A mobile application is an excellent way for businesses to achieve several feats, including launching marketing campaigns, driving e-commerce, providing omnichannel service, improving customer retention, generating brand awareness, and, most importantly, building user trust.
Maintaining this trust is especially crucial when companies acquire and leverage sensitive user data to improve the quality of their offerings.
While several companies are already in active development or looking to develop their mobile apps, few realize that placing their security on the back burner can adversely affect what they hope to achieve, which might ultimately break the user’s trust.
The primary function of mobile application penetration testing is to avoid such scenarios and help businesses uncover cyber threats present to their security posture before an attacker can exploit them.
Although a comprehensive pen test typically requires in-depth knowledge, experience, and technical expertise, it is common for developers to perform their in-house pentests to fix fundamental flaws in their mobile app before a public launch. Such a task requires the right pen-testing tools capable of deriving sufficient results.
Through this article, we wanted to provide a list of such DIY tools to help developers assess the security of their Android and iOS applications. These top pentesting tools, if used correctly, should increase your ability to evaluate the state of the current security systems and gauge if it is indeed optimally suited to defend themselves from existing and emerging threats.
Here are the best tools available currently to perform your mobile app penetration testing.
OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is an open-source mobile application penetration testing tool widely used by beginners and proficient penetration testers to conduct automated and manual testing.
This community-driven tool was awarded the flagship status due to ZAP demonstrating strategic value to all-around mobile application security and OWASP. It is a multi-language lightweight application available for download as independent packages for platforms including Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
Quick Android Review Kit (Qark), developed by LinkedIn, is an open-source tool that identifies vulnerabilities in an Android application’s source code and APK packages. Besides its ability to run multiple APL decompilers, testers can use it to create ADB commands and fully functional APKs to turn likely vulnerabilities into proof of concept (POC) exploits.
It is noteworthy to mention that QARK doesn’t require testers to root their android devices, as it works to detect Android-based vulnerabilities in realistic environments.
Drozer, developed by WithSecure Labs, is a quick and comprehensive open-source android security assessment and attack framework.
This framework allows users to execute Java code directly on the Android device to communicate directly with other applications through the mobile OS’s internal process communication mechanism.
It will enable users to test Android applications through emulators and physical devices. Drozer allows users to easily extend the test to added modules to perform automated testing for a broader range of vulnerabilities.
Android Debug Bridge (adb) is a widely used command line tool and client-server program for Android security assessments. It allows users to directly communicate with the target Android device and instruct it to perform various actions, such as installing and debugging the mobile application through adb commands.
Android Debug Bridge has three components, client, daemon, and server. While the client runs on the development device through which the tester sends adb commands, the daemon runs the commands on the target device, and the server is a background process that manages communications between the two.
This program can connect to an android device through USB for USB debugging and over WiFi for wireless debugging. It works both on Android emulators and physical devices. ADB is available on commonly used operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Wireshark is a popular network traffic protocol analyzer that can capture network packets transmitted from a target mobile application. The user can then apply filters to the traffic to reduce the noise.
Once identifying the desired package, users can then follow the TCP stream to study the entire conversation in the packet. Wireshark can also check if the traffic is encrypted and identify the protocols used.
Burp Suite is a renowned vulnerability scanner and web application penetration testing platform. Apart from its web app penetration testing and vulnerability scanning capabilities, it can perform security testing for mobile applications, including IoS and Android devices.
To do this, users must configure the target devices to proxy application traffic through Burp Proxy as an intermediary with the browser. By doing so, users can perform penetration testing using Burp Suite by intercepting, viewing, and modifying the HTTP/S requests and responses processed by the mobile application.
However, using Burp Suite for mobile penetration testing requires added attention toward applying proper proxy configurations.
Codified is a well-known and adept mobile application penetration testing tool that provides an easy way for developers and businesses to uncover and address vulnerabilities in their mobile apps. This tool allows users to upload the app files onto the platform, after which it will run automated security assessments to identify vulnerabilities.
Once the files are uploaded, users can select their desired compliance levels and create static analysis engine rules. Based on the static and dynamic analysis results, Codified generates the appropriate reports. These reports will highlight the prevalent risks and the mitigative actions needed to prevent exploits.
Codified supports Android and iOS application penetration testing.
Synopsys Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST) is an on-demand mobile application security testing tool used to increase mobile app security. It uses a combination of static and dynamic tests to locate security vulnerabilities in Android and iOS applications and their back-end components.
This flexible tool allows users to schedule tests, set testing depth, and manage security assessments. As new threats emerge, users can modify the test depth to suit the current conditions. MAST allows users to analyze their server-side and client-side code to root out and address any mobile app security exposures.
You can also review third-party libraries to identify and fix vulnerabilities systemically without accessing the source code through MAST.
iOS Mobile Application Security (iMAS), developed by the Mitre Corporation, is an open-source mobile app pentest tool that focuses on assessing and strengthening the security of iOS applications. It allows users to enforce data encryption, password prompts, tamper prevention, jailbreak prevention, binary patching prevention, and enterprise policies.
In conclusion, regardless of whether you are pentesting a publicly available or yet-to-be-launched application if used right, these tools have unequivocal security benefits to strengthening your mobile application security.
For further assistance in conducting comprehensive mobile application penetration tests, we recommend seeking a professional continuous penetration testing company that will take on the challenging task for you.
SecureLayer7’s mobile application penetration tests identify and mitigate a wide range of vulnerabilities in your Android or iOS applications, including insecure code, authentication, data storage, and platform usage. We quickly uncover and fix other exposures, such as insufficient cryptography, code tampering, reverse engineering, and extraneous functionality.
Our mobile application penetration test follows a comprehensive and systematic methodology consisting of eight stages: Scoping, App API Analysis, Reconnaissance and Enumeration, Static Analysis, Vulnerability Analysis, Dynamic Analysis, Strategic Mitigation, and Patch Verification.
Through these meticulous stages, we will conduct a strategic hybrid testing methodology consisting of static and dynamic tests.
We also check APIs used in the mobile application for business logic errors and OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities. We also assess and pentest publicly hosted API servers to check for NIST compliance.
SL7 further analyzes application algorithms for weak spots and rids back-end servers of security flaws to help developers build a more robust mobile app. Contact us to find out how we identify and mitigate all your mobile application vulnerabilities.