Mobile apps are the perfect target for cybercriminals. When building mobile apps for Android or iOS platform, it is essential to test for vulnerabilities while developing it – not just when the application is developed completely.
Penetration testing can be included as part of the app development process because vulnerabilities can be easily identified at the early stage, allowing mobile app developers to make some critical changes before the app is developed completely. This saves development costs, ensuring that the final product is safe and secure to use.
What Is Penetration Testing?
In simple words, penetration testing, also known as pentest, is the process of testing your mobile apps for vulnerabilities. The main purpose of this test is to secure important data from outsiders like hackers, who can have unauthorized access to the application and exploit the app to access sensitive information if any kind of vulnerability is identified within it.
Generally, vulnerabilities are introduced by accident during development and implementation phase. Common vulnerabilities include configuration errors, application bugs, and design errors.
Testers use different sophisticated tools and advanced knowledge of IT to identify the behaviour of an attacker, who penetrates the client's app to get information and access to higher permissions without proper authorization.
Penetration testing tools can also be used to identify standard vulnerabilities in the application. These tools will scan code to check whether there is any malicious code present in the system by examining data encryption techniques and figuring out different hard-coded values like username and password.
Penetration testing is important for enterprises because
- Financial apps like banking, investment banking, and stock trading exchange want to keep their data highly secured, so penetration testing is important to ensure security.
- If a mobile app is hacked, the organization can determine whether any threats are available in the application in order to avoid future hacks.
- Proactive penetration testing is the best safeguard against hackers.
Types of Penetration Testing
The type of a penetration test selected depends on the purpose and scope of the company and organization — whether they want to simulate an attack by an employee, a network admin, or external sources. Generally, there are three different types of penetration testing:
In black-box penetration testing, the tester is not provided with much information about the application he/she is going to test and it is the tester’s responsibility to gather information about the target network, system, or application.
In white-box penetration testing, the tester will get complete information about the network, system, or application along with the source code, OS details, and other required information. It can be considered a simulation of an attack by internal sources.
In grey box penetration testing, the tester will have the partial knowledge of the application or system. Thus, it can be considered as an attack by an external hacker, who had gained illegitimate access to an organization’s network infrastructure documents.
Reasons to Perform Penetration Testing for Your Mobile App Prevent Future Attacks by Guessing the Behaviour of Attackers
You can’t be sure about the hackers who may hack your mobile application, backend system, and snipe your important data and information. But what you can do is forecast such scenarios and avoid related risks. You can only guess the behaviour of hackers and discover flaws and vulnerabilities in the code and try to fix them as soon as hackers exploit them. Therefore, penetration testing is the most required security test.
In a penetration test, testers will make use of different tools like Quixxi, Qark, IBM Application Security in Cloud, and Drozer to test the application and know the behaviour of an attacker who may penetrate the application and get access to information and important data.
According to well-known security expert Bruce Schneider, testers will try to break into an application to show that they can or to document vulnerabilities. While performing a penetration test, testers will simulate a remote attack, physical penetration of a data center. or social engineering attacks.
Reveal Critical Vulnerabilities in Your App
Just like a vulnerability valuation, penetration testing uncovers critical vulnerabilities in your application and provides recommendations on strengthening your security. Using penetration tests, testers will scan operating systems, network devices, and applications to identify known and unknown vulnerabilities and make a detailed report containing a complete list of the vulnerabilities and their criticality.
According to the Tony Martin-Vegue, a Senior Manager at Cyber-Crime CSO Online, “It’s one thing to run a scan and say, 'You are vulnerable to Heartbleed' and a completely different thing to exploit the bug and discover the depth of the problem and find out exactly what type of information could be revealed if it was exploited. This is the main difference – the website or service is being penetrated, just like a hacker would do.”
However, the main reason to perform mobile app security tests is that it will go one step ahead of a vulnerability assessment and act upon different vulnerabilities that are found. It mainly identifies different ways to exploit the identified vulnerabilities to discover attacks against a company’s mobile application that has user data. In short, penetration testing will allow you to comprehend to what extent your mobile application’s vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers.
On a Concluding Note
Penetration testing is one of the best security tests for a mobile application to discover vulnerabilities and bugs that may be exploited by hackers. This security test is necessary to perform these days, as security breaches are already making national news and many hacked companies, like Home Depot, are paying big settlement amounts.
Therefore, it is a must to perform penetration testing for every single mobile application that you develop or make sure that you get it performed from the mobile app development agency that develops your application.
If you would like a free telephone consultation without obligation to run through your mobile application testing requirements please call us on +44 203 086 8000 or book appointment in our online diary here