If not already done, security testing should be a mandatory process in application development for all businesses. This need is true for mobile applications, the types of which are constantly growing. Users can download mobile apps for a plethora of personal uses – such as entertainment, finance, communication, etc. – and for commercial reasons.
From a business perspective, when an organization allows employees to download business-related applications to their personal devices, it provides access to internal business affairs, such as collaboration tools or corporate applications. customer relations, human resources and financial management. As a result, an organization can unknowingly open up to security issues when an employee uses a line of business app on their personal device. Unfortunately, it is all too common for mobile applications to violate security standards such as those of the Open Web Application Security Project.
Let’s assess the critical security risks in mobile apps, which aspects of those apps require the most intense security testing, and how to design quality security directly in mobile apps.
Security risks for mobile applications
The paths and endpoints involved in the transmission of data between a mobile device and a server pose critical security risks. While developing mobile applications, hackers can exploit inadequate server-side security control, insecure data storage, data leaks, and device server vulnerabilities. Engineers will need to manage these risks.
Other areas of concern for mobile application security include authorization, authentication, and session management. Secure authentication can be a problem for mobile apps because longer passwords are more difficult to manage on small devices. Additionally, if some apps reuse the tokens for reauthentication, it leaves the app open for hackers to access the tokens and mimic a valid user.
Malware is another potential threat that mobile app developers should be aware of. If the user of an application accesses a malicious application, the malware can also affect the business through the client server.
Security engineering in mobile applications
When it comes to mobile application security, quality engineering goes beyond quality assurance. It is simply more efficient to build security into an application rather than trying to find flaws after development. Most of the critical security issues found in later testing are the result of developers not paying enough attention to security during the design phase.
Additionally, mobile application security testing should focus on exposing threats and vulnerabilities not only in applications, but also in the client-server architecture and APIs where systems access and transmit data.
Developers should perform extensive testing early in app development and continue throughout the deployment to production, that is, moving left and right. Additionally, teams should perform additional security testing before each version upgrade.
Test teams should begin their quality engineering process with a risk assessment during the design phase. The objective of the risk assessment is to examine the nature of the product, including how the application will be accessed and how the data will be stored. Teams can use the information from these risk assessments to develop baselines and security requirements on how to build quality into the application.
A comprehensive testing approach to integrating quality security includes threat assessment, static and dynamic analysis during development, automated analysis, and penetration testing.
Tools for mobile application security testing
It is important that a team uses tools specifically adapted to mobile security.
For example, ImmuniWeb Mobile Suite provides coverage not only for mobile applications, but also for the applications and the servers to which they connect. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is widely used in the security testing industry and provides the ability to send malicious messages for penetration testing. Micro Focus also provides a comprehensive security testing tool that enables end-to-end testing on a variety of browsers, platforms, networks, and servers. Kiuwan is an important tool in security testing because it supports static code analysis and software composition analysis, which allows teams to implement security testing earlier in the development process. .
Security testing for mobile applications is one of the most important aspects of an overall testing strategy. It is important that teams begin security testing early in the software development lifecycle so that they embed security into the product. Security testing coverage should be end-to-end, covering not only the application itself, but also the back-end server and data flow.