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Common Mobile App Security Vulnerabilities and How Penetration Testing Can Help

icon Posted by: Hasan Sameer
icon April 28, 2023

In Brief

Mobile Penetration Testing

Mobile penetration testing is the methodology used for testing mobile applications, software, and operating systems. The purpose of this testing is to identify and eliminate security vulnerabilities. The process is either manual or automated, or it can be a combination of both techniques. Security teams use mobile pen testing to uncover the security flaws that can potentially compromise a mobile application. It is done to make sure that the target app is not susceptible to online attacks. Security assessment for mobile apps is a complex and comprehensive process. And mobile app pen testing is an important part of this whole process.


of mobile applications are diagnosed with at least one major security vulnerability.


of applications in a mobile device remain untouched/unused after the initial login.


of applications with five to ten million downloads contain vulnerabilities.


of all applications available on the Google Play Store have at least one security flaw.

5 Common Security Vulnerabilities in Mobile Applications

The increasing popularity of and adoption of mobile applications has made them a lucrative target for hackers. They attack these applications particularly to get their hands on critical data and confidential information worth billions stored in these applications.

Security vulnerabilities are what allow attackers to breach through the perimeter of mobile applications. Some common ones among these vulnerabilities are the following:

1. Unsecure Coding Practices

For most development teams, copy-pasting has become a common coding practice. Especially beginner developers copy and paste codes to make things easier and save the day. This surely does help. But it can make your code vulnerable. There is a fair chance that you copy a code that has been intentionally made malicious by a hacker. Using such shady code snippets might turn out to be an expensive mistake. Therefore, it is recommended not to copy code blindly. Also, never download frameworks or libraries that are not verified. You can use mobile app penetration testing to identify malicious codes and sanitize them.

2. Insecure Data Storage

Your data is the most valuable commodity within an application or any other aspect of IT infrastructure. Most often, people are under the misapprehension that data on their mobile devices are safe and secure. That would be the truth only when they store sensitive data in keychain pairs to protect it. Moreover, insecure data storage is also a result of not encrypting the stored data. If the mobile application is saving data/information in any form, it must be encrypted. Otherwise, data leaks or breaches are always around the corner.

3. Insecure Communication

Mobile apps communicate by transmitting information through the public Internet or carrier networks. If this communication is not secure, it might lead to account theft, identity theft, fraud, or reputational damage.

4. Weak Authentication/Authorization

If the users of an application are in full control of their authentication protocols, they are certainly in trouble. For instance, if they can set any password, they are most likely to make mistakes. These days hackers are equipped with advanced tools and algorithms that can easily break weak passwords.

5. Poor Input Validation

It is a traditional security vulnerability that has been responsible for a lot of application breaches. The problem is that most developers are not aware of this mechanism and how to protect the application against it. It is necessary to validate the data that users enter into the application to ensure safety.

So, these are the 5 major security vulnerabilities that you will come across. Now, let us see how penetration testing can help us against these vulnerabilities…

The Role of Mobile App Penetration Testing

Mobile app pen testing involves the simulation of a real-world attack on the target application to highlight its weak points. It covers the following aspects:

  • Architecture, design, and threat modeling
  • Network communication
  • Data storage and privacy
  • Authentication and session management
  • Misconfiguration errors in the code.

After all the security loopholes are highlighted, testing teams recommend adequate measures to remediate the security issues. This helps you improve the security posture of your application.

Before You Go

  • Penetration testing for mobile applications allows you to audit the complete security posture of the app. Plus, it also recommends the best ways to improve the current state of security.
  • However, it is a complex process. You must always seek assistance from expert cyber security services for executing such a process.


  • Application Security
  • cybersecurity service providers
  • mobile application security
  • mobile penetration testing

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