Android Penetration Testing – An Introduction

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Android Penetration Testing

Security has always been an important consideration in businesses, but it is more acute in the case of mobile apps. Nowadays, most brands and products use mobile apps to connect with clients faster. Mobile applications have become an increasingly important digital tool for many consumers. In the past five years, mobile devices have become the most popular way for people to use mobile technology in the US. Applications expose huge amounts of data that are often sensitive, so there must be proper protection against unauthorized disclosure.

Basic Understanding of Android Penetration Testing

Android penetration testing aims to detect security vulnerabilities of android applications. Applying systematic methods and approaches for Android apps weaknesses detection, checking the security of applications, and ensuring compliance with security policy are the key tasks of android pentesting. In addition, security researchers apply various tools and methods to simulate android application attacks.

Testing method on Android applications is divided into two broad categories:

  • Static — methods to examine a program by checking its source code and its packages before its run.
  • Dynamic Analysis Method – is used for analyzing applications through execution in real-time.

Finding security vulnerabilities in the android app and fixing them before malicious hackers exploit them is the paramount aim of android pentesting. Android security issues are especially important when operating sensitive data and avoiding any information leakage. Furthermore, since the android operating system is the most popular OS worldwide, mobile app developers and business owners are tuned to save their reputation and appeal to pentesters regularly.

Reasons to Conduct Pentests

It is hard to imagine the life of modern people without android devices and applications that are handy for banking operations, shopping, social networking, communication, data sharing, entertainment, and many others. Unfortunately, they are prone to attacks and can suffer from different hacking techniques. The main reasons for security checks are:

  • App efficiency improvement
  • Clients’ trust gaining
  • Risks detection
  • Elimination of threats related to data breaches

Insecure mobile applications can threaten your privacy. In addition, this software may cause significant financial loss. It is primarily due to the transparency in the Android ecosystem. Furthermore, mobile apps are now vulnerable to cyberattacks. A good way to enhance an iOS device’s security is by performing Android penetration tests. It explains the importance of Android penetration testing and the need for android developers to pay precise attention to security issues.

Things to Be Done during Android Pentest

When conducting an Android pentest, pentesters should consider and execute the following processes to achieve the best results:

Testing Environment Setting

It is required to have an Android emulator or a physical device with the last version of Android to be used as a testing environment to start a pentest. Very often, pentesters use such Android emulators as Genymotion. Despite its simplicity, it can be easily used by developers and testers. Genymotion uses VirtualBox for virtualization in Android VM hosting. Before installing Geny motion, however, you will need VirtualBox. One more tool is Android SDK Platform Tools. SDK Platform Tools are components for Android SDK software applications. This software also provides an interface for Android devices.

Using Genymotion, it is also possible to create a test device and configure it. Besides, Android version 9.0 Pie is required to install an application on the test device using Google Play and install the app on an Android device for testing.

Employ methodology

One of the principal methodologies for Android pentesting is OWASP top 10. Moreover, it covers a wide range of security vulnerabilities. It is worth mentioning that combining manual and automated tools is advisable to get better results. On the list of checked popular vulnerabilities are the following:

  1. Incorrect platform use is essential for timely identification, as it can negatively influence sensitive data and a device. The risks it can lead to are misuse of OS features or failures in security control.
  2. Unsafe data storage is another important vulnerability. Android apps may be stored in various places like servers, cloud storage, and mobile device. However, all the data may be attacked by hackers so pentest may ensure the app’s security.
  3. Unsafe communication is defined as sharing sensitive information via a not completely secure channel. In such a situation, data may be stolen by anyone accessing such a channel.
  4. Unsecure Authentification is one of the top causes of risks connected with the security of personal information.
  5. Broken cryptography. Cryptography aims to protect data from malicious hacker attacks. Any weakness can give access to sensitive data.
  6. Unsecure authorization allows low-level app users to access users’ information with more privileges.
  7. Quality of the client code. If a client code is not of good quality, it may result in different security flaws.
  8. Code intervention happens when hackers exploit Java source code implementing payloads that are usually malicious and can affect business run and money losses.
  9. Reverse Engineering is treated like a mobile app decompiled targeted on app logic grasping. Application’s code may be prevented from reading by code obfuscation.
  10. Extraneous functionality is a target for attackers trying to explore not vivid backend framework functionalities.

Consider tools

Perhaps it is the most important step to achieve the best results in pentesting. Numerous tools can even be free. Among the open source tools that are usually used for Android penetration tests, the most widely used are top looks like:

  • Mobile security framework MobSf is a universal mobile application for pentesting Android, Windows, and iOS, as well as performing malware analysis and even security assessment framework capable of dynamic and static analysis performance.
  • Frida is a toolkit for dynamic testing and security controls and is often applied in reverse engineering and by application developers.
  • Apktool is a tool for Android that is often used for reverse engineering, third-party, closed, binary apps. In addition, using this tool, decompiling any apk file is possible.

Professional pentesters usually focus on issues such as secure data storage, cross-app communication, debugging, authorization and authentication, and code obfuscation.


In short, you can conduct penetration tests for Android apps from multiple perspectives. In many companies, penetration testing on Android apps is needed for accuracy and will last a long time. The penetration test on a device will usually take seven to 10 days. However, the timings can vary depending on the scopes of the testing.

Pentests are vital when operating sensitive data or launching startups. They are also relevant for big and small corporations because of Android popularity and wide application spheres. Anyway, if you want to sleep well, pentests are essential.


Can I do Pentesting on Android?

Pentesting of Android is the detection of vulnerabilities using a methodology usually performed by pentesters. However, it is possible to perform pentest on specific phone models without the help of professionals.

What is mobile application penetration testing?

Mobile penetration tests on the Android OS can identify vulnerabilities in a portable system. Mobile penetration tests are intended primarily to detect vulnerabilities in Android applications before hackers use them in an attempt to hack them. Android penetration testers generally conduct android app penetration tests.

What are the 3 types of penetration testing?

It is accepted to differentiate three pentest types White Box, Grey Box, and Black Box. They differ in the pretest information available.

What is Android penetration?

Android penetration tests are methods for checking underlying security vulnerabilities in Android applications. Android is designed to detect vulnerabilities and improve security from a security angle.