The most widely used alternative for consumers to desktop software has evolved to be Android apps. Sensitive data is processed often by mobile applications, and this makes them a prime target for cybercriminals. Developers must make every effort to assure the preservation of such data when working on it and must have a minimum of the fundamental knowledge required to pentest and reverse engineer Android apps to uncover the vulnerabilities in the application code.

 Do you know that businesses frequently spend a sizable sum on essential infrastructure to stop severe data breaches and find systemic flaws and deficiencies? Still, the privacy and security of Android users are at risk from unreliable applications. The Android ecosystem’s openness is the primary cause of this.

Application security strengthens with Reverse Engineering

The OWASP TOP 10 Mobile Vulnerabilities, Application Security using Reverse Engineering, and Android Application PenTesting will all be covered in detail in this blog. Ensure a high level of data security when dealing with android applications, is one of the top priorities. Reverse engineering is the practice of taking the knowledge that can be used to improve any product. Involved in this are the following frameworks and tools:

  • Dex2jar– It is a tool that is available for free that transforms bytecode from the .dex format into Java class files.
  • Java De-compiler (JD- GUI) – Java code is rendered as java class files by this program, making it readable.
  • Akptool– One of the most well-liked open-source tools for decompiling binary, closed, and third-party Android apps.
  • Apk Analyzer – File sizes and their proportional percentage of the total APK size are provided to the files browser by the APK Analyzer.

Android apps are used nowadays for a variety of things, including mobile, banking, shopping, and sharing personal information, and  are vulnerable to cyberattacks using a variety of tactics, including malware, code injection, and reverse engineering. Pen testing is the process of assaulting your own or a client’s IT systems in a way that a hacker would identify security vulnerabilities.

A few of the benefits derived from Android Application Pentesting are listed below –

  • Makes the application more effective.
  • The cost of a data breach is decreased.
  • Gain the client’s confidence.
  • Discover the security vulnerabilities in Android apps.

OWASP TOP 10 MOBILE Vulnerabilities

Both web applications and security barriers used to halt software development carry several risks. The top 10 list of mobile vulnerabilities by OWASP includes some of the common security issues that a user could encounter:

  • Vulnerabilities are related to login authentication.
  • Generation of a weak Password.
  • Malicious Code Injection.
  • Hard Coded Cryptographic keys.

The top 10 security threats are listed below according to the level of risk they provide. To review certain details, see below:

  1. Improper Platform Usage – The risk is associated with improper platform security control implementation or misuse of an operating system feature. The platforms like iOS, Android, or Windows features that are well-documented and completely understood fall under the category of hazards connected with this. The methods that mobile apps encounter these hazards
    1. Breaking accepted norms.
    2. Accidental abuse of functionality.
    3. Best practices are broken by the app.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks –

  • Never attempt to obtain access control through client applications.
  • The client should not be trusted.
  • Controls on the server side should be thoroughly thought out.

2. Insecure Data Storage – Data security is the protection provided for any data that is kept or delivered. Android application data is kept on servers, mobile devices, and cloud storage, among other places. These locations are all vulnerable to hacker attacks.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks –

  • Prevent critical data from being stored on iOS devices.
  • Adding an encryption layer.
  • Avoid using encryption or decryption keys that are hard-coded.

3. Insecure Communication – Sensitive information might be sent through insecure channels through insecure communication Such data can be captured by anyone with access to the channel.. When application developers don’t take any precautions to defend against network traffic, there is a vulnerability known as insufficient transport layer protection. Testing is done in this for Incorrect SSL Version, Weak Negotiation, and Lack of Certification Inspection.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks –

  • Applying a separate layer of encryption.
  • Avoid sending sensitive data.
  • Prefer string cipher suites of industry standards.
  • Remove the codes after the development cycle. 

4. Insecure Authentication – Any attacker can use the app or backend server employed by the web application to perform functions without their knowledge. One of the main reasons for a lot of security problems is weak authentication. Typical examples of insecure authentication include attack vectors including authentication bypass, information leakage via debug messages, and session invalidation.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks –

  • Implement two- factor authorization.
  • Ensure authentication requests are performed server- side.
  • Always use an encrypted database.
  • Any spoofable values should not be used.

