Key Areas of Security Testing for your Next Mobile App
Testing is an inseparable part of mobile app development. Surprisingly, a considerable number of app owners and developers give it a miss, ultimately failing to achieve success with an otherwise promising app. At the same time, there are individuals and organizations that conduct performance testing, but completely ignore security testing of mobile apps. There are some very simple reasons that explain the importance of testing mobile apps against a variety of security issues:
- Mobile apps reside in mobile devices which already store or have access to owner’s’ personal information.
- Considering that Bring Your own Device (BYOD) is a booming trend at workplaces, insecure apps stored in personal mobile devices of employees can be serious threats to enterprise data.
- Of course, an insecure app is overall a poor performing app and should easily surrender to the highly secure apps in their respective niches.
Apart from understanding the importance of security testing during mobile application development, it is equally important to recognize various areas it must be accomplished in. Let’s discuss them now.
Multi Environment Security Testing
If you are developing a hybrid app that would run on multiple mobile devices and platforms (Android, iOS, Windows etc.), testing for multi-environment scenario goes without saying. This is because security-related vulnerabilities that might not exist for one device or platform may be present for the others.Set the goals well in advance and simultaneously test for every possible environment it would run on.
Testing for Common Security Attacks
Viruses, Trojans, malware, spywares and other malicious programs are the very first threats that would possible attack your app. You must pay heed to carry out automatic security tests against each of these possibly harmful risks that are quite common. Take clues from the recent reports of malicious attacks on popular apps.
Security Testing for App Data at Various Stages
The data generated by your app would undergo a lot of functions and procedures and its protection at every level or stage must be ensured through prior security testing. Here’s what you need to know when developing mobile apps:
- Data Storage Testing: Is the data storage secure? Does it reside under the tight encryption layer?
- Data Transition testing: Where does the data flow to? Are all data transit routes secure and encrypted? Is transport layer sufficiently protected?
Session Handling Testing
Are you more focused on impressing app users with long or non-expiring sessions? It’s true that mobile users really like to use apps without the need of logging in again and again, but it might raise the possible security threats. This type of improper session handling or management must be tested to find a middle solution. One good idea is to test re-authentication functions when users wish to use the critical features like purchase.
Testing Against Possible Injections
SQL injections have emerged as real serious threats to app security as these can be used in the form of queries and requests for retrieving information from apps’ databases. These are also used to carry out database errors or also to manipulate or delete database records. During mobile app development, make sure that testing is done to validate every data input.
Testing Both Client and Server Sides
Mobile app security testing is equally important for the client as well as the server side. Cross-site scripting, back-end data leakage, and weak server-side controls are few of situations that put app security at stake. Here are few things to do:
- Test against client-side script injections
- Analyze and validate all backend API calls
- Test whether data is leaking to log files or via app notifications
Few Additional or Obvious Areas of Importance
- Testing authorization modules to ensure impenetrable authentication procedures
- Testing encryption level for everything from passwords to credit card information
- Testing error handling procedures to ensure that only custom error pages are displayed without giving away any additional information
- Testing the third-party software packages, libraries, and components to be integrated with apps
- Finally, continuous app security testing must be done to ensure that the existing and future versions are secure against new threats and risks.
Experts in mobile app development have access to popular security testing tools that entertain the specific requirements of different types of applications. If your new app holds a lot of value for your business or profits, make it go through rigorous security testing as it would definitely add value to its worth.
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