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The Fundamentals of Mobile App Penetration Testing for Optimal Security

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon May 10, 2023

In Brief

Need for Mobile Application Penetration Testing

Mobile applications have become a crucial part of the larger IT infrastructure possessed by any business these days. These apps work in integration and interaction with the whole ecosystem that involves network infrastructure, servers, and data centers. Although mobile apps provide amazing flexibility and scalability to any business infrastructure. But they also expand the attack surface of the same business. The increasing use of these applications is luring malicious threat actors to target them. There are several mobile applications on which the whole functioning of an organization is dependent. A successful attack or breach against such an application can bring the whole infrastructure down. This is the reason why pen testing for mobile applications is necessary. For the same reason, multiple organizations offer million-dollar bounties to identify bugs in mobile apps.


of mobile apps do not even pass a basic security test.


of mobile apps at least have one security flaw.


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


of applications installed on a mobile device are not even opened after the initial login.

Fundamentals of Mobile App Penetration Testing

The following are the fundamentals of a mobile app pentesting process:

1. Create a Detailed Plan

To get the most out of a pen testing process, you need to have a robust plan. First, devise a methodology that you will follow as you go about the process. However, each mobile app environment is different from the other. So, e careful while choosing the methodology for pen testing the mobile app.

Consider what aspects of the app you are going to test and plan according to it. There are some processes strictly designed for iOS apps while some are specifically designed for Android apps. Additionally, there are some principles that you can apply to all kinds of ecosystems.

2. Choose the Right Tools

Tools help you automate and streamline your mobile pentesting process. There are several high-performance tools that are available to use for free. While some are proprietary testing software that you need to pay for. Some of the best tools suitable for the purpose are:

  • Cydia
  • Apktool
  • Appcrack
  • Burp Proxy
  • Wireshark
  • Tcdump

Apart from these, you will get other options as well. It is all up to your choice and more on your requirements to choose from all these options.

3. Prepare the Environment for Pen Testing

A great length of detail is required to have in terms of information before you execute pen testing on a mobile application. For example, it is not easy to break into an iPhone. However, if the tester knows what he is up to and has all the required information, he can do it. It all depends on how well you know the app. You can gather the information manually as well as use the available tools for the task.

4. Manage Your Time

Penetration testing is not only about displaying hardcore skills and leveraging automated tools and techniques. Mobile app penetration testing is a lengthy and comprehensive process. It is necessary to have effective time management skills as well. Sometimes you do not need to test the whole application. Running the test over just one portion of it is enough to get you the desired results. However, all this depends on the discretion of the testing professional.

5. Launch Network Attacks

Testing the network along with the application is just as necessary. A mobile device uses network connectivity between the wireless device/smartphone and the server to download an application. Also, the data traffic while using the application is transacted over the network. Therefore, simulation of network attacks is vitally important during the process of mobile application penetration testing to ensure complete safety.

6. Sharpen Your Skills Through Practice

Pen testing is a skill that needs the practice to become sharp and effective. Therefore, you need to do thorough practice of pentesting frequently. The following are some platforms where you can do it:

  • The Androick Project Page
  • Mobisec
  • The Damn Vulnerable iOS Application (DVIA)

Along with adhering to all these fundamentals, it is also important to stay focused, be patient, and be thorough with the pen testing process. It will ensure that you get the best and precise results.

Before You Go!

  • Mobile app penetration testing is a comprehensive process that allows you to strengthen your mobile app security and protect your infrastructure from catastrophic cyber incidents.
  • If you are having issues with your mobile app security, you must get cyber security consultation from an expert near you.


  • cybersecurity consultancy
  • mobile application security
  • mobile penetration testing

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