Modern life has, arguably, entirely become dependent on mobile devices and thus the emphasis on developing more technologically advanced mobile apps and hardware is huge. This also indicates that there is a significant chance that cybercriminals may attack these devices by taking advantage of the security flaws since there are so many changes and upgrades.
Apple has always positioned their products, or anything related to them as the most secure devices in the market when it comes to data privacy and security, thus, designing an iOS application and ensuring that it is completely secure becomes particularly important for the app creators.
How to do that? Let us understand!
iOS Penetration Testing – What is it?
Because Apple has a more tightly controlled environment, iOS application PEN-Testing is more like thinking outside of the box security than Android penetration testing. Finding security loopholes in an application is what security testing or VAPT (Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing) is all about. We attempt to hack the app and, in some cases, search the source code (white box) for any potential security flaws during security testing. iOS applications with security flaws have long been a significant source of concern. There are more security flaws now than there were before these iOS apps became so popular.
iOS penetration test is a means of finding and exploiting security vulnerabilities in iOS applications. To undermine network security and attack security related bugs in the iOS operating system, the tests include everything from installation and configuration to finding and exploiting software and hardware vulnerabilities. The technique could involve utilizing an automated tool or decompiling the application to find any flaws that might result in bugs.
iOS VAPT – What it includes?
Static application testing and dynamic application testing are carried out as part of iOS vulnerability assessment and penetration testing. It’s fine to carry out any of the two testing, but what about jailbreaking the iPhone? Like how in Android operating system, the device must be rooted to continue with the VAPT, in iOS, the iPhone device must be jailbroken to do so.
Performing a thorough analysis of every application flow and entry data points, including how and where the data is kept on the device or sent to from APIs (Application Programming Interface) is the first and most crucial stage. This can be accomplished by functionally testing the application, reviewing its code, or troubleshooting it by verifying all potential user inputs, checking the rules for validation, enterprise logic, etc.
iOS VAPT – Different Approaches
The three potential approaches that could exist are as follows:
- Black Box Testing: Without prior knowledge of the internal network or systems, testing is conducted from an external network.
- Gray Box Testing: With knowledge of the internal network & system, tests from either external or internal networks are conducted. It combines black box testing with white box testing.
- White Box Testing: Testing within the internal network using the knowledge of the internal network and systems also called internal testing.
iOS Penetration Testing – Why it is required?
Any mobile security audit must include an iOS penetration test. This is due to the functionality of the devices and the way the applications are used. With numerous security measures, frameworks, and functionalities, iOS applications are getting increasingly complicated because of which it is becoming exceedingly challenging for anyone to be aware of an iOS application’s vulnerabilities before it is released.
To uncover security loopholes in applications that could be abused or result in vulnerabilities, iOS penetration testing is used. iOS penetration testing enables you to examine all the applications’ security features and make sure there are no security flaws. This will enable you to confirm that your application is free of security flaws. Some of these weaknesses could lead to data theft, information leakage, and even the loss of sensitive data, all of which would be devastating for the company or any personal user.
iOS VAPT – Area of Concern
An application’s server-side and client-side components are both tested as part of an iOS penetration test to determine how secure it is. There are few key areas that need to be evaluated when undertaking iOS penetration.
- Analysis of Network Traffic: Since most applications use clear-text communication, such as HTTP, to communicate with the server, attackers or hackers can steal important data while it is in transit.
- Messages for Errors and Debug: Error messages are typically ignored by developers, but hackers and attackers can utilize them to learn about the internal architecture. Developers employ concise, standardized error messages to prevent this.
- Storage of Local Data: iOS developers typically keep sensitive data in plain text rather than using encryption. Clear Text Storage of Sensitive Data is another name for this attack. Sensitive API keys, JWT tokens, credentials, and other data may be included in this information.
- Insufficient Authentication and Authorization: Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting are the three A’s of information security. Every development process must include a proper implementation of authentication and authorization. Numerous security vulnerabilities are caused by insufficient access constraints which are typically not found by automated scanners.
- Tampering with the Code: Code alterations that are made without authorization are referred to as “code modifications.” The resulting software is called malware when malicious code, intended to disrupt, destroy, or obtain unauthorized access, is modified. The malicious versions of the applications are typically published to third-party app stores after being re-signed by the attackers.
- Basic Security Loopholes: Be on the lookout for relatively common security issues like exposing an API key or some crucial information in the source code.
- Weak Cryptography: Use of improper or susceptible encryption algorithms can cause problems.
iOS Application Security – Best Practices
Here are a few of the most useful mobile app security recommended practices to consider:
- Data encryption: One of the crucial components of any app’s security is encryption. The problem is that, in many instances, the data encryption is insufficient. All data transferred over your app must be encrypted to secure users of the iOS application. Any information transmitted over your server or APIs falls under this category.
- To prevent reverse engineering, use code obfuscation: Code obfuscation is a technique used to obscure or scramble source code, or to transform source code into another form, rendering it unintelligible to humans. Obfuscating your code is a precautionary approach to stop hackers from reverse engineering your iOS app.
- Avoid using hardcoded credentials: The passwords or keys that are incorporated or hardcoded in the application’s executable, library, or source code and are visible to end users are known as hardcoded credentials. Application users can access network resources or the application server using the hardcoded credentials. Typically, the program’s source code contains the hardcoded credentials, which may be simply accessible during an application inspection.
- Use detection techniques for code tempering: Hackers attempt tampering to change the application’s source code. Injecting their harmful code into your application is the goal. This code can be used to hijack your servers or steal data from your application. Although tampering is obviously not a new issue in the IT industry, it has recently received increased attention because of the discovery of the first notable attacks. The most typical method of spotting tampering is by checking the application’s source code to ensure there are no unauthorized changes in the source code.
- Use HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, is a protocol for safe communication over a network of computers. The primary goals of HTTPS are to protect user privacy and data integrity between two communicating computer systems. It ensures that data isn’t changed or intercepted as it travels between two systems. On servers, this protocol is generally utilized for secure transactions.
Any company planning to release an iOS application or one they currently possess can benefit greatly from iOS penetration testing. Your organization’s data and information are better protected when you work with a company that specializes in this kind of security. Security failures and the loss of crucial data could result from even minute mistakes in the application code.
Through vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, techniques are offered to discover any existing flaws and thwart potential attacks. In addition to finding defects and explaining the necessary mitigation procedures to either fix them or reduce their risk, it provides a surface-level assessment of the application security posture.
We have supported organizations in the development, deployment, and management of security products on a global scale by defending connected device networks across device-connectivity-application levels through strategic, transformative, and managed operations approaches.
Moreover, eInfochips has a 360-degree cybersecurity experience for threat modelling and VAPT spanning devices, OS/firmware, web/mobile applications, data, and cloud workloads to satisfy security industry standards, rules, and recommendations from bodies like NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), ENISA (European Union Agency for Cybersecurity), OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project), MITRE (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research and Engineering), and IoT (Internet of Things) Security Foundation.
We can be your one-stop shop for all your requirements, from strategic assessments and transformations to complete implementations and managed security operations. At the device, connection, and application layers, our diverse cybersecurity engagements adhere to industry security norms. For more information about our cybersecurity testing services, contact our infosec experts right away.