SoftHowTo & LifehacksMobile App Penetration Testing: How to Identify and Mitigate Security Risks

Mobile App Penetration Testing: How to Identify and Mitigate Security Risks

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As mobile app usage has exploded in recent years, so too have the number of security risks associated with them. A comprehensive mobile app penetration test can identify these vulnerabilities and help you mitigate them before they can do damage. In this article, we’ll discuss what mobile application penetration testing is, and how you can go about performing it on your application.

Mobile application penetration testing: What is it?

This is a security testing method used to evaluate the strength of an app’s security posture. It is a form of ethical hacking, which involves using the same techniques as malicious hackers, but legally and with permission from the owner of the app. The goal is to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers and help developers fix them before the app is released or asap.

Mobile application penetration testing

There are three main types of mobile app penetration testing:

  • Black-box testing: This is where the tester has no knowledge of the app’s inner workings or the code. They will approach the app as a real attacker would, trying to find vulnerabilities through public information and creative thinking. This type of testing is the most thorough, but can also be the most time-consuming.
  • Grey-box testing: This is where the tester has some knowledge of the app, such as the code or architecture. This type of testing can be more targeted, as the tester knows where to look for vulnerabilities.
  • White-box testing: This is where the tester has full knowledge of the app and its inner workings. They will have direct access to accounts and resources that a real attacker would not have. It’s not very thorough but can be performed quickly.

How to perform mobile application penetration testing?

Now that you understand what mobile application penetration testing is, let’s discuss how you can go about performing it.

Step one: Planning

Before you start the testing process, you’ll need to plan everything out. This includes understanding the goals of the test, what needs to be tested, and who will be performing the tests. Creating a timeline or a roadmap of sorts for the testing process will also be helpful.

Step two: Reconnaissance

The next step is to gather information about the app and its environment. This includes studying the app’s functionality, identifying potential entry points, and gathering information about the network it will be running on.

Step three: Vulnerability assessment

This is where you’ll use various tools to identify vulnerabilities in the app. This can include static code analysis, dynamic application security testing, manual testing, etc.

Step four: Exploitation

This is where you’ll attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities that you’ve found. This can help you anticipate the extent of the vulnerabilities’ impact as well as the strength of the app’s security posture.

Step five: Reporting

The final step is to create a report detailing what you’ve found. This report should include detailed information about the vulnerabilities you identified, how they were exploited, and what steps should be taken to fix them.

Now that we’ve covered mobile application penetration testing, let’s take a look at some of the most common security risks associated with mobile apps.

mobile application penetration testing

Common security risks associated with mobile apps:

  • Insecure data storage: This is where data is stored in an unsecured manner, making it vulnerable to theft or tampering.
  • Insecure communications: This is where data is transmitted in an unsecured manner, making it vulnerable to interception by attackers.
  • Insufficient authentication and authorization: This is where users are not properly authenticated or authorised, which can allow unauthorised access to sensitive data.
  • Insufficient security controls: This is where the app lacks proper security controls, such as firewalls or intrusion detection systems.
  • Poor coding practices: This is where the app’s code is poorly written, making it vulnerable to attack.
  • Lack of updates: This is where the app is not updated regularly, making it vulnerable to known security vulnerabilities.
  • Malware and viruses: This is where the app is infected with malware or viruses, which can allow attackers to gain access to the device and its data.

If you’re concerned about the security of your app, it’s important to perform regular penetration tests to identify and mitigate these risks.

security risks

Conclusion

Most mobile apps house a lot of sensitive data. And like all programs and code written by humans, mobile apps are vulnerable to security risks. Regular penetration tests can help identify and mitigate these risks. Consider penetration testing your mobile app before releasing it and after any updates. If security testing is not your forte, consider engaging the services of a professional testing firm.

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