InformationalAugust 31, 2023Exploring the Latest iOS Pentesting Tools and Techniques

Due to our increasing dependence on mobile applications, ensuring their security has become more crucial. iOS devices continue to dominate the market; therefore, organizations must conduct effective pen testing using iOS devices to identify vulnerabilities and protect sensitive user data. In this blog, we’ll look in-depth into iOS pen testing by exploring tools and techniques designed to increase iOS application security. 

Importance of iOS App Security 

  • At a time when cyber threats are constantly evolving, iOS app security must not be underestimated. Protecting sensitive user information like personal data, financial details, and intellectual property from intrusion is of utmost importance – breached security could result in irreparable reputational damage and legal or financial penalties that must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. 
  • Hackers are continually searching for vulnerabilities in iOS apps to exploit, making it necessary for organizations to stay one step ahead.  
  • Conducting comprehensive pen tests allows organizations to proactively identify and address security weaknesses, thereby decreasing potential attacks and creating a robust security posture. 

Understanding iOS Pen Testing  

  • Before diving into the latest tools and techniques, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals of iOS pen testing. 
  • It involves simulating real-world attacks to discover vulnerabilities that malicious actors could exploit. 
  • iOS pen testing involves assessing the security of iOS apps.  
  • This involves inspecting various components, such as their code, network communications, user authentication mechanisms, and storage practices.  
  • By conducting comprehensive pen tests on these platforms, organizations can gain insights into potential vulnerabilities while making informed decisions to mitigate risks. 

Common Issues in iOS Pentesting 

Pentesting iOS applications is essential for app security; however, it presents its challenges. One such challenge lies within Apple’s restrictive security measures on the iOS operating system, making identifying vulnerabilities harder than with other platforms. One challenge associated with iOS app development is its fast-paced nature. To conduct accurate assessments, pen testers must remain up-to-date with new features, updates, or security patches. Furthermore, due to varying iOS devices and versions being tested against, complex testing procedures require that testers possess an in-depth knowledge of this ecosystem. 

Latest Pen Testing Tools 

To effectively perform iOS pen testing, utilizing the most cutting-edge tools and technologies is critical. Below are some of the top iOS pen-testing tools: 

1) MobSF (Mobile Security Framework)

MobSF is an open-source mobile app security testing framework compatible with iOS that enables testers to analyze iOS app security by scanning for vulnerabilities, including insecure data storage, improper session handling, and code injection. 

2) Objection

Objection is a relatively recent addition to penetration testing tools. Runtime mobile exploration toolkit that enables cybersecurity professionals to analyze and manipulate Android applications. Through code injection, manipulation of method calls, and exploration of app internals during runtime, Objection makes flaw detection more rapid. QTester makes this accessibility possible with its user-friendly command-line interface and Python scripting features for a quick testing experience for novice testers alike. Objection stands out in an ever-evolving landscape of penetration testing tools with its focus on mobile security – providing tailored approaches specifically adapted to mobile environments to optimize the efficiency of its overall test suite.

3) Frida

Frida is a dynamic instrumentation toolkit for iOS apps that enables testers to inject custom scripts directly into running apps for testing purposes, including decrypting network traffic, changing app behavior, and analyzing runtime behaviors. This powerful tool provides various solutions, such as decrypting network traffic or modifying app behavior and runtime analysis. These tools, among many others available on the market, provide all the capabilities necessary for identifying vulnerabilities in iOS apps and ensuring their security. 


Ghidra is a tool created by the National Security Agency (NSA), an open-source penetration testing software solution. This program aids cybersecurity specialists in dissecting and understanding various programs’ inner workings. Ghidra allows security professionals and researchers to examine software in depth for vulnerabilities that could be exploited through Ghidra. Ghidra features disassembly decompilation scripting collaboration capabilities, quickly becoming popular within cybersecurity circles for its effectiveness at assessing software security while uncovering any weaknesses that make for effective modern penetration tests.

These tools, among many others available on the market, provide all the capabilities necessary for identifying vulnerabilities in iOS apps and ensuring their security. 

