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The Mobile Application Hacker's Handbook by Dominic Chell, Tyrone Erasmus, Shaun Colley, Ollie Whitehouse

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CHAPTER 1Mobile Application (In)security

There is little doubt that mobile computing has changed the world; in particular, the way you work, interact, and socialize will never be the same again. It has brought infinite possibilities to your fingertips, available all the time. The ability to do your online banking, check your e-mail, play the stock market and much, much more are just a swipe away. Indeed, application development is now so popular that Apple’s trademark, “There’s an app for that” is bordering on reality.

This chapter takes a look how mobile applications have evolved and the benefits that they provide. It presents some metrics about the fundamental vulnerabilities that affect mobile applications, drawn directly from our experience, demonstrating that the vast majority of mobile applications are far from secure. We then examine a means to categorize these vulnerabilities based on the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10 mobile security risks. We also provide a high-level overview of some of the open source mobile security tools endorsed by OWASP, how you can use them to identify some of the issues detailed in the project, and where to find them. Finally, we describe the latest trends in mobile application security and how we expect this area to develop in the future.

The Evolution of Mobile Applications

The first mobile phone applications were developed by handset manufacturers; documentation was sparse, and little information existed in the public ...

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