Service Details

Mobile Application Assessments

Our Process

Manual Methodology

Forza Ops’s mobile application penetration testing delves deeply into the intricate layers of mobile apps to uncover potential vulnerabilities. While automated tools can swiftly identify surface-level issues, they often fall short in recognizing complex vulnerabilities that require a deeper understanding of the application’s architecture and logic. A manual testing approach is crucial for this reason. It begins by comprehensively analyzing the application’s architecture and underlying code, if applicable. Then, testers simulate real-world attacks, exploring various attack vectors, from insecure data storage and weak encryption to misconfigured server endpoints. Emphasizing manual methods also allows for the identification of chained exploits, where multiple lower-risk vulnerabilities combine to create a significant threat. Overall, while automated scans provide a valuable starting point, it’s the manual, hands-on assessment that offers the most holistic view of a mobile app’s security posture, ensuring a thorough and robust evaluation.

What to Expect

Static Analysis

During the static analysis portion of a mobile app penetration test, there’s an intricate examination of the application’s underlying code, whether provided or reverse engineered, and architecture. The application’s source code is inspected for insecure coding patterns and practices. Special attention is paid to how the app locally stores data on devices, ensuring there’s no unencrypted sensitive information or inappropriate storage mechanisms. The analysis also identifies potential pitfalls like hardcoded secrets, e.g., credentials or API keys. Also during static analysis, the tester will review third-party libraries and dependencies the app might rely on, ensuring they are up-to-date and devoid of known vulnerabilities. Finally, protections against reverse engineering, like code obfuscation or anti-tamper mechanisms, are evaluated, as is the examination of configuration files for potential security oversights. Through this comprehensive static analysis, vulnerabilities are pinpointed from a code-level perspective, providing valuable insights into the app’s security posture.

Dynamic Analysis

During the dynamic analysis phase of a mobile app penetration test, the application is actively executed in a controlled environment, simulating real-world user interactions and behaviors. Using powerful tools like Frida and Objection, testers dynamically inject code to manipulate the application’s runtime, gaining insights into its operational security. This stage often starts with intercepting and analyzing network traffic, ensuring data is both encrypted and securely transmitted. Monitoring the app’s interaction with the device’s file system, databases, and shared preferences reveals potential data leakage or mishandling. The runtime analysis offers an opportunity to bypass client-side controls, checking the robustness of security mechanisms. Testers also simulate common threats such as man-in-the-middle attacks to see how the application responds to tampered data or unauthorized server responses. The handling of sessions and tokens is observed in real-time, making sure that they’re securely managed. Overall, dynamic analysis paints a holistic picture of how the app behaves under various conditions, ensuring it can fend off real-time threats.

Pre-engagement
3
Pre-engagement

Scoping

Before any assessment, the preliminary phase is defining the scope and engagement details. Scoping entails determining the range of systems, networks, or applications to be tested. Any restrictions or constraints will also be set at this time to ensure a controlled and targeted assessment aligns with the customer’s needs.

Engagement
3
Engagement

Active Testing

With a well-defined scope, the active testing period will begin next. This phase is where the tester will put “hands on the keyboard” and actively probe and attempt to explot any in-scope systems in order to uncover vulnerabilities. Any discovered vulnerabilities are assessed on how they might be leveraged by a malicious actor as well as their impact on the organization.

Post-Engagement
3
Post-Engagement

Reporting and Review

The reporting and review phase is a critical phase of a penetration test. Any findings discovered during testing will be compiled, analyzed, and delivered in a thorough report. The final report will be debriefed to stakeholders in order to discuss any findings, provide technical explanations, and offer remediations and guidance on how to harden the in-scope systems. This phase ensures the organization fully understands the risks and can prioritize and implement effective countermeasures.

Elevate Your Cybersecurity Posture

Challenge your defenses with a mobile application penetration test.

Mobile App Penetration Testing FAQ

Mobile vs. Web
How is mobile app pentesting different from web app pentesting?
Static vs. Dynamic
What's the difference between static and dynamic analysis? Do I need both?

Mobile App vs. Web App Penetration Testing

Mobile app penetration testing and web application testing are both critical components of an organization’s security posture, but they target distinct environments and come with their unique challenges. Mobile app penetration testing focuses on evaluating applications designed for mobile platforms like Android and iOS. It delves into the app’s codebase, storage mechanisms, data flow, and how it interacts with backend APIs. Mobile app testing also factors in the offline nature of some functionalities and the vulnerabilities that could arise when the app is disconnected from the internet. In contrast, web application testing concentrates on applications that run in a web browser, addressing threats related to web servers, databases, and client-server interactions. This includes vulnerabilities like SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), among others. While both testing types share some common ground, the techniques, tools, and areas of focus differ considerably, reflecting the distinct nature of the platforms and threats they face.

Static and Dynamic Analysis

Static and dynamic analysis are complementary techniques in mobile application penetration testing, and leveraging both provides a comprehensive security evaluation. Static analysis, examining the app’s codebase without executing it, offers deep insights into potential vulnerabilities originating from coding errors, misconfigurations, or insecure coding practices. It allows for a thorough review of the app’s logic, data flow, and architecture. On the other hand, dynamic analysis evaluates the app in a running state, simulating real-world attack scenarios. This method can identify vulnerabilities that manifest only during runtime, such as insecure data storage, weak encryption, or session management issues. While each analysis type has its strengths, combining both ensures a holistic assessment of the mobile app’s security posture, capturing a broader spectrum of vulnerabilities and threats. In essence, to achieve a robust security assessment, it’s advisable to utilize both static and dynamic analysis methodologies.

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