The standard methodology of mobile app security testing consists of application mapping, attack vectors, exploitation and network layer. The highly challenging task is to understand the security aspects of applications.

Mobile Application Pentesting

Mobile application security has become one of the significant security concerns in information security. Over the past years, it has grown with new challenges and solutions to address identified flaws in mobile architectures, Applications, and services. Today, millions of users who use smartphones used mobile applications to complete day to day activities.  With this rapid increase in browsing the internet, social networking, mobile applications need to thoroughly tested. Preparing a security testing plan is a foundation on mobile application pentesting. To have a flashed testing plan, penetration tester needs to understand contexts like application functionalities, platform, user inputs, limitations, Network communications, etc. Without having a proper testing plan, it would nearly become a bottleneck in testing.  The standard methodology which has followed in pentesting is as follows.

Application Mapping

In this phase, information gathering is performed based on the application. Information gathering is time-consuming, and it also provides the essential foundation to move to the next steps in building and performing pentest. In information-gathering, pentester can reveal application architecture, programming languages used to develop.

Attack Vectors

Gathered information mapped in to attack vectors to build an exploitation plan. Information was analyzed and mapped with security flaws that provide access to the mobile. To cross-check with available vulnerabilities, the pentester needs to have a thorough understanding. In this phase, analyzing file systems, configurations, check with known vulnerabilities is mostly done.

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Exploitation

Exploitation is the most challenging face that a pentester can face. Since Suggested exploits with corresponding vulnerabilities are matched. In this phase, many attack vectors are tested to gain access. Out of that authentication, identify and access control, input validation, session management, and error handling feature tested. Identify validation and authentication features that are tested based on attacks such as brute force. Most mobiles and applications are now developed to withstand with password authentication attacks.

Standard exploitation methods that can be found in most applications and devices are input validation and encoding. Most of the techniques used to find vulnerabilities in native applications are similar to the penetration testing web app. In-depth analysis in binary and file helps to discover insecure API calls and files with adequate access controls. There are some tools to find out insecure files such as IDA Pro or the Hopper App that debugs and analyzes the code. Code analyzes provide a high chance of identifying security flaws such as buffer overflows, remote code execution, etc.

Network layer

All most all mobile applications operate under client-server architecture. Since network attacks are one of the most concerning security aspects. Network traffic can be intercepted and monitored with protocol analyzers such as Wireshark and sniffers. With this data-in-transit and store in the mobile device are at risk. Observing requests and responses between application and servers uncover vulnerabilities such as authentication, session management. It’s almost harder to find out unencrypted protocol usage in modern applications. Decrypting data also include as a part of network layer application inspection

With all the mentioned above aspects, the most challenging task is to understand the security aspects of applications. Continuous learning and practice can help to better understand the security risks associated.

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