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The mobile app ecosystem is one of the biggest industries on this planet. It consists of millions of mobile app developers, billions of smartphone owners and numerous multi-billion dollar companies that drive this ecosystem.

Incidentally, this ecosystem is turning 10 in the summer of 2018. At the forefront of this ecosystem is the mobile apps that have become such a critical aspect of our everyday lives.

The connection between the smartphone user and the mobile apps is getting stronger than ever. Right from waking up in the morning to going back to sleep, every single task has a mobile app presence to it.

Starting from waking up to the sound of an alarm, checking messages or emails of the previous night, to the trending news of the day, booking a cab to work, playing music during the commute or watching a video, and the list goes on and on.

“12.1 billion mobile devices will be in use by 2018; half of the globe’s employers require BYOD by 2017; 67 percent of CIOs and IT professionals are convinced that mobility will impact their organizations as much, or more, than the Internet did in the 1990s.” - Crowd Research Partners

The list doesn't just end here. In fact, the new age is said to be revolutionary with the combination of mobile apps and the trending technologies of our current times.

The buddying concept of using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in mobile apps is quickly becoming the new talk of the town. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have penetrated mobile apps not just in the gaming domain but also in social media.

What the Numbers Tell Us About Mobile App:

1) For every eight minutes, users spend on smartphones, seven of those minutes are spent in apps (Smaato).

2) Users now spend approximately five hours per day on their mobile devices (Flurry).

3) The total number of mobile app downloads in 2017 – 197 billion (a forecast) (Statista)

4) The total number of iOS app downloads in 2016 – 25+ billion (Source: App Annie)

5) The total number of Android app downloads in 2016 –  90 billion (App Annie)

6)  A report by Statista forecasts mobile augmented reality applications to grow to more than 5 billion units by 2019.

7) Ninety-four percent of IT professionals expect mobile security attacks to become more frequent, while 79 percent report increased difficulty securing devices (Dimensional Research).

8) Over the past two years, the number of vulnerability scans directed at IoT devices has increased 458 percent (AT&T).

Imagine so much is happening in this ecosystem yet the privacy and security aspect of a mobile app takes a hit. More often it is replaced by the convenience and the time to market priorities of the business owners. So much time and money is devoted to other parameters such as Performance, Usability, Functionality, Compatibility, Load etc.

The bad news is that securing mobile apps is not an easy affair. The added sophistication of the multiple mobile OS used nowadays makes the matter worse. But the good news is that there are several mobile app security testing tools available that are useful in the various aspects of mobile app security such as active threat monitoring, malware analysis, real-time security testing etc.

7 Free Mobile App Security Testing Tools

1)  OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) 

The OWASP ZAP is one of the world’s most popular mobile app security testing tools that is free to use and is actively maintained by hundreds of volunteers worldwide. OWASP ZAP helps in finding security vulnerabilities automatically in applications during the development and testing phase. It's also a great tool for pentesters who are experienced enough to use it for manual security testing.

2) QARK (Quick Android Review Kit) 

QARK is part of those mobile app security testing tools that are designed to perform source code analysis and find out potential security vulnerabilities in Android apps. It is community-based, available to everyone and free for use.

It also attempts to provide dynamically generated Android Debug Bridge (ADB) commands to aid in the validation of potential vulnerabilities it detects.

3) Devknox

From our list of mobile app security testing tools, Devknox is first of its kind, enabling developers to detect and resolve security issues as they write code in Android Studio.

While Devknox checks for basic mobile security issues, developers also get real-time suggestions to fix these issues instantly. Consider it to be like an autocorrect for security issues. It also takes care of your app security requirements and keeps it up to date with global security standards.

4) Drozer

Drozer is a comprehensive security and attack framework for Android. This mobile app security testing tool allows you to assume the role of an Android app, and to interact with other apps, through Android’s Inter-Process Communication (IPC) mechanism, and the underlying operating system. What makes it different and unique from other automated scanners is its interactive nature.

5) MobSF (Mobile Security Framework)

Mobile Security Framework is an automated mobile app security testing tool for Android and iOS apps that is capable of performing static, dynamic analysis and web API testing.

MobSF can effectively be used for a quick security analysis of Android & iOS apps. It supports binaries (APK & IPA) and zipped source code.

6) Mitmproxy

Mitmproxy is a free open-source tool that allows users to intercept, inspect, modify and replay any traffic flows exchanged between an app and backend services. The name itself is derived from a kind of cyber attack called as MITM (Man in the Middle attack).

In the case of a MITM attack, the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are directly communicating with each other.

7) iMAS

iMAS is an open source mobile app security testing tool that helps developers in encrypting application data, prompt for passwords, prevent application tampering, and enforce enterprise policies on iOS devices.

Whether one needs to check for jailbreaks or debuggers, secure sensitive information in memory, or mitigate against binary patching, iMAS helps your iOS app protect itself in a hostile environment.

Last but not the least,  security is not a one-off thing. It's something which needs to be taken care of every single day. We hope these 7 free mobile app security testing tools help you in getting a head start with security.

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Topics: mobile apps, BYOD, mobile security, security, devknox, mobile app security testing tools

Hardeep Singh

Written by Hardeep Singh

Outreach Manager @appknox. #ProactiveAlways towards Social Media, Startups and Tech Evangelism.

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