Mobile apps need security just as much as “full-fledged” desktop or web apps. Pentesting is used to check their safety. Despite the relative novelty, in this area of information security, their methods and codes of practice have already been formed, and specialized security testing tools are also used.
What is pentesting for?
Despite some similarities, desktop and mobile operating systems are fundamentally different and require different approaches to security. For example, some vulnerabilities, such as classic XSS, are more relevant to mobile apps. The same with buffer overflows: in mobile applications, it is much less common.
All mobile security issues are mainly related to the storage of personal data. In the truest sense of the word, a mobile phone knows everything about a person and stores much sensitive information: images, videos, voice samples, notes, credentials, location history, and much more.
What Exactly is Checked
Modern mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS apps provide developers with many options for secure data storage and networking. And the mobile applications themselves use the API, which is provided by the backend and also needs to be tested in conjunction with the mobile application. But for these tools to be truly effective, they must be used wisely on Android devices and iOS apps.
Importance of Mobile App Penetration Testing
Data storage, inter-process communication, proper use of cryptographic keys, and secure networking – any of these steps can make a mistake that will cost your application security. Pentest mobile applications help to understand whether there is a possibility of unauthorized access to data.
A valuable find for a pentester will be debugging information or a mobile apps operation log that remained in release builds. Thanks to them, they will understand how the application works, its databases and services, and so on. As a result, it will be easier to find weak spots.
Also, if you do not have a limit on sending SMS, the pentester will fix this. This is a very serious bug because the providers of such services, as a rule, have no limits on the number of messages sent. If an attacker asks your provider for a huge amount of SMS at a time, he will completely exhaust the prepaid package. After that, users will be removed from critical features like verified money transfers, two-factor authentication, and the like. Financial and reputational losses, in this case, are difficult to predict.
If there is a backup copy function, the pentester will check how sensitive information is placed in it.
Finding Vulnerabilities in Used Components
For example, external App Links with other applications are always open. If the mobile apps server does not verify the signature, an attacker can intercept and replace them with their own. In addition, available components that can process requests from other applications on the device are potential targets for attack—for example, activity, one of the main components of the visual interface. Finally, the pentester will check the frameworks and libraries used for binary vulnerabilities – a potential hacker does the same.
Of course, there are many other areas for work. For example, a common weakness is the lack of SSL Pinning. In this case, the pentester will try to read and modify the packets between the server and the application.
Pentesting Software Mobile Apps
There are many free and paid penetration/security testing tools on the market. Below are programs that deserve the attention of pentesters and can be applied in their work. Pentesting tools – help automate and speed up the process of simulating attacks and finding vulnerabilities in software. In addition, they help ethical hackers to better and more effective penetration test software.
Cyver Core is a security testing management platform designed to automate cost control during penetration testing through a digital dashboard, kanban boards, scheduling, task management, and virtual vulnerability library management. The tool uses templates for pentesting; they can be configured according to the wishes of each client to duplicate the work process in the future automatically. In addition, Cyver Core automates the import of tickets from tools, sharing them as results with clients through the cloud portal and importing them into report templates based on the client’s profile.
Invicti Invicti is a web application scanner for security testing. It works automatically and accurately and is easy to use. The program automatically detects security issues such as SQL injections and cross-site scripting (XSS) in websites, web applications, and web services. In addition, this evidence-based scanning technology reports vulnerabilities and creates a proof of concept that confirms that the findings are not false. Thus, there is no point in manually checking for identified vulnerabilities after the scan is complete.
Features of security testing:
- vulnerability assessment;
- advanced web scanning of security vulnerabilities;
- evidence-based scanning technology for accurate vulnerability detection and correct scan results;
- full support for HTML5;
- web services scanning;
- HTTP request constructor;
- SDLC integration; reporting;
- mobile application security testing;
- support of tokens for protection against CSRF (Cross-site Request Forgery);
- automatic detection of pages with 404 errors;
- REST API support.
Burpsuite is a web application security testing tool. PortSwigger Web Security develops it. The tool was created to test the security of web applications. It has three community edition versions: free, pro edition, and enterprise edition. The community edition includes only basic functionality. For example, a burpProxy allows testers to manually intercept all requests and responses between browsers and the target application, even when using HTTPS. In addition to basic functions such as proxy and scanner, this tool also contains advanced options such as spiders, relay, decoder, comparator, sequencer, API extender, and clickbait tool.
It is a comprehensive, open-source, universal framework for security testing, malware analysis, and mobile application security assessment. MobSF can be used for both static and dynamic analysis and also supports mobile app binaries such as APK, XAPK, IPA, and APPX.
MobSF security testing features:
- automatic statistical analysis of mobile applications: analyzes source or binary code to identify critical vulnerabilities;
- dynamic analysis of security vulnerabilities on a real device or simulator;
- identifying vulnerabilities associated with mobile applications such as XXE, SSRF, Path Traversal, and IDOR.
