The mobile application ecosystem is growing at a phenomenal rate. Mostly driven by an expanding penetration of smartphones and telecom bandwidth, the ecosystem has given speed, comfort, and access an altogether new connotation. However, with a plethora of new mobile devices and applications available to be picked up by eager but unsuspecting customers, the concerns for security have risen as well. Not a single day goes without some hacking activity not being reported from around the world. So, even though technology has improved by leaps and bounds, the hackers are not behind either. In fact, their tools and techniques have become increasingly sophisticated and threatening.
Further, in a bid to outshine others and be the first one to catch the customer’s eye, enterprises do not give mobile app testing its due. The result – unsecured mobile apps are hacked at will by cybercriminals at the cost of unsuspecting customers. This apart from adversely affecting the individuals concerned can have a trust deficit for the app company as well. To emphasize why mobile application testing is important, let us cite some facts related to cybercrime.
- On an average, hackers attack every 39 seconds or 2,244 times a day (Source: University of Maryland)
- 57% of global companies have faced phishing or social engineering attacks (Source: Poneman Institute)
- According to Symantec, around 1 in 36 mobile phones contains high-risk apps in it
- Varonis states that around 53% of companies have more than 1,000 sensitive files opened to employees
- The average cost of a data breach globally is $3.9 million (Source: IBM)
It primarily deals with performing functional testing and identifying security-related vulnerabilities and glitches that could lead to hacking. A robust mobile application security testing exercise helps businesses to secure data by ensuring the same do not fall into the hands of unapproved users. It prevents the ingress of malware and outcomes like data breaches, system crashes, reduced throughput, and latency, among others. The areas covered by mobile application security testing include authentication, authorization, confidentiality, availability, and integrity.
Let us discuss various mobile and web application security testing tools and their highlights:
- Zed Attack Proxy: Used earlier for testing web applications, now it is used for both web and mobile application security testing to detect resident vulnerabilities. As it supports the sending of malicious messages, the testers can send a file or request using a malicious message. Thereafter, they check if the mobile app is vulnerable to any such message or not.
- One of the most popular open-source tools for security testing
- Can be used for manual testing
- Backed by a community of developers and experts who provide timely support and upgrades
- Can be used in 20 different languages
- Easy to install and use
- ImmuniWeb: The premium tool covers Mobile OWASP top 10 for mobile app and PCI DSS 6.5.1-10 and SANS top 25 for backend testing. It provides user flexibility, no false-positives, and a money-back guarantee for any false positive. The tool suite offers an online mobile scanner for SMEs and developers to identify privacy issues, validate permissions, and conduct SAST/DAST testing.
- Backend testing along with mobile app testing
- No false-positives
- Backed by a team of security analysts
- Scores for CVSSv3, CVE, and CWE
- Compliant with PCI, DSS, and GDPR
- Virtual patching with WAF using a single click
- Guidelines for actionable remediation
- QARK from LinkedIn: Also known as the Quick Android Review Kit or QARK, the tool has been developed by LinkedIn. Supporting the Android platform, the tool can be used to plan and execute a robust security testing strategy wherein security loopholes in the source code are identified. As a static code analysis tool, QARK helps to detect security risks related to the Android application along with the description of issues.
- Provides a custom platform like APK to detect any potential issues
- It is an open-source testing tool
- Offers detailed information about the resident vulnerabilities and the way to fix them
- Highlights all issues related to the Android platform
- Scans each component of the mobile application for security threats and configuration issues
- iMAS: This open-source security testing tool helps to encrypt application data, prevent tampering of applications, prompt for passwords, and enforce policies on iOS devices.
- An open-source tool
- Offers protection to an iOS app
- Secure sensitive information in memory
- Pre-empt issues like binary patching
Security concerns have enveloped the mobile app ecosystem by a large measure. As these also involve data breaches and hacking of financial records, mobile app makers should execute a strong mobile app testing routine during the SDLC.