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The iOS Pentesting Checklist

by Apollo Archie
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It is extremely important to ensure the security of your network. And it is possible through iOS pentesting. It detects all existing and possible coding errors that were not noticed during the development process of mobile applications.

iOS pentesting is a series of tests designed to exploit security vulnerabilities in the iOS operating system and network security. It also includes installation and configuration until software and hardware vulnerabilities are discovered and used. Read more about the benefits of iOS penetration testing below.

The Role of Permanent and Temporary Jailbreak for an iOS Application

It is a typical case to store sensitive information on mobile devices. And each downloaded iOS app asks permission for specific functions. So people are sure that everything they buy at the Apple app store is safe.

However, it is also common when people to try to download unknown app files for free. And their installations led to a jailbroken device. It has different types, but can they pass security testing successfully.

Untethered jailbreak

It does not require a connection to a computer to reboot the device. You can restart your iPhone as you want. And it will automatically jailbreak the boot. It can be applied in several ways, most commonly a kernel exploit. However, it also has another name – permanent jailbreak.

Semi-tethered jailbreak

It is a jailbreak that relies on a tethered boot to restore the kernel. After the device boots, the user must launch a mobile app or press a button to patch the kernel. However, it has certain risks to the security of sensitive data.

Semi-untethered jailbreak

It is similar to the second one because it allows the device to boot independently. But it requires the user to run a program on their computer that helps re-jailbreak the device. So, they are more stable but still considered more challenging to use for local files.

What Attack Vectors Can Be Dangerous to Your iOS Devices?

Testing of the official and other apps includes both server and client components.

  • Public networks analysis. Most programs communicate with servers via clear text transmission, so attackers or hackers can steal storing data in transit.
  • Application data about errors and debugs. Some developers and reverse engineers ignore error messages hackers or attackers use to understand the internal architecture. They use standard and short error messages about security risks to avoid this.
  • Local data storage. IOS developers typically use plain text to store sensitive data to avoid encryption. This attack is also known as storing sensitive data in clear text. This sensitive information may include private API keys, JWT tokens, credentials, etc.
  • Malicious code. When it makes changes, the resulting software is called malware. Attackers often re-sign programs and publish malicious versions in third-party markets.

It is highly recommended to test mentioned vectors in all iOS applications.

Essential Methods and Tools to Use in Security Testing

Secure coding is a must when developing applications today. Here are some tips for iOS versions security:

  • Encryption of data is one of the important components of any mobile application. It includes any sensitive information sent through your server or data protection API.
  • Hardcoded credentials are passwords or keys that are hard-coded or embedded in a program’s source code, executable, or library file. They are used by applications to access network resources or application servers.
  • Code obfuscation is a method of obfuscating or breaking source code, i.e., turning it into a different form, making it unreadable to humans. Code mining is a measure to prevent hackers from reverse engineering your iOS application.
  • HTTPS is a protocol for secure communication over computer networks after installing decrypted IPA files on iOS systems. The primary purpose is to provide confidentiality and data integrity between two interacting systems. It is mainly used on servers for secure transactions.

You can run penetration testing of any of this OWASP mobile checklist:

  • iOS Keychain by using SQLite databases;
  • NSUserDefaults with encrypted files as plist file;
  • SSL with the implementation of certificate key pinning.

Security researchers do their best to provide all available application security methods and prove their importance for your devices. However, even a non-dangerous mistake, in combination with other issues in the file system of iOS apps, can become a severe threat. So, always secure your sensitive information.

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