SEC575: Mobile Device Security and Ethical Hacking

GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB)
GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB)
  • In Person (6 days)
  • Online
36 CPEs

SEC575 will prepare you to effectively evaluate the security of mobile devices, assess and identify flaws in mobile applications, and conduct a mobile device penetration test - all critical skills required to protect and defend mobile device deployments. You will learn how to pen test the biggest attack surface in your organization; dive deep into evaluating mobile apps and operating systems, and their associated infrastructure; and better defend your organization against the onslaught of mobile device attacks.

What You Will Learn

Imagine an attack surface that is spread across your organization and in the hands of every user. It moves regularly from place to place, stores highly sensitive and critical data, and sports numerous and different wireless technologies all ripe for attack. Unfortunately, such a