Mobile App Security Testing Checklist | KiwiQA Blog (2023)

Mobile phones have become an inseparable part of our lives. Across the globe, mobile phone users use the phone for online shopping, bill payments, ordering groceries, and more. Though app developers must focus on the functionalities of the app, it is equally important to focus on the security aspects of the app.

As per a survey, close to 98 percent of the apps are not completely secure. This is an alarmingly high number since the private data of the app users could be at stake. Hence, mobile app development companies must make app security testing a part of the DevOps and testing lifecycle.

Companies must move away from the mindset where security testing is pushed to the end of the development lifecycle. All the essential security checks must be performed before the changes are made live on the production server. It is recommended to partner with a mobile application testing company in scenarios where you do not have an inhouse security testing team.

In case you are on the lookout for a detailed checklist to get started with security testing, look no further since we have it all covered in this blog. The learnings of this blog will be helpful in devising a security testing strategy for your mobile app.

State Of Mobile App Security

As per the State Of Mobile report[1] by, close to 4.35 Lakh app downloads are performed every minute. Daily time spent by users has also risen to 4.8 hours in 2021.

Mobile App Security Testing Checklist | KiwiQA Blog (1)

Mobile App Security Testing Checklist | KiwiQA Blog (2)

(Video) Hacker Days: iOS Application Vulnerabilities and how to find them

Though mobile apps have been widely used across the globe, issues still lie with security aspects of many mobile applications. One out of thirty-six apps are not completely secure for end usage. This is an alarmingly high number and the only resort to bring down this number is by relentlessly focusing on improving the app’s security.

Since app security is of prime importance, many companies opt for mobile app testing services for ensuring that mobile applications are tested in a rigorous manner. As far as mobile apps are concerned, they are primarily categorized as:

  • Native Apps – Apps that are built using the SDK offered by the respective mobile OS (i.e. Android or iOS)
  • Hybrid Apps – Apps with look & feel of native apps but behave like web apps, thereby taking the advantage offered by both the app types
  • Web Apps – Apps that are built using HTML and accessed from the mobile web browsers. These are desktop apps that are tailor-made for the mobile viewport

Also Read – Introduction to API Security Testing

Mobile App Security Issues in Android & iOS

Security issues that you would encounter in Android apps might differ from those witnessed in iOS apps. Well, they are two different operating systems – Android is open-source whereas iOS is closed-source.

Many OEM manufacturers add changes to the Android mainline code at different levels (e.g. kernel, middleware, UI) to have a differentiating factor from the competitors. As an Android app developer, it is recommended to opt for native apps if the app needs access to the device capabilities like camera, GPS, sensors, etc.

Now that we have the platform set, let me walk you through the different security issues in Android and iOS.

(Video) ANDROID APP SECURITY BASICS (Static analysis - Part 1)

Mobile App Security Concerns in iOS

It is a well-known fact that iOS apps go through a much wider scrutiny by the apps team before they are made live on the iOS store. However, it might be incorrect to say that iOS apps are not vulnerable to security attacks.

As per OWASP[2], here are the top 10 security concerns observed in iOS applications:

  • Improper Platform Usage
  • Insecure Data Storage
  • Insecure Communication
  • Insecure Authentication
  • Insufficient Cryptography
  • Insecure Authorization
  • Client Code Quality
  • Code Tampering
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Extraneous Functionality

Mobile App Security Concerns in Android

Contrary to iOS applications, Android apps are more vulnerable to security threats. The app screening process to get listed on PlayStore is not so stringent compared to iOS (or iTunes) store.

Some of the major security concerns observed in Android applications[3] are:

  • Social Engineering
  • Data leakage through malicious applications
  • Spyware
  • MITM (Man-in-the-Middle Attacks)
  • Permission issues
  • Phishing and malvertising

To identify security issues in the mobile applications, it is important to devise a detailed Vulnerability Assessment plan and Security Testing & Pentesting plan.

