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A Comprehensive Guide to Android Penetration Testing

It is a process for determining the existence of security flaws in a target Android application. In this method, manual and automatic penetration testing of the application is performed under the similar approach of a real-world attack scenario.

What is Android Pentesting?

The primary goal of Android penetration testing is to detect and remediate application vulnerabilities prior to hackers exploiting them. Security risks can occur in a variety, including the exposing of sensitive information or the modification of user data.

Why Android Pen testing Needed?

Today, everyone prefers mobile applications over websites, as they are more convenient to use and do not require repeated logins. However, this increased interest in Android apps of normal users also attracts the attention of hackers. As a result, penetration testing of Android applications becomes critical in order to identify application security flaws before an attacker does.

Android Pen testing Methodology

The methodology is separated into two key sections.

1:- Static Assessment

The penetration tester does not execute the application during static analysis. The analysis is performed on the files or decompiled source code that have been submitted.

2:- Dynamic Assessment

The pen tester conducts a dynamic assessment during which he examines the mobile application while it’s running on the device. This reviews contains an proper examination of the application’s network traffic to and from the server, and an examination of the application’s inter-process communication (IPC).

1:- Static Assessment Approach

During Static, we may use a variety of tools to inspect the app’s decompiled source code.

For example, jadx is a java decompiler that allows you to examine your apk for potential vulnerabilities such as hardcoded secrets, unsecured HTTP URLs, and code obfuscation.

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Similarly, there are open source scanners such as yaazhini and MOBSF that may assist you in swiftly scanning and identifying vulnerabilities in an Android application.

Yaazhini is an utility that must be installed on your system in order to do an APK scan.

A yaazhini scan report will look similar to the one below, in that it will detail the vulnerabilities that were discovered in a tree structure manner and will also make recommendations on how to remedy the vulnerabilities.

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MOBSF is another tool that can be used to perform static assessment automatic scanning, few of it’s report screenshot can been seen below

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2:- Dynamic Assessment Approach

In comparison to static assessment, dynamic assessment requires more time and effort.

Sometimes, we verify static assessment findings during the dynamic phase; this assists us in identifying potential false positives that occurred during the static phase.

It’s primary objective is to test and evaluate applications in real time and identify security flaws or weak points in a running app. This runtime analysis contains examination of both the mobile platform layer and the backend APIs.


MOBSF, as discussed in the static assessment phase, is also useful during dynamic assessments; it connects easily to your genymotion emulator and assists you with a variety of tasks in a semi-automatic manner, including streaming logs, starting activities, hooking activities, and taking screenshots.

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Another helpful and the most popular tool is burp suite, burp is a must when you want to play with HTTP request and responses

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While conducting both of these assessments, we’ll need a checklist to refer to, and OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) will assist us with this by providing an extensive list of the top ten most common vulnerabilities found in mobile applications.

Additionally, OWASP offers a comprehensive guide to mobile application security in both excel and pdf formats, which are listed below.

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