26 February 2024

Smartphones and computers have become an extension of ourselves. They store private information, help us manage our money, and let us stay in touch with family and friends. This ubiquitous influence, on the other hand, is both helpful and dangerous.

Mobile apps, which are what make these gadgets work, have risks that aren't always obvious. As of the third quarter of 2023, there were an amazing 2.87 million mobile apps on Google Play alone, and many more on the App Store. According to a recent study from the Ponemon Institute, 70% of mobile apps are open to at least one major security flaw because of how quickly they are changing.

In 2023, a record 4.2 billion personal records were made public due to data breaches. A big part of this scary number came from mobile apps. More than $3.5 billion was lost around the world because of mobile malware. This shows how bad security can cost money.

Mobile app pentesting is a process of testing, for weaknesses in a mobile apps before hackers can exploit them for harm.This important practice finds vulnerabilities in areas such as network connection, data encryption, and authentication methods. It allows developers to patch these vulnerabilities and ensure the safety of user data.

Investing in mobile app penetration testing is no longer a matter of choice; it has become a necessity. Because threats are always changing, taking proactive security steps is the only way to protect user privacy, limit financial losses, and build trust in a digital world where mobile apps are becoming more and more important. It's clear from this start that putting pentesting for mobile apps at the top of the list is not only the right thing to do, it's also necessary in 2024.

5 Important Things to Pay Attention to When Testing a Mobile App

Mobile application penetration testing covers a lot of important areas to make sure full security. To find security holes in mobile apps, these key factors are necessary.

Architecture, Design, and Threat Modeling: In mobile app penetration testing, knowing the app's architecture is very important. This includes architecture, design, and threat modeling. This knowledge makes it possible for human tests to check the app for bugs in its design and structure, making sure that the structure of the app doesn't make it less secure.

Communication over a Network: Unfortunately, hackers can easily steal private user information when data is sent over public networks. For this reason, network connectivity is given a lot of attention during penetration testing. In this case, the path that data takes across networks is closely looked at to find possible security holes.

Data Storage and Privacy: One major flaw that attackers often use is storing private data in plain text. Sadly, a lot of programs store important data like user passwords and API keys in plain text, usually in the Strings.xml file. Penetration testing must carefully check how an app saves data to keep hackers from getting to it.

login and Session Management: It is very important to test for login and session management. This includes looking for problems like whether sessions end properly when the password is changed and whether backup codes for multi-factor authentication are set up incorrectly. These kinds of tests make sure that the app keeps the security and privacy of user sessions.

Misconfiguration Errors in Code or Build Settings: One mistake that mobile app writers often make is not handling error messages properly. During penetration testing, it is important to make sure that the app doesn't show any debug messages or error codes that could let end users see private information about the app. For app security, it's important to make sure that error handling is set up correctly.

Developers can make their apps much safer by thoroughly checking these five areas during mobile app penetration testing. This will protect both the app and its users from possible cyber dangers.

The Process of Penetrating a Mobile App

There are four main steps that make up the process of mobile application security testing:

Step 1: Get ready and find out more

The main goal of this first step is to gather important data that will be used in the hacking test. Important things to do at this time are:

  • Looking at the app's style and architecture to figure out how it works.
  • Making a map of how the app's network-level info moves.
  • Using Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) methods to get more information.

Step 2: Analysis, evaluation, and assessment are the next steps.

After the discovery phase, penetration testers look at the program and rate it. To do this, you have to watch how the app works both before and after it's put on a device. During this time, the following methods are often used:

  • Doing both static and dynamic research.
  • Looking at the structure.
  • Hacking the app from the inside.
  • Looking into the file system and how applications can talk to each other.

Step 3: Taking advantage of

During this step, the app is tested with attacks that are based on real real-world scenarios. This lets you see how well the app handles possible threats. Penetration testers use malicious payloads, like reverse shells or root attacks, to check if the application has any of the known flaws. Exploits that are both custom-made and freely available are used to get around the app's protections.

Step 4: Making a report

After the attack tests are done, a full report is put together. This study describes the attacks that were carried out, including the endpoints that were tested, the amount of damage done, a risk analysis, and the vulnerabilities that were found. It also lists the steps for exploitation and offers ways to fix the problem.

When you carefully follow these steps, Mobile app penetration testing gives you a full picture of how secure an app is, showing you where it's weak and suggesting ways to make it safer.

The best open source tools for testing mobile apps for bugs

MobSF: which stands for "Mobile Security Framework," is an open-source system for automated security testing, malware analysis, and penetration testing of Android apps. It can do both static and dynamic research to find holes in security.

Drozer: is an open-source tool made by F-Secure Labs that is special for checking Android security holes. Users can find security holes in apps and gadgets by simulating different types of attacks.

Clutch: Clutch is an open-source tool made just for iOS that makes it easier to unlock iOS apps. It works with a lot of different iOS devices and versions, and it supports a lot of different systems and binary types.

Cycript: is a flexible open-source tool that can be used on both iOS and macOS. There is a special syntax in Cycript that combines Objective-C++ and JavaScript and lets you explore and change running programs.

Frida: is a dynamic code instrumentation tools that you can get for free and is open source. It works by adding the QuickJS JavaScript engine to the process being looked at, which makes it a powerful testing environment.

Radare2: Radare2 is an open-source tool that can be scripted to disassemble, fix, patch, and analyze binaries. This software works with many different file and architecture types, so it can be used with both Android and iOS apps.

Kiuwan: A SaaS-based static-source-code analytics platform with a distributed engine. It provides seamless security as part of the DevOps process without needing analysis on central servers.

QARK: Quick Android Review Kit, an open source project, is a static-code analysis engine designed to recognize potential vulnerabilities for Java-based Android apps.

Android Debug Bridge: ADB is a command-line tool to communicate with Android devices. You can install or debug apps using a Unix shell.

Codified Security: A static-code analysis tool, it allows pre-release security testing of mobile apps. It supports multiple platforms such as Java, Xamarin, PhoneGap, and more and complies with OWASP, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA regulations.


You can't say enough about how important mobile app pentesting is in today's digital world. As cyber dangers change, it's more important than ever to make sure that mobile apps are safe by doing full penetration testing. Pentesting mobile apps not only finds holes in the security, but it also makes defenses stronger, keeping private user data safe from possible breaches. Taking this proactive approach to security is important for keeping users safe and keeping their trust. By making mobile app pentesting a priority, businesses and developers can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. And, make sure their apps stay safe in a world that is becoming more and more linked. SafeAeon can be your one stop destination to seek permanent solution by robust approach of mobile app pentesting.

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