Android Testing Cheat Sheet
Last revision (mm/dd/yy): 02/24/2017
This cheat sheet provides a checklist of tasks to be performed to do a penetration test of an Android application. It follows the OWASP Mobile Top 10 Risks list.
A complete android pen testing involves different areas such as the ones described in the above picture
In this first phase, the focus relies on understanding the application logic and what exactly the application does. This involves some manual test where we do some basic operations such as install the APK on the phone, login and comprehend the functionality of the app.
Map the application for possible security vectors such as:
This is one of the most challenging and exciting parts of the pentest assessment. Android apps are packed as an APK, also known as Android Package Kit or Android Application Package. Our mission as Pen testers is to verify how well protected the application has been created and designed against known threat actors.Android Mobile applications are distributed through platforms like Google Play. Since the application is fully installed on the client, it becomes vulnerable to any attacks coming from the client.
As we need to identify vulnerabilities in the Client, is also essential to verify how secure is the communication between the Client and the Server by evaluating the traffic. For this purpose, using tools like Attack proxies, evaluating potential SSL issues, and executing Wireshark Data package inspection is an essential part of the assessment.
Last but not least, issues at the Server level will impact the security of the application. Insecure implementation such as misconfigurations , vulnerabilities and issues at API or Database level, affect also the security of an application
At the device level, there are 2 ways in which the application shall be tested. Reverse Engineering is an essential part of pen testing mobile applications. It also requires the use of rooted devices. If you have been wondering why do we need to Reverse Engineer an installed APK, the major reason relies on the client.
There are also different ways to pentest the application , and we should consider in which case we need to use one or the other
At the application level, there are 2 ways in which it shall be tested
OWASP Step-by-step Approach
(For each of the standards below, there shall be multiple steps for the tester to follow])
M1 - Improper Platform Usage
https://developer.android.com/reference/android/Manifest.permission.html certain permissions can be [dangerous] such as:
M2 - Insecure Data storage
This Section should be ideally tested after using the application for some time. This way application has time to store some data on the disk.
Commonplaces to look at
M3 - Insufficient Transport Layer [Network/Traffic attacks]
Multiple layer of checks to be performed here
1. On Server side
2. On Device Side
M4 - Unintended Data Leakage
Simmilar to M2 this section requires application to be used however while the application is in use we need to monitor following places.
M5 - Poor Authorization and Authentication
One of the simplest check's to be performed after application is used for some time and it has time to put the data inside system.
M6 - Broken Cryptography
There are multiple things to look at
M7 - Client Side Injection
Android applications need to store data locally in sqlite files or XML structures and hence need to performs either SQL/XML Queries or file I/O.
This gives rise to 2 major issues.
If the application is a HTML5 hybrid application then Cross Site Scripting (XSS) should also be considered. XSS will expose the entire application to the attacker as HTML5 applications will have the ability to call native functionality and hence control over the entire application.
M8 - Security Decisions via untrusted inputs
M9 - Improper Session Handling
Improper Session Handling typically results in the same outcomes as poor authentication. Once you are authenticated and given a session, that session allows one access to the mobile application. There are multiple things to look at
M10 - Lack of Binary Protection
Android Binaries are basically dex classes, which if not protected can result in an easy decompilation of source code. This could lead to code / logic leakage.
Following controls need to be checked for and validated:
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