Security Testing for Mobile Apps: Protecting User Data and Privacy

10Jan, 2024

In this era of mobile applications, we all are completely dedicated to our smartphones to complete any tasks. From staying in contact with the family to keeping an eye on the banking accounts, mobile apps are helping us at a rapid pace. Because of this widespread use of mobile apps, mobile app security testing is a prime term to consider. The security testing for mobile applications ensures security against threats and vulnerabilities.

Do you know that 98% of mobile applications open their doors to hackers? Yes, it’s true! Most of the applications have security issues and give opportunities for hackers to sneak. Among them, 75% of applications can’t even pass the basic security tests. The above-discussed statistics show the importance of security testing. In this blog, we are going to talk about mobile app security testing services and their significant practices to keep the application secure.

What is Mobile App Security Testing?

Mobile app security testing is all about the process of testing the app security and addressing the risks. The main goal of security testing is to evaluate the security flaws and offer suggestions to fix them. During the process of security testing, the team of testers gathers all the data about the architecture of the application, potential attacks, functionalities, etc. The team of testers identifies the potential weaknesses of an application, like verification issues and unnecessary messy setups, to identify the vulnerabilities.

Mobile application security is necessary to detect the risks that could be utilized by hackers. It helps organizations detect their flaws before hackers damage their reputations in the market. Regular mobile app security testing online is a necessary concern, which assists in safeguarding data, administrating consistency & keeping the brand reputation high.

Importance of Mobile App Security Testing

After understanding what is mobile app security testing let’s check its importance. Mobile application security is a rising issue that has given nightmares to multiple businesses. With the rising advancement of software security testing services tools, the risks of cyber threats are also increasing. Data leakage is a poor mobile app security risk caused when sensitive data is transferred without authorization because of inadequate security measures. For example, if a user inputs his credit card information into any application that has weak security, then there is a high chance that it can be stolen.

The security threat can be caused by poor coding, insufficient data encryption, and outdated software. Data leakage can also be possible when you are not using an application for longer. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize the mobile app vulnerability assessment measures to avoid these conditions.

Security testing of mobile applications works like the savior of any organization. Security testing in mobile application compliance with the safeguarding of sensitive data, evaluating flaws & the risks associated with them. It ensures the application meets all the regulatory requirements & avoids financial losses. By regular mobile app security testing, you can foster your brand reputation.

Here is why mobile app security testing becomes a necessity for avoiding mobile app security threats-

  • Evaluation of Risks

It is useful to evaluate the potential risks & errors that could be caused by attackers. Businesses can evaluate potential flaws before giving hackers a chance to destroy their brand image through security testing.

  • Maintain Consistency

Multiple organizations have administrative requirements for security consistency. The administrative security compliances that must be considered are HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS. Security testing assists in the protection of sensitive data & assists organizations in meeting regulatory standards.

  • Hiding the Sensitive Information

Almost every application holds users’ sensitive data, such as financial information, personal information, banking information, IP address, etc. Regular security testing applications can ensure the integrity, accessibility, and confidentiality of the user’s data.

  • Avoiding Monetary Misfortune

Do you know that cyberattacks can bring huge monetary misfortunes? It includes charges for legitimacy, remediation costs, etc. By regular security testing, organizations can identify security risks and take significant action. Through regular testing, you can avoid financial losses.

  • Managing Reputations

Regular cyberattacks can significantly harm your brand reputation. You can safeguard your business by addressing the potential threats and risks through regular testing.

If you want to safeguard your organization by following the above ways, hire Software Security Testing Services.

Also Read: How Security Testing Protects Your Salesforce CRM Data?

Impact of Mobile App Security Threats on Users and Businesses

Numerous mobile app security threats are brought by the rapidly changing technological landscape, and these risks can have far-reaching effects on enterprises of all kinds. These security risks can have serious consequences, including data breaches, monetary losses, and harm to one’s image. Here, we have mentioned some more negative impacts of app securities on businesses as well as users-

  • Damage to Reputation

Security risks can damage the reputation of the business. Users don’t trust the business if they have security issues. Security threats can result in revenue loss and loss of customers.