Also Read – Android Vs. iOS Mobile App Testing

Detailed Mobile Security Testing Checklist

Here are the major pointers that must make way into the security testing checklist:

(Video) Application security Guideline by Entersoft/mobile app security testing

1. Perform Security Audit

This is the very first step in identifying security issues in the mobile application. As a QA engineer, you need to know the purpose and depth of the audit. For example, if the application is using third-party APIs, you need to make sure that the data is secure whether it is in transit or at rest.

Since there would be multiple areas of security that need to be looked into, you should prioritize the ones that need immediate attention. Authentication and authorization, access permissions, data storage, and cookies are some of the areas that should be looked into at a high priority.

The audit must include the ways to mitigate different types of security threats, along with covering ways in which such security issues can be looked into at early stages of the development & testing cycle.

2. Threat Modeling and Assessment

As mentioned in OWASP[4], threat modeling is the process of identifying, communicating, and understanding the threats & mitigations within the context of protecting something of great value. In case of mobile applications, threats could be from third-party interactions (e.g. third-party APIs or interactions with third-party servers) or it could be security threat due to poorly designed app architecture.

At this stage, team members need to wear the hats of attackers & users and exploit the security vulnerabilities from all angles. Usage of automated tools like ADB (Android Debug Bridge), MobSF (Mobile Security Framework), and iMAS (iOS Mobile Application Security) can be used for performing automated security tests on Android & iOS applications.

Threat modeling and assessment is an integral step since it helps in realizing a risk-based analysis of the bug priority and its impact. It is an integral part of the mobile app security testing checklist.

(Video) [Blog] Mobile Application Testing: Challenges and Solutions

3. Security Exploitation

In the previous step, you identified (or assessed) the potential vulnerabilities. Now is the time to use the appropriate pentesting or security testing tools to exploit different vulnerabilities in the app.

Performing this step is critical since it ensures that the security vulnerabilities do not make it to the app that will go live on the app store. QARK (Quick Android Review Kit) and ZAP (Zed Attack Proxy) are the widely used mobile app security testing tools.

In case your team is not experienced enough to use these tools, it is advised to onboard an experienced mobile testing services company like KiwiQA that has the experience of working with a wide range of clients.

4. Fixing Vulnerabilities

By the end of this step, you would have identified the vulnerabilities and even tried to exploit the same. The security vulnerabilities must be divided in different priority buckets so that you (and the team) can patch the security issues as per the priority.

Now, you should have a well-tested app that has been tested well from a security standpoint.

Also Read – Guide To Mobile Application Security Testing


In this blog, we deep dived into the essential aspects of mobile app security testing. Testing the mobile app from a security perspective is important for ensuring customer stickiness. It avoids scenarios of any potential data leaks where vital confidential (or personal) information is accessible to an untrusted environment.

(Video) Web Security Testing / Penetration Testing / Fuzzy Testing

To make the most out of security testing, many developers and enterprises onboard an experienced mobile app testing services company in order to release a more secure mobile app in the respective store.


How do you test app security? ›

Application security testing (AST) is the process of making applications more resistant to security threats, by identifying security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in source code. AST started as a manual process.

What is application security checklist? ›

The Application Security Checklist is one of OWASP's repositories that offers guidance to assess, identify, and remediate web security issues. This article delves into various vulnerabilities of web applications and outlines OWASP's guidance on testing to mitigate such vulnerabilities.

What are 3 protections users can perform to protect their mobile apps? ›

Ways to stay secure
  • Lock your phone with a password or fingerprint detection. ...
  • If it's not already the default on your phone, consider encrypting your data. ...
  • Set up remote wipe. ...
  • Back up phone data. ...
  • Avoid third-party apps. ...
  • Avoid jailbreaking your iPhone or rooting your Android. ...
  • Update operating systems often.
21 Sept 2016

What are three steps you should take to ensure your security when using apps? ›

Use file-level encryption.
8 Important Steps To Secure Your Mobile App
  1. Always protect the application with encryption.
  2. Scan the source code for vulnerabilities.
  3. The application code should be easy to update and rebuild and should be portable between devices and OS.
23 May 2017

What is mobile application security assessment? ›

Android software simply verifies the application is digitally signed, and doesn't necessarily verify the trustworthiness of the signer. This design of digital trust increases the importance of downloading applications from an official source.