W3af is a web attack and audit platform for web applications. It protects web applications by detecting all their vulnerabilities. The tool identifies more than 200 types of vulnerabilities and reduces the overall exposure of the site to risks. It finds vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), unresolved application errors, incorrect PHP settings, and weak passwords. The tool has both a graphical and console user interface. Security testing features:
- integration of web and proxy servers into the code;
- injecting payloads into almost every part of HTTP requests;
- support for proxy servers;
- HTTP basic and digest authentication;
- adding custom headers to requests;
- processing cookies;
- viewing the cache of HTTP responses;
- DNS cache lookup;
- uploading files in batches.
A search engine uses OSINT (Open Source Intelligent Tools) to collect, process, and present structured information about various network elements. All system users can perform a detailed search on the following network elements:
- domains and subdomains;
- IP addresses and subnets;
- encryption certificates;
- open ports;
- WHOIS records;
- autonomous systems (AS).
Pentest Tools is a suite of over 25 security testing tools available as a free solution. This unique combination of database search software, automatic vulnerability detection, complex network analysis, and proven penetration testing methods makes this solution extremely useful for penetration testers, security experts, and network administrators.
It is possible to find out what vulnerabilities exist in the network and on the website; understand how hackers can take advantage of them. Pentest Tools can also perform surveillance and quickly identify an organization’s attack zone and find targets even during passive scanning.
Security testing can also be used to check for security threats and security testing. The scan provides a detailed assessment of a site’s security in an easy-to-understand report, complete with detailed risk analysis and troubleshooting recommendations. In addition, Pentest Tools can bypass network restrictions by scanning over a VPN while providing fast results to its owners.
Pentest Tools includes 11 powerful API penetration testing tools that can be integrated into web applications, networks, or dashboards. These tools will test and secure applications and networks.
- more than 25 easy-to-use tools with the ability to automate them;
- web vulnerability scanners and CMS;
- network vulnerability scanners;
- special tools for detecting hidden, confidential, and vulnerable files;
- reconnaissance tools to see attack surfaces targeting domains and open ports.
An open-source security testing tool is available in GNU that expert penetration testers use to identify and exploit SQL injection vulnerabilities affecting various databases. SQLmap’s discovery engine can extract valuable data with a single command.
Developers note the following features of the tool:
- support for an out-of-band TCP connection between the database server and the hacker’s machine;
- recognition of password hash formats and support for their cracking;
- search for specific database names, tables, and columns throughout the database – useful for identifying tables containing application credentials;
- support for loading and unloading files from/to databases with which SQLmap is compatible.
NMap is short for Network Mapper. It is a free and open-source security testing tool for network exploration and security auditing. It runs on Linux, Windows, Solaris, HP-UX, various BSD flavors (including macOS), and AmigaOS. The tool determines what hosts are available on the network, what services these hosts offer, what operating systems and versions they use, and what types of packet filters/firewalls are in use. Many systems and network administrators find it useful for performing routine tasks such as network inventory, checking for open ports, managing service update schedules, and monitoring host or service uptime. The tool has both a command line and a graphical interface.
- discovers hosts on the network or security testing;
- finds open ports on target hosts in preparation for an audit;
- used for network inventory, mapping, maintenance, and asset management;
- searches for and exploits vulnerabilities in the network;
- generates traffic for hosts on the web and analyzes responses and their time.
John the Ripper Password Cracker
JTR is an open-source password cracking and recovery tool under the GNU license. It helps to find weak passwords in the system and reveals them. In addition, it can speed up the process of cracking passwords in several modes.
- automatic detection of hashing algorithms used for encrypted passwords;
- the ability to crack different passwords based on different hashes, including password hash types, file system hash, or sensitive data hack;
- divides attacks into 4 main categories: dictionary attacks, security breaches, brute-force attacks, and rainbow table attacks.
Security testing will help you find vulnerabilities in a mobile application that cannot be found in other ways. Thanks to them, you are essentially exposed to a full-fledged hacker attack without any consequences. Furthermore, professional pentesters will help close all your vulnerabilities to protect users’ personal data. Therefore, it is best to seek this service from professionals with many relevant successful cases. As you can see, there are various tools for pentesting mobile applications. However, the choice of tool largely depends on your experience, whether you’ll be doing it yourself or hiring a developer, and, of course, your budget.
That being said, all ten development mobile app security tools included in our list are great options for all individuals and companies.
Pentesting (security testing) is a simulation of the actions of hackers and social engineers aimed at hacking your web applications, mobile apps, mobile devices, and IT services in order to find and fix vulnerabilities.
Yes. Android security testing is a process of finding security vulnerabilities in an android apps
It can be many mobile apps for a smartphone or tablet that will ensure the protection of personal or corporate data.
A mobile security framework is an automated, all-in-one mobile application (Android/iOS/Windows) pentesting, malware analysis, and security assessment framework capable of performing static and dynamic analysis.