Mobile Application Testing

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Mobile applications, or apps, are increasingly a part of everyday life. Often, apps are fundamental to business operations, and this is becoming the norm. App security is vital, and mobile application testing is something that all companies should partake. Mobile application testing is essentially a penetration test for your mobile app. 

 A security breach through a mobile app can devastate a company with bad publicity and the loss of their positive brand reputation. Companies can also suffer financial implications, including fines for non-compliance with UK regulations.

 With mobile applications processing massive amounts of sensitive data, they have become an ideal target for cybercriminals, who are extremely aggressive in this space.

 Mobile application testing will protect apps and devices against cyber-attacks and the rapidly increasing amount of malware. Operating systems such as iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows all fall within the scope of security testing.

 A valid test looks for data leaks, authorisation errors, authentication errors, and improper session handling. Testing can also include a review of your company’s Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy.

Mobile application security risks

There are different types of cyber-attacks that mobile apps can be vulnerable to:

  • Financial fraud – this includes tampering with payment modules and capturing user logins during input
  • Mobile malware – can be used to steal smartphone credentials
  • Credential harvesting – can change authentication mechanisms to acquire user credentials
  • Circumventing security mechanisms – to disable, change, or remove security mechanisms
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks (MiTM) – intercept your or your client’s data as it moves from the app to the server

The results of in-app tampering can lead to criminals acquiring company keys and secrets, compromising mobile devices, app cloning or repackaging, IP theft, and app privacy.

Mobile app cyber threat testing

Mobile app testing is the offensive action to take to prevent data from being compromised or stolen. It also prevents cybercriminals from penetrating wider parts of your network.

 If your company is developing an app, then security tests should take place during app development, from initial inception through to beta testing. Mobile app testing should also be conducted when third-party developers are creating an app for your company.

Testing covers:

  • Native applications – these are apps created specifically for mobile devices running on Android, iOS, and other operating systems
  • Web and hybrid applications – these appear like native apps but work through a web browser and are written in HTML5, CSS, or JavaScript

In addition to regular app testing, your business should avoid apps that are distributed by third-party app stores and be careful not to rush apps to the market.

Testing methodology

The mobile app testing process begins with gathering information on the app’s design and architecture, including frameworks, platform mapping, and languages. The testing then simulates client-side, server-side, network-side, and Layer 7 attacks.

The comprehensive testing process will consider the scope of your company, the mobile app or apps to be tested, and the desired outcome. You will be provided with a proposal for the work and of any preparation required.

 Evaluation and security testing takes place and is used to create a report of test findings. The report will also highlight remedial actions, and afterwards, a retest can be conducted.

Testing searches for:

  • Insecure data storage
  • Unintended data leakage
  • Poor server-side controls
  • Broken cryptography
  • Weak authentication and authorisation
  • Inadequate transport layer protection
  • Client-side injection
  • Improper session handling
  • API vulnerabilities
  • Poor binary protections
  • Security decision from untrusted inputs

The security company you work with should be CREST accredited and capable of highlighting vulnerabilities and offering critical remedial advice. 

OmniCyber works with companies using few or many apps and those testing their first apps through to those that have tested hundreds. Testing is tailored to your organisation, considering your goals and priorities.

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