  • Losses in Finance

A business that faces security threats can experience various expensive issues. It costs associated with the legal actions, regulatory fines, etc., and the business downtime caused due to security incidents can also hamper the operations & lead to financial losses. To avoid these financial losses, you should understand the necessity of mobile app security. The business should measure a proactive approach, which helps to identify the potential risks & eliminate the chances of financial loss.

  • Legal Challenges

A business that has lots of security threats can welcome multiple legal & regulatory consequences. Certain regions follow complex but proven data protection laws. Security threats can lead to regulatory fines and legal actions when an organization fails to meet data protection regulations.

  • Losing Customer Reach

No one wants to lose their customer’s reach. Customers always prefer to partner with businesses and applications that give priority to their safety first. Customers expect to keep their data safe, and a single breach can break their trust. This is how businesses can lose their existing customers and create barriers to attracting new ones.

  • Disruption in the Continuity

Security threats can also disrupt the process of business operations. It can further lead to downtime and loss of productivity. It can hamper your business ROI.

These are the significant threats a business can face when they ignore security. Businesses must prioritize security if they want to avoid these above-discussed risks. Getting aware of regular security testing and mobile app security best practices helps you avoid security breaches.

These are the reasons why security testing should be the top priority for any business during the app development process. Now, let’s move on to finding out how to test mobile app security in the step-by-step process.

Mobile App Testing

How To Test Mobile App Security Testing?

  • Defining the Goals

Security testing requires a necessary understanding of why the testing is carried out. The most common aims of mobile security testing are:

  1. Identifying the security mechanisms
  2. Evaluating the presence of accurate configuration
  3. Detection and management of threats and risks
  4. Check whether the app is tested in every stage and with multiple test cases
  5. Implementation of secure data storing process
  6. Evaluation of the authentication process

The sections where an application requires the highest priority are configuration, app permission, sessions, data storage, and authentication.

  • Threat Analysis & Modeling

This step includes four primary factors: application architecture, application resources, 3rd party interactions, and threat agents. After considering the high-priority areas, you can identify the security risks. Develop test cases for better results. Top-notch tools like iMAS, Android Debug Bridge, and mobile security frameworks help foster the modeling and threat analysis step.

  • Exploitation & Remediation

After the vulnerabilities that can cause app threats are found by the team, it is necessary to estimate the scope of risks. In this step, the QA team can use the QARK & Mitmproxy, etc. After designing the objective of security testing, analyzing the mobile application and the supporting vulnerabilities, and dividing them based on the severity, the team comes to remediate them by using effective tools.

Different Types of Mobile Security Testing For Data and Privacy

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

SAST involves examining an application’s binary code, bytecode, or source code without running it. This kind of testing finds vulnerabilities by going over the code to look for coding mistakes and known security issues.

  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

The goal of DAST is to evaluate an application that is currently operating from the outside to find vulnerabilities like security misconfigurations, injection attacks, & authentication errors. Testers use DAST tools to interact with the program, sending inputs and reading outputs.

  • Penetration Testing

Penetration tests sometimes referred to as ethical hacking or penetration testing, replicate genuine attacks by malicious attackers. It entails meticulously analyzing the framework to find any potential weak points and assess how resilient it is to hackers.

Also Read: How Security Testing is Strengthening the Banking Industry?

Best Practices in Mobile App Security For Protect User Data

When it comes to evaluating security systems and data, following the best practices in security testing for software development is crucial. The following are some crucial best practices to take into account:

1. Secure Coding Practices

Following coding guidelines that reduce vulnerabilities and improve application security is known as “secure coding.” Secure coding standards, including output encoding, input validation, and error handling, should be used in place of insecure coding approaches. The insecure coding approaches mean outdated libraries and hardcoded passwords. If developers adhere to specific guidelines, the vulnerabilities can be reduced.

2. Regular and Comprehensive Security Assessments

It is essential to routinely manage security updates and upgrades to address vulnerabilities and protect the application from future attacks. Programmers should keep checking that security updates and alerts are correct. Developers who apply security updates can lessen the possibility of vulnerability and keep the application safe from security holes.

3. Incorporating Security Testing in the Development Lifecycle

Building safe mobile applications requires adhering to secure coding best practices. Incorporating security testing in the development lifecycle should be adhered to by developers to reduce the possibility of vulnerabilities in the software.

