The increased penetration of mobile devices as a medium for computing and communications has been accompanied by an increase in the number of security vulnerabilities that have been identified. This blog post will discuss the need for a standardized methodology to be used during pentesting of mobile applications, and outline some possible approaches which could be adopted.
What is mobile application pentesting?
Mobile application penetration testing is a type of security assessment conducted on mobile applications. The objective of performing pentesting against an app will be to identify the vulnerabilities that are present in the code, and then analyse how these can affect confidentiality, integrity or availability of data or operations performed by it.
Need for Penetration Testing Methodology
There is currently no standardized methodology being used during pentesting activities which take place when assessing mobile apps. This poses serious challenges in effectively carrying out security assessments across different platforms with varying technologies involved. Furthermore, each operating system has its own unique pentesting methodologies for achieving certain things, such as patching binaries after they have been coded into production versions (for example iOS). These differences need to be considered when attempting to perform penetration testing across different platforms.
Mobile Application Penetration Testing Methodology Approach #One:
The black box pentesting methodology is one that starts off with the objective of finding vulnerabilities in the system, by trying to exploit any potential flaws which can be found during analysis of its specifications and documentation. This method provides for an understanding of how the app functions from a user’s perspective, but does not provide insight into what goes on behind-the scenes when it interacts with other areas within the system or network infrastructure.
Mobile Application Penetration Testing Methodology Approach #Two:
White box testing offers security researchers knowledge about internal structure through source code access so they are able to understand how data flows throughout components inside the application such as authentication modules and file storage systems. This enables testing of security controls including encryption, secure exception handling and input validation.
Mobile Application Penetration Testing Methodology Approach #Three:
Hybrid approaches offer the best outcome for both the blue team (the defensive side) as well as the red team (attackers). This involves having a combination of black box vulnerability discovery with white box penetration tests to identify any potential issues which could exist in an application’s code base. This is achieved by first utilising reverse engineering techniques on binaries that are disassembled into assembly language, then mapping out their structure before finally identifying each component within it. The approach can also include manual human-based exploration where testers will manually review the source code to search for vulnerabilities without paying attention to its internal structure or how data flows throughout the system.
Mobile Application Penetration Testing Methodology Approach #Four:
Pen-testing methodologies can also be benchmarked against an application’s overall architecture, to determine the areas which are more likely to have vulnerabilities present in them given their usage being higher. For example, authentication modules are required for users to access certain functions within a mobile app so they will need to process user credentials and access control lists before or after granting specific permissions depending on whether or not it is necessary for the task at hand. If these modules do not include security controls such as encryption, secure exception handling and input validation then there is greater chance of having bugs that could result in potential exploitation attempts by bad actors who attempt penetration testing activities targeting the app itself rather than its architecture.
Mobile Application Penetration Testing Methodology Approach #Five:
The manual approach is one that utilizes a combination of techniques such as information gathering, automated scanning and source code review to identify any vulnerabilities which may be present in an application. There are also penetration testing tools available on the market which can carry out certain types of tests automatically without creating any code or learning how an app works from its documentation. This method provides for more time spent analysing binary files but saves testers considerable amounts of effort when it comes to combing through results generated by their tool sets afterwards and identifying potential issues like XSS (cross-site scripting) bugs, SQL injection remote command execution attacks and SSRF (server side request forgery).
These different approaches will depend on the type of penetration testing that companies are interested in carrying out. Each one offers benefits which can be used to carry out different types of activities including assessing an app’s security posture before it is available for release, identifying vulnerabilities during development stages and evaluating its overall risk level when being tested after being deployed into production environments.
As we’ve seen, mobile app penetration testing is a valuable and necessary step in the development process. It can help identify flaws that put company data at risk before it becomes too late. Mobile app developers should be continually performing this type of security audit to ensure they are doing their best to protect both consumers and business data from malicious actors who would do them harm. This concludes our blog post on how mobile app penetration testing helps companies secure their applications.