Discovering Advanced Pentesting Techniques for iOS 

Basic pen testing techniques cover the fundamentals, while advanced techniques must be utilized to uncover complex vulnerabilities. Here are some advanced pentesting techniques for iOS: 

1) Static Analysis

Static analysis involves performing an in-depth examination of iOS app source code without actually running it to detect vulnerabilities at its core, such as unsecured data storage, lack of input validation, and improper error handling. Hopper and IDA Pro are typically utilized as tools for static analysis. 

2) Dynamic Analysis

Dynamic analysis involves running an iOS app under controlled conditions to observe its behavior to discover vulnerabilities that are only identifiable during runtime, such as insecure network communication, sensitive data leakage, or improper session management. Tools like Cycript and Charles Proxy are often employed for dynamic analysis. 

3) Reverse Engineering

 Reverse engineering refers to analyzing the compiled binary of an iOS app to gain insight into its inner workings and discover hidden vulnerabilities or potential attack vectors. Tools such as class dumps and agencies are frequently employed for reverse engineering. 

By including these advanced techniques in their pen testing process, organizations can gain greater insights into the security of iOS apps and better defend against potential threats. 

Best Practices for Conducting iOS Pen Tests 

For maximum effectiveness of iOS pen tests, it’s crucial to adhere to best practices. Here are a few key points: 

  • Establish Clear Goals: The scope and objectives of a pen test must be clearly set forth in order to cover all critical areas. This includes identifying an iOS app as a target, specifying testing methodologies, and allocating tester access levels accordingly. 
  • Stay Up-to-Date on iOS Security: Staying informed on the latest iOS security features, vulnerabilities, and attack techniques is essential to ensuring pen testing accurately reflects current threats. This can provide you with reliable results during pen testing sessions. 
  • Cooperate With Developers: Cooperate between your pen testing and app development teams to facilitate better communication and understanding of app architecture for more effective testing and remediation efforts. 
  • Document and Communicate Findings: Record any vulnerabilities identified, their potential impacts, and recommended remedial steps. Share this information with the necessary parties, such as developers, management, or security teams, so timely action can be taken on these findings. 

By following these best practices, organizations can maximize the effectiveness of their iOS penetration tests and increase the overall security of their applications. 

Future Trends in iOS Pentesting 

As technology develops, so too does iOS pen testing. Here are a few future trends to watch out for: 

  1. Increased Automation: Given the increasing complexity of iOS applications, automation will play an increasingly crucial role in pen testing. Cutting-edge tools and frameworks will continue to enable automated vulnerability scanning, code analysis, and security testing. 
  2. Focus on Secure Development: Companies will increasingly prioritize secure development practices by integrating security measures at every stage of the app development lifecycle, thereby decreasing the need for extensive pen testing and producing more secure iOS applications. 
  3. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence: Machine learning and artificial intelligence will be leveraged to increase the efficiency and accuracy of iOS pen testing. These technologies can identify patterns, detect anomalies, and predict vulnerabilities, making tests more accurate and efficient. 

iOS penetration testing is essential in maintaining the security of iOS applications in today’s threat landscape. By understanding its basics, taking advantage of new tools and techniques available, and following best practices for testing iOS applications, organizations can take proactive measures against vulnerabilities while safeguarding sensitive user data. As iOS pen testing evolves, organizations must stay abreast of its latest trends and technologies to stay ahead of potential attackers and maintain an effective security posture. As soon as security breaches appear, implement iOS pen testing as part of your app development and security practices to remain proactive and safeguard user data. 

Now that you understand the value of iOS penetration testing take steps to secure your applications. Speak with our team of specialists directly about your individual needs so they can increase iOS security. 

Redfox Security is a diverse network of expert security consultants with a global mindset and a collaborative culture. If you are looking to improve your organization’s security posture, contact us today to discuss your security testing needs. Our team of security professionals can help you identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your systems, and provide recommendations to remediate them.

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Srish Chopra

Srish Chopra

Intern | Redfox Security