How do you manually test a mobile app? ›

You can perform mobile application manual testing using emulators or simulators and by choosing the desired device. You can also perform mobile application manual testing using real device cloud or setting up a device lab within your organization.

What are four challenges for security testing? ›

Major Challenges Faced by Testers while Performing Security...
  • High-priority vulnerability. You can make trade-offs in resources and coverage while performing functional testing. ...
  • Test hidden parts of the application. ...
  • Protect application from damage.
6 Apr 2016

What are the major factors which are necessary while testing mobile app? ›

What Factors to Consider for Mobile Application Testing?
  • Stable Network Bandwidth and Carrier Networks: ...
  • Great User Experience (CX): ...
  • Impressive Performance: ...
  • Effective End-to-End Security: ...
  • Stable Across Operating Systems: ...
  • Delight with Usability: ...
  • Compatible Across Devices: ...
  • Uniform Scalability:
19 Nov 2019

How do I make a security checklist? ›

Secure Installation and Configuration Checklist
  1. Install only what is required. ...
  2. Lock and expire default user accounts. ...
  3. Change default user passwords. ...
  4. Enable data dictionary protection. ...
  5. Practice the principle of least privilege. ...
  6. Enforce access controls effectively. ...
  7. Restrict operating system access.

What are the 3 basic security requirements? ›

Regardless of security policy goals, one cannot completely ignore any of the three major requirements—confidentiality, integrity, and availability—which support one another. For example, confidentiality is needed to protect passwords.

What are the top 10 application security risks? ›

What is the OWASP Top 10?
  1. Injection. Injection attacks happen when untrusted data is sent to a code interpreter through a form input or some other data submission to a web application. ...
  2. Broken Authentication. ...
  3. Sensitive Data Exposure. ...
  4. XML External Entities (XEE) ...
  5. Broken Access Control. ...
  6. Security Misconfiguration.

What are the 5 apps which protect your phone or device from threats? ›

Here we have listed some of the best free Android antivirus apps that are available in the Google Play Store.
  • Avast Mobile Security. Avast Mobile Security is one of the most prominent security applications on any platform. ...
  • McAfee Mobile Security & Lock. ...
  • Norton Mobile Security & Antivirus. ...
  • 360 Security. ...
  • Avira. ...
  • AVG Antivirus.
22 Oct 2022

What are the two main mobile threats? ›

Top Mobile Security Threats
  • Malicious Apps and Websites. Like desktop computers, mobile devices have software and Internet access. ...
  • Mobile Ransomware. ...
  • Phishing. ...
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks. ...
  • Advanced Jailbreaking and Rooting Techniques. ...
  • Device and OS exploits.

What are the 4 P's under security measures to provide effective security? ›

In general, Information Security professionals suggest that protecting sensitive data requires a combination of people, processes, polices, and technologies.

What are the five 5 key points to be considered before implementing security strategy? ›

5 Components to a Proactive Security Strategy
  • #1: Get visibility of all your assets. ...
  • #2: Leverage modern and intelligent technology. ...
  • #3: Connect your security solutions. ...
  • #4: Adopt comprehensive and consistent training methods. ...
  • #5: Implement response procedures to mitigate risk.
1 Nov 2018

What are the main three 3 objectives of security? ›

Included in this definition are three terms that are generally regarded as the high-level security objectives – integrity, availability, and confidentiality.

How many types of mobile application tests are there? ›

The common types of performance tests include load testing, volume testing, soak testing, spike testing, and stress testing. Security is one of the prominent concerns of almost every mobile app owner in the present times. Reportedly, 80 percent of users are more likely to uninstall an app due to security issues.

Can selenium test mobile apps? ›

Yes. Selenium is used to automate web browsers. It is primarily used for cross-browser testing of web applications. Appium, on the other hand, is mainly used for automating tests for native, hybrid, and mobile web apps on mobile devices.

Can you pen test a mobile app? ›

Astra Pentest is a smart, simple, and elegant solution for mobile app pen-testing. All a user needs to do is upload their Android or iOS app and the security experts at Astra run a mix of SAST, DAST, and manual pentesting to analyze your app's security posture.

