7 Free Mobile App Security Testing Tools That Work Like a Charm

The increasing proliferation of cross-functional mobile apps across multimedia, travel, utilities, and communication industries is a critical factor in fuelling the mobile app security market globally. Also, the widespread deployment of cloud applications is bolstering the test automation market’s potential further. Hence, the free mobile app security tools have turned out to become a strategic aspect of all Application Development processes.

The connection between the smartphone user and the mobile apps is getting more robust than ever. Right from waking up in the morning to going back to sleep, every task involves reliance on mobile apps. 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.

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 the ecosystem. 

Very rarely, business ventures can manage functioning without the need for a mobile application. The growth in the mobile apps industry has boosted the adoption of app security tools. And this boost will only continue to increase in the future.

Mobile Application security tools enables enterprises to build reliable applications that are scalable and accessible across multiple platforms. It’s a process to test all applications based on how securely they function and how susceptible they are to security attacks. Mobile applications are getting complex, and there is a need for end-to-end security systems to be placed. With the cyber risk landscape expanding, the need to check each application from all probable security aspects is important.

14.91 billion mobile devices are currently in use in 2021, and in this new age of technology revolution, mobile apps and trending technologies rule the everyday life of individuals. Plus, the budding concept of leveraging Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in mobile apps is quickly becoming one major factor for the growing demand for testing tools. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have penetrated mobile apps in the gaming domain and social media. And, security tools are a must to confirm the reliability of all these apps.

What the Numbers Tell Us About Mobile App:

  • Around 115 billion mobile apps were downloaded across the globe in 2019 (Sensor Tower)
  • In the year 2019, an average US resident spent three and a half hours on their mobile device
  • Around 120 billion hours are spent by users on mobile gaming apps in a year (Business of Apps)
  • The total number of apps downloaded on Apple Store in 2019 - 30.6 billion (Sensor Tower)
  • The total number of apps downloaded on the Google Play Store in 2019 - 84.3 billion (Sensor Tower)
  • According to a forecast, in 2019, around $461 billion was generated in revenue through mobile apps (Statista)
  • Cyberattacks in 2019 targeting smartphones increased by 50% as compared to 2018 (ZDNet
  • In 2019, malware attacks on mobile banking apps also increased by 50% as compared to 2018 (DarkReading)

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) 

OWASP

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

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

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

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)

MOBSF

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

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

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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Published on Dec 15, 2018
Harshit Agarwal
Written by Harshit Agarwal
Harshit Agarwal is co-founder and CEO of Appknox, a mobile security suite that helps Enterprises and Financial institutions to automate mobile security. Over the last 6 years, Harshit has worked with over 300+ businesses ranging from top financial institutions to Fortune 500 companies to set up security practices helping organisations secure their mobile applications and speed up the time for security testing.

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