobile Application Penetration Testing?

The evolution of technology was started nearly a decade ago. That was when we all began to realize about the IT industry and IT Technologies, and that was the time we all learned how and what can be done with computer systems.

Gradually it became possible to send and receive money online over the internet instead of going to the bank in person and waiting in a long queue, even for a small transaction. Due to this demand, all banks have started their online operations.

On the other hand, did we all feel at ease and secured using this feature right from the start? The response that most of us would say is “NO.” Because when the question is about money, we think twice.

When a new thing is launched, we want to ensure that it is safe all features; all the websites that we use these days go through numerous phases of security checks before they are accessible to the public. Now the approach is changing over again, and we want the whole thing to happen at a click of a button which is only possible using Mobile Applications.

With any download comes the risk of malicious attacks. For the same reason & to ensure their app gets preferred over others, the app developers should make sure that their apps are effectively tested for security before they upload on the app stores for user downloads.

In this blog we will brief about what is Mobile Application Penetration Testing

Mobile application penetration testing emphasizes directly on the mobile application and is usually dynamic, which means the assessment is led while the application is running. But, in some cases, the source code can be made available for testing to help with susceptibility and security issue identification.

Why perform Mobile Application Penetration Testing?

Help Identify and Secure Against Security Risks

Mobile app security testing offers a comprehensive assessment of your mobile application helping find security risks in your mobile applications. Precise remediation information is provided with consultant-assisted remediation guidance, helping you understand and secure your mobile applications.

Mobile Application Security Testing Methodology

Collecting Information

The first step of Mobile App Security is to understand the target application’s purpose and assess its functionality. This information helps to correctly scope and evaluate the level of effort required to perform the security testing.

  • Application Type – Application type (mobile web, native, cross-platform)
  • Application mapping – manually evaluating the application’s functionality and understanding how the application would function.
  • Identifying network interfaces the application uses
  • Determining what network protocols are in use
  • Determining if the application performs payments processing / commerce transactions and how these are stored
  • Determine what hardware is in use – GPS, Bluetooth, TouchID / Camera / Microphone etc.
  • Identify any third party library / software / frameworks are in use
  • Determine if the application interacts with any other applications
  • Assessing server side information to determine what hosting platforms (AWS, Azure, Rackspace, Heroku etc) and technologies (Development language, Single Sign On, 2FA, API’s) are in use
  • Build the Test Environment
  • Static Analysis – SAST (Static Application Security Testing) – SCR (Secure Code Review) – SCA (Static Code Analysis)
  • Dynamic Analysis – DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing)
  • Reporting
  • Retesting

Below are Some Best Practices to Follow When Conducting Mobile Application Penetration Testing

1. Create a detailed plan

To get the most successful results from Mobile Application Penetration Testing, you need to initially develop a process for how you plan to go about it. Each mobile application environs is going to be different from one another. So, you should cautious about what exactly needs to be tested.

2. Pick the Right Penetration Testing Tools

There are many Penetration tools available — some are available for free to use, and some need to be purchased. Selecting the right one(s) will mainly depend on the environment you are using. Below are a few of the most popular Mobile Penetration tools available:

  • Cydia
  • Apktool
  • Appcrack
  • Burp Proxy
  • Wireshark
  • Tcdump


Prepare a Detailed Penetration Testing Environment

You must plan your Penetration Testing environment in a high level. It is also necessary to conduct a real-time testing in order to discover what the security complications will be.

4 .Manage Your Time Wisely

Depending on the scale of the Penetration Testing you are performing, you will need to have real time management skills as well. For example, there may be times when you are not testing the entire mobile application, just one portion of it. Therefore, use the right amount of time to do the test, and move on to the next item without forgoing.

5. Launch Server Attacks

The another important aspect is to test the server environment and the server the app is hosted and downloaded from. To do so, one of the more popular tools to use is Nmap.

Some aspects that need to be Penetration Testing here include:

  • Any authorized and unauthorized file uploads
  • Any open redirects
  • Cross-origin resource sharing

6. Make use of Source Instrumentation

Create a unique piece of code and layer it onto the source code, which is already developed. The main goal of this is to create a “backdoor” to inspect the source code objects at a much more high level. Together with this, you can identify any unidentified errors or flaws in the source code that might prove a security vulnerability.

7. Conduct both Binary and File-Level Analyses

In this aspect, you are Pentesting for specific application programming interface (API) calls that are integrally weak and those files with poor quality access control embedded into them. In this case, you should also check for the following:

  • Buffer overflows
  • Examining the potential for SQL Injection based attacks

8. Always keep Mobile App Penetration Testing skills sharp by regularly practicing

It is essential to keep your skills sharp by regularly practicing as frequently as you can. Below are some of the websites which offer tools in which you can further (and safely) refine your Penetration Testing skills:

As a Software development agency founded in the UK with more than a decade of working experience, The Dev and Test Guys team has provided software testing services for companies across various domains. In addition to code reviews and software consulting, we offer testing outsourcing and documentation services to companies worldwide.

We believe your software is only as good as the people who test it. Our professional, hands-on, and results-driven quality assurance engineers and testers are on a mission to help companies build value into their products and improve their users’ digital experience.

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