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Mobile Application security

Critical Activities to Test Mobile Application 


In the wake of the frantic use of mobile devices, many organizations across the world have launched their own applications. However, one key area that's often overlooked is that of mobile application security and  privacy of user data. Malicious invasions - persistent, enterprise-class spyware, mobile botnets, ad and click fraud, IoT, dead apps - to damage your device or mobile applications security are at an all-time high.

Mobile-Application-Security 2.jpg

Mobile application security faces threats that can be classified into two broad categories:

  1. Malicious applications that recognize malware threats which damage your mobile device
  2. Software vulnerabilities that invade the data within your mobile applications

McAfee Labs has identified more than 1.5 million new incidents of mobile malware in 2017 in the first quarter of the year. A recent Forbes study substantiates the magnitude of cyberattacks at the application level too. Hence, a robust application security is critical.

A recent Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing (AST) by Gartner summarizes that Security Testing is growing faster than any other security market. Security Testing is done after the application has been delivered.                                                       

Why Security Testing?

System testing is done to detect and address the security vulnerabilities of an application for preventing:

  • Customer trust deficit
  • Roadblocks to your online channels of revenue generation
  • Additional cost related to securing applications against future threats
  • Associated legal penalties for having inappropriate security measures 

5 Steps to Test Security of Mobile Applications

  • Traceability Matrix Preparation

Based on the identified threats and vulnerabilities, traceability matrix is formulated. This document enlists the user requirements and maps the same with the test case ids. The objective of preparing this document is to cover all the test cases so as not to miss out on testing any functionality. This particular step is done to ensure the client that the security testing has been done end to end.

  • Automated security testing

Automation testing is rigorous and the key enabler of the concept of continuous testing and delivery framework. This practice helps in detecting the defects while the software gets released on a continuous basis. The mobile application is tested across multiple mobile devices across varied platforms over different networks. While conducting the automation security testing, security tests are categorized into (a) functional and (b) non-functional security tests.

Functional security tests include authentication and password creation. On the other hand, non-functional security tests include security check of the application and infrastructure, security testing against potential and known weaknesses and security testing application logic.

The whole idea of automated security testing is to classify the goals of security testing and automate the specific tests to establish success criteria. Attaining the desired business-critical objectives powered by automation is significant.

  • Dynamic analysis and testing of apps

Dynamic application security testing (DAST) is used to verify security or suspicious issues in the applications. The issues may include – insecure data transmission, violations, insecure data storage and transmission etc. This type of testing will run the application and scour the device logs to identify any sensitive values such as user credentials.

Dynamic analysis tracks the application memory, response time and performance of the application while it’s in its running state. This method assesses backend and insecure direct object infrastructures and also privilege escalation vulnerabilities. It can be looked upon as testing the security of an application from the outside in to find out security vulnerabilities, if any. 

  • Assessment of compliance

Finally, an audit needs to be done to validate if the app has been built as per the compliance guidelines. It’s important to ensure that the application meets the latest regulatory requirements of the industry. Any security breach can wreak havoc from the data storage, user credentials, data transmission perspective.

  • Use of a cloud-based mobile testing lab

An increasing number of businesses are shifting towards cloud-based security testing of mobile applications. Considered to be one of the best and proven mechanisms of mobile apps testing, it’s indeed a profitable solution for enterprises and large businesses that provides a web-based access to a large pool of mobile devices or farms along with emulators and simulators, connected to live networks across the world.

This approach also empowers enterprises with absolute control of manual and automated mobile applications testing. In the cloud-based security testing environment, applications are run in a secure environment and it saves a lot of time. A large number of programming languages and development environments are supported, with the QA teams having access to tools anytime, anywhere.  Also, the resources are scalable to address the testing demand in this environment

Some of the most popular cloud-based security testing tools

  • AWS Device Farm
    • AWS Device Farm is an Amazon Web Services tool that provides a platform to test applications and tools on Android, iOS, and many other web apps on multiple devices in one go. The tool can also reproduce issues in real time for multiple devices thereby reducing test time. Other features of AWS Device farm let the user view videos, take screenshots, monitor logs, and performance data to locate and fix issues thereby increasing quality of APP in a short span of time.
  • Firebase Test Lab for Android
    • Firebase Test Lab is an Android only testing tool which resides on the cloud. Firebase can test apps across a wide variety on multiple devices and configurations. The user receives a variety of test results as well such as videos, screenshots and logs. These results can be easily consumed using the Firebase console
  • Xamarin Test Cloud
    • Xamarin is another cloud based testing tool that can automate testing of app across a few thousand devices and multiple OS/Platforms. The test cloud is automated and this helps save time and effort.
  • Kobiton
    • Kobiton is a mobile cloud testing solution that allows users to interact with real iOS and Android devices that are connected to the cloud. Kobiton provides manual and automated testing solutions to its users.
  • Perfecto
    • Perfecto is again a cloud tool, but unlike others mentioned above , Perfecto provides testing tools for web, mobile and IoT. Perfecto is good choice if the testing is for DevOps environment
  • Sauce Labs
    • Is a Cloud testing tool that is ideal for automated testing of both mobile and web based applications. The use of open source frameworks is helpful and users can also use to test - access web browsers, mobile emulators and simulators, and real mobile devices
  • Experitest
    • Experitest is a cross platform testing tool that is used to test applications for both web and mobile. Like most tools discussed here Experitest can be used for performance testing and testing security of the native web or mobile app. An additional advantage of Experitest is, a private cloud lab can be created with their solution.

CSS Corp Testing Services

Software Testing needs to be leveraged effectively to deliver superior quality applications. With new technologies like Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and Big data forcing companies to re-look at their strategies and approach towards the business, it is imperative to have a trusted partner handling product quality of your applications.

CSS Corp provides end-to-end engineering services and solutions. Our Software testing services are designed to support the entire lifecycle of networks and applications, right from conducting assessments, developing strategies, and solving tough technology issues.

We, at CSS Corp, offer the following testing services:

  • Performance Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Mobile Testing
  • Digital Testing
  • Functional Testing
  • Test Automation 

 Click here to know more about CSS Corp's testing services and solutions


Anil Mishra

AVP Strategic Alliances & Marketing

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