5. Insufficient Cryptography – Data security can be improved with the use of cryptography. Weak encryption and decryption techniques might result in insufficient cryptography. An attacker can still acquire private information if a flaw in the cryptography implementation is discovered.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks –

  • Make use of modern algorithms recognized by experts.
  • Use white box cryptography for high- security requirements.
  •  Application’s Native Chain to be used.

6. Insufficient Authorization -The procedure of authorizing assures that the access operation is being carried out by only people who have been permitted to access the data. The CIA triad’s authorization component is essential. Due to faulty permission implementation in many mobile applications, low-level users gain access to any high-privileged user’s information. Attackers can access the mobile application’s functionality as a user with fewer privileges thanks to subpar or absent authorization methods. The following indicators will show you whether a mobile endpoint has insecure authorization. –

  • Unknown Endpoints.
  • Role or permission transmission for the user.
  • vulnerability in indirect object references is present.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks 

  • Avoid depending on any information coming from mobile devices.
  • Verification of the roles and permissions of the user authenticated for backend information.

7. Client Code Quality – Poor code quality is a major contributor to the rising frequency of security incidents and data breaches. Buffer overflows, format string flaws and other dangers like these contribute to poor code quality, among other things. The most important element in ensuring the quality of the finished product is the application code.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks 

  • Code should be well written and documented
  • Various coding patterns are to be there so that everyone should agree to them.
  • Always validate that the length of the incoming data should not exceed that of a buffer.

8. Code Tampering – In the process of “code tampering,” hackers or attackers make use of an application’s existing source code by altering it with harmful payloads. This can result in business disruption, financial loss, and loss of intellectual property. Technically, code tampering is possible on all mobile devices. It often follows reverse engineering and has negative commercial effects, such as lost income or reputational harm.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks

  • With the code integrity violation, the application must be able to react appropriately.
  • The app will execute within a jailbroken or rooted environment after its modification.
  • The application should be able to detect that the code has been added or changed.

9. Reverse Engineering – Reverse engineering is the practice of disassembling a mobile application to discover its logic. Due to the complex structure of the code and if the attacker is capable of doing the following tasks: 

  • Deriving an accurate reconstruction of the source code, 
  • The accurate execution of cross-functional analysis.
  • The content of the binary string table is understood.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks

  • Should be able to withstand deobfuscation.
  • Obfuscate string tables.
  • List down the methods segments to obfuscate.

10. Extraneous Functionality – Bad actors like cybercriminals or hackers strive to comprehend the supplemental features of the mobile application. Understanding and investigating the backend framework’s hidden capabilities is the key objective. It’s best to avoid including information about back- end tests, staging, or UAT environments in a product phase because some auxiliary features can be highly helpful to an attacker.

Few Preventive measures will be taken to prevent the risks. Below are the ways to avoid such attacks

  • All the endpoints of the API should be checked and verified.
  • Discover any hidden switches that go through the app’s configuration setting.
  • Perform manual code review along with the SMEs.

Assess Your Organization’s Android Penetration Testing With Kratikal

Testing for vulnerabilities in Android apps is a challenging but crucial phase of creating mobile applications. For their apps to function properly, developers must guarantee that sensitive data will always be protected.

Developers must be able to examine their apps from the inside out to uncover obfuscated errors and weaknesses. The OWASP MSTG CrackMe tasks can help you develop the fundamental reverse engineering skills necessary for this.

As a CERT-In empanelled organization, we have skilled teams of Android developers, testers, reverse engineers, and QA professionals who know how to make your mobile apps reliable and safe. With the use of our human and automatic VAPT services, which identify, detect, and analyze the vulnerabilities inherent in your IT framework, Kratikal can help you become more aware of these risks. To assist your company in adhering to the rules and legislation established by many governments, we also provide security auditing for Compliance, including ISO/IEC 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, and many more.

Contact us if you’d like to get your Android app tested and make it more secure.

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