4. User Data Encryption Methods

To avoid unwanted access, sensitive user data must be secured both in transit and at rest. User data may be protected from possible attacks by implementing secure key management procedures and using robust encryption techniques.

5. Secure communication protocols

The transfer of information in mobile apps usually depends on network connections. Utilizing secure communication protocols like SSL/TLS and HTTPS ensures that data is transferred between the applications. It defines the server as encrypted, protecting it from distortion.

Tools and Techniques for Effective Mobile App Security Testing

The mobile app security testing tools may incorporate tests into the CI/CD workflow for your mobile application testing. Orbs makes it simple to set and administer the tests on this platform. Reusable YAML configurations called orbs are useful for automating tedious tasks. Setting up a project is made simple by using orbs. The pipelines in reliable solutions make it simple to leverage reputable third-party security testing vendors.

After using a reliable tool, you need to also focus on the testing types. Here is where you encounter automated tests vs. Manual tests. The distinction between automated and manual testing is that the former involves carrying out the tests step-by-step without the use of tools, while the latter uses automation tools and frameworks to carry out the tests automatically.

Manual testing slows down the whole software development life cycle since it is tedious and repetitive. By automating all repetitive operations, automation testing improves the software development process and saves a significant amount of time.

Teamwork is crucial when doing complicated testing; manual testing makes this very difficult, but with automated testing, adding team members to evaluate or contribute to the test cases is simple.

Challenges in Mobile App Security Testing For User Data Privacy

The range of platforms, devices, and operating platforms that mobile apps operate on presents several issues for mobile app security testing. Testers must have access to a variety of devices and emulators and be knowledgeable about their unique features and capabilities, including vulnerabilities, because they may differ.

Furthermore, a lot of mobile apps depend on several different parts, such as online services, databases, cloud-based systems, or third-party libraries, which might create further dependencies or hazards. Consequently, to test every element, both alone and collectively, testers need to have a comprehensive understanding of the app’s design and operation. In addition, mobile applications might employ techniques like checksums, obfuscation, encryption, and anti-debugging to guard against manipulation and reverse engineering.

Besides, platform segmentation is a major challenge in mobile app security testing. When a program is used on several distinct devices and operating systems, platform fragmentation happens. In many instances, security testing must encompass not just disparate platform testing but also variations within the same system software (this is particularly prevalent with Android as external vendors supply their specific versions of an OS).

Mobile App Testing

When a company’s MAST toolset is unable to support a particular language, language coverage can become an issue, particularly for platform-independent languages like Java, Objective C, Kotlin, and Swift. The security concerns associated with web application development are increased while developing hybrid mobile apps.

Because many testing systems are not designed with mobile application security in mind, finding DAST tools might be difficult. Obtaining actual-world information for mobile DAST might still be challenging, even with the advancement of these frameworks.

Though it’s a widespread habit among developers for convenience, defaulting on simulated tests is not a thorough testing approach. Testing on real devices is crucial for a more realistic replication of the user experiences and real-world exposure scenarios, even if simulated testing is an excellent place to start.

Test tools have several drawbacks, even if they might be useful. Here are a few restrictions:

  1. It costs more to automate. Purchasing a test tool is more expensive initially than doing manual testing.
  2. Not everything can be automated; certain tests need to be performed by hand.
  3. You can’t always rely on test tools.

The initial outlay for a new automated test project is greater than the profit. Building all the infrastructure needed to enable the initial tests to run will likely take less time than implementing the user narrative’s functionality.

As a result, experts suggest beginning to use test suites that validate the essential features and operation of the system. With the help of this suite, you may build and stabilize the application’s essential feature infrastructure.

Minimize Risks, Protect Your App: Mitigate Security Threats Now!

After considering the above contents now know the mobile app security importance. Businesses should place considerable emphasis on mobile app security because of the sensitive data that these applications manage and the ongoing risk created by hackers. Businesses may protect user data and uphold consumer trust by investing in strong security testing company,  upgrading mobile applications regularly, and adhering to best practices. To respond to changing threats, organizations should also keep up with the newest developments and issues surrounding mobile app security. Hire a security testing company to mitigate the security threats.

Avatar for Mit Thakkar
About The Author
Digital Marketer at KiwiQA: Software Testing Service Provider Company Worldwide.

ISO Certifications

CRN: 22318-Q15-001