What are the six basic principles of security testing? ›

Principle of Security Testing : Confidentiality, Integrity, Authentication, Availability, Authorization, and Non-Repudiation.

What are the top 3 issues faced by security operations? ›

The three big issues are the following: staff shortage. skills shortage. knowledge shortage.

What are the phases of security testing? ›

There are five penetration testing phases: reconnaissance, scanning, vulnerability assessment, exploitation, and reporting.

What are the main four components of a mobile app? ›

There are four different types of app components:
  • Activities.
  • Services.
  • Broadcast receivers.
  • Content providers.
2 Sept 2022

What are the main security concerns of mobile application users? ›

Top 10 Security Issues in Mobile App Development and How to Rectify Them
  • 1) Picking Up Shady Code Snippets. ...
  • 2) Poor Input Validations. ...
  • 3) Weak or No Data Encryption. ...
  • 4) Insecure User Authentication. ...
  • 5) Poor Server-Side Security. ...
  • 6) Hardcoding Information. ...
  • 7) Caching Confidential Information. ...
  • 8) Ineffective Session Handling.
16 Jun 2022

What are the four key mobile challenges? ›

11 key mobile app testing challenges
  • Too many devices globally. ...
  • Device fragmentation. ...
  • Different screen sizes. ...
  • Numerous types of mobile applications. ...
  • Mobile network bandwidth. ...
  • Mercurial user expectations. ...
  • Seamless user experience. ...
  • Security concerns.
8 Oct 2021

What is the difference between mobile testing and mobile application testing? ›

Key Points. Device testing is generally being carried out to check the mobile device itself, whereas Mobile application testing involves testing of an application which will be running on the chosen device.

Why mobile testing is tough? ›

Mobile device's different range: This is one reason why the application testing is challenging to do on mobile devices. In the market, we can get the devices in a different range, different screen sizes and hardware configurations like a hard keypad, virtual keypad (touch screen) and trackball, etc.

Why mobile testing is critical? ›

Mobile app testing helps validate the appearance, performance, and functionality of apps across multiple devices. Optimizing apps for mobile-OS combinations popular among the target audience helps the app provide a seamless user experience, irrespective of device or OS.

What are the top 5 five concerns on Web application testing? ›

Below are five web application testing challenges faced by web developers during the development process.
  • Integration. Integration testing exposes problems with interfaces among different program components before deployment. ...
  • Interoperability. ...
  • Security. ...
  • Performance. ...
  • Usability. ...
  • Quality Testing, Exceptional Services.

What is a checklist example? ›

A checklist is a type of job aid used in repetitive tasks to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task. A basic example is the "to do list".

What are the 8 components of security plan? ›

Here are eight critical elements of an information security policy:
  • Purpose. ...
  • Audience and scope. ...
  • Information security objectives. ...
  • Authority and access control policy. ...
  • Data classification. ...
  • Data support and operations. ...
  • Security awareness and behavior. ...
  • Responsibilities, rights, and duties of personnel.
19 Apr 2021

What is a basic checklist? ›

A simple checklist template is any kind of process or list of tasks arranged in the form of a checklist; in other words, it's a to-do list where the order of tasks is usually important.

What are the 7 P's of information security? ›

We outline the anatomy of the AMBI-CYBER architecture adopting a balanced scorecard, multistage approach under a 7Ps stage gate model (Patient, Persistent, Persevering, Proactive, Predictive, Preventive, and Preemptive).

What are the 6 types of security? ›

What are the 6 types of security infrastructure systems?
  • Access Controls. The act of restricting access to sensitive data or systems enables your enterprise to mitigate the potential risks associated with data exposure. ...
  • Application Security. ...
  • Behavioral Analytics. ...
  • Firewalls. ...
  • Virtual Private Networks. ...
  • Wireless Security.
22 Feb 2022

What are the 4 main types of security vulnerability? ›

Security Vulnerability Types
  • Network Vulnerabilities. These are issues with a network's hardware or software that expose it to possible intrusion by an outside party. ...
  • Operating System Vulnerabilities. ...
  • Human Vulnerabilities. ...
  • Process Vulnerabilities.

