Android Pentesting Approach and Checklist

Aditya Chauhan
3 min readMar 24, 2023

As mobile devices have become an essential part of our lives, the security of these devices has become a top priority. Android is one of the most popular mobile operating systems and it is imperative that its security is taken seriously. Penetration testing, commonly referred to as pentesting, is a process of evaluating the security of an Android application or system by simulating an attack. In this blog, we will discuss the approach and checklist for Android pentesting, SSL unpinning, static analysis, and dynamic analysis.

Android Pentesting Approach and Checklist

  1. Information Gathering: The first step in the pentesting process is to gather information about the target application. This includes the application name, version, developer, target platform, and permissions required by the application.
  2. Threat Modeling: Threat modeling involves identifying potential threats to the target application. This includes identifying attack vectors such as network vulnerabilities, input validation vulnerabilities, and authentication weaknesses.
  3. Vulnerability Assessment: Vulnerability assessment involves identifying security weaknesses in the target application. This can be done manually or through the use of automated tools.
  4. Exploitation: Exploitation involves attempting to exploit the identified vulnerabilities in the target application. This can be done manually or through the use of automated tools.
  5. Post-Exploitation: Once the vulnerabilities have been exploited, the pentester can attempt to gain further access to the target system. This can involve escalating privileges or attempting to extract sensitive information.
  6. Reporting: The final step in the pentesting process is to generate a report detailing the vulnerabilities found and the steps taken to exploit them. The report should also include recommendations for mitigating the identified vulnerabilities.

SSL Unpinning

Many Android applications use SSL/TLS encryption to protect data transmitted between the client and server. However, some applications may implement SSL pinning to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. SSL pinning involves hardcoding the server’s public key in the application, so that the client only trusts the server that has that key.

To bypass SSL pinning, a pentester can use SSL unpinning techniques. This involves intercepting and modifying SSL traffic between the client and server to bypass the SSL pinning mechanism. There are several tools available for SSL unpinning, including Frida, Charles Proxy, and Burp Suite.

Static Analysis

Static analysis involves analyzing the source code of the target application for security vulnerabilities. This can be done manually or through the use of automated tools. Common security vulnerabilities that can be identified through static analysis include input validation vulnerabilities, authentication weaknesses, and buffer overflows.

Dynamic Analysis

Dynamic analysis involves analyzing the behavior of the target application during runtime. This can be done through the use of debugging tools or by running the application in a controlled environment. Common security vulnerabilities that can be identified through dynamic analysis include network vulnerabilities, privilege escalation vulnerabilities, and data leakage vulnerabilities.

In conclusion, Android pentesting is an essential process for ensuring the security of Android applications and systems. It involves a systematic approach to identifying potential threats, assessing vulnerabilities, exploiting weaknesses, and generating a report with recommendations for mitigating identified vulnerabilities. SSL unpinning, static analysis, and dynamic analysis are important techniques that can be used to identify security vulnerabilities in Android applications. By following a comprehensive pentesting checklist and using the appropriate tools, organizations can ensure that their Android applications are secure and protected against potential attacks.

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Aditya Chauhan

ISO 27001 LA | VAPT | Synack Red Teamer | HTB Dante | HTB RASTA | HTB Cybernetics | HTB Offshore | HTB APTLabs | Cyber Security Analyst | Security Researcher