Since 1997, the Nokia 6110 included a built-in version of the basic arcade game “Snake,” which many consider as the very first mobile application in the world. The world has evolved in particular after the Apple iphone iOS and Google Android platform, making mobile applications so accessible by almost all the smartphones in the world.
More and more enterprises are building up their own mobile applications and getting users or forcing users to install, so they can access their services. It is the norm right now.
With so many mobile applications developing each year, good and bad, some even make use of 3rd party developed modules that developers do not even have the source code in hand. Depend on the typical software development lifecycle and budget it has for the mobile application build up and the function and how mission-critical and type of transaction it is designed to allow for. Hackers target those mobile applications that can transact huge amounts of the bank account money, to steal privacy and sensitive information for the other cybercrime use case. Any of the customer leakage due to whatever reason, enterprise who make the mobile application will be facing reputational damage, where most of the enterprise or government agencies do not want to be.
As such, a special niche domain of solution is emerging in the market known as mobile application security testing (Mobile AST), depending on the purpose for the testing, it can make use of the source code perform static analysis, to dynamic analysis based on the binary and simulated of the mobile phone platform. Do not confuse it with another branch of solution known as mobile device management (MDM) that deals with control of what is allowed to install into typically enterprise mobile devices or employee mobile devices to prevent some of the sensitive business information being leaked somewhere somehow.
In the best ideal scenario, each of the mobile application development needs to perform static analysis of the source code, fix all the vulnerabilities found then do binary analysis to find out more in the production build interact with the mobile smartphone platform. It’s just like a coin has two faces, we cover both sides. For budget constraints scenario, then customers need to choose a test to be done and bring the most value they can get.
In general, for mobile apps with the source code in hand, it’s good to do static analysis, because it where the vulnerability, the security code bug is located. For enterprises to have only one or few mobile apps, it makes sense to go for licensing by per app license subscription model. Single install unlimited scan unless it is in the price range you found it affordable, or after calculating for few mobile applications is better go for single install unlimited scan basis. The choosing criteria is about your current using and intent to be a test platform. What future needs to use or maybe use, may or not may be relevance much, that is the most is wish list. Of course, if enterprise is affordable for the Mobile AST, SAST can support multiple platforms and extensive language and framework is the plus. But let focus on what you need at hand first. Typically all the Static application security testing (SAST) tools will offer IDE add on to major supported Integrated Development Environment (IDE). But if just occasionally or ad hoc users, it does not matter, what you need is to scan the entire project in one go.
For mobile AST to handle binary analysis, it is typically based on the platform specific, or unified platform to count iOS and Android mobile apps as two different mobile app counts. Typical business model is licensed by per scan or app per year subscription basis via the cloud. For customer heavy use can consider those specific platform solutions installed and perform on premise.
E-SPIN in the business for consulting, advice, project management, training and maintenance for application security testing (AST) since 2005, for the domain of mobile application security testing (Mobile AST), we cover end to end from static to binary dynamic, per application to unlimited application licensing that fit various business usage case and scenario. Feel free to contact E-SPIN for your mobile application security testing (Mobile AST) requirements.