What are five digital security risks? ›

Here are the current top five cyber threats that you should be aware of.
  • Ransomware. This is a form of malware (malicious software) that attempts to encrypt (scramble) your data and then extort a ransom to release an unlock code. ...
  • Phishing. ...
  • Data leakage. ...
  • Hacking. ...
  • Insider threat.

What are the top 5 information security challenges? ›

Top 5 cybersecurity challenges in 2022
  • Remote Work. The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the workplace and how it is secured. ...
  • Cloud Attacks. ...
  • Phishing Scams. ...
  • Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Attacks. ...
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks.
26 Aug 2022

How do you secure software applications? ›

Are you following the top 10 software security best practices?
  1. Patch your software and systems. ...
  2. Educate and train users. ...
  3. Automate routine tasks. ...
  4. Enforce least privilege. ...
  5. Create a robust IR plan. ...
  6. Document your security policies. ...
  7. Segment your network. ...
  8. Integrate security into your SDLC.
29 Jun 2020

How do you protect an app? ›

Here are the best ways to protect all the value in your app:
  1. Copyright an app. You can claim copyright protection for the actual code of an app, but there is a lot more copyright law protection. ...
  2. Patent an app. Patents have long protected software inventions, and apps are no different. ...
  3. Trademark an app.
2 May 2022

What's mobile app security? ›

Mobile app security is the practice of safeguarding high-value mobile applications and your digital identity from fraudulent attack in all its forms. This includes tampering, reverse engineering, malware, key loggers, and other forms of manipulation or interference.

What are the 3 types of software security? ›

There are three software security types: security of the software itself, security of data processed by the software, and the security of communications with other systems over networks.

What are the three types of security? ›

There are three primary areas or classifications of security controls. These include management security, operational security, and physical security controls.

What are the types of application security? ›

Different types of application security features include authentication, authorization, encryption, logging, and application security testing. Developers can also code applications to reduce security vulnerabilities.

How do I protect my apps privacy? ›

Android Phones

To review the permissions for a specific app, go to Settings > Apps > [app name] > Permissions. In most cases, you can then toggle between Allow and Don't Allow.

How do I make an app less secure? ›

  1. Go to your (Google Account).
  2. On the left navigation panel, click Security .
  3. On the bottom of the page, in the Less secure app access panel, click Turn on access . If you don't see this setting, your administrator might have turned off less secure app account access (check the instruction above).
  4. Click the Save button.

Can someone copy my app? ›

Without a clear and well-considered strategy, someone can not only copy the idea of your app but also launch it before you and steal your users. If you have a great app idea but still don't know how to protect it, stay with us and we'll teach you the best practices to defend your idea and your business form cloning.

How do I Security test my Android app? ›

Enlisted below are the most popular Mobile App Security Testing tools that are used worldwide.
  1. ImmuniWeb® MobileSuite.
  2. Zed Attack Proxy.
  3. QARK.
  4. Micro Focus.
  5. Android Debug Bridge.
  6. CodifiedSecurity.
  7. Drozer.
  8. WhiteHat Security.
25 Oct 2022

Why security is important for mobile app? ›

Mobile malware can easily track bugs and vulnerabilities in the source code and design because most of the code in a native mobile app is client-side. Reverse-engineering is commonly used by attackers to repackage well-known apps into rogue apps.

WhatsApp security risk? ›

Experts believe that malware was secretly downloaded onto Android devices when users attempted to download certain apps such as WhatsApp. Instead of downloading the app, the user was actually downloading dangerous malware, leaving their mobile device completely exposed.


1. OWASP AppSec EU 2013: Security Testing Guidelines for mobile Apps
2. The Mobile Testing Checklist Webinar
(Utopia Solutions Channel)
3. SECURITY TESTING FOR MANUAL QA | Software Testing Conference
(Test Pro)
4. How to kickstart Application Security Testing
5. Mobile App Security & Penetration Testing Gets Easier 🧠
(Astra Security)
6. ZAPCon 2021: Mobile Application Security Testing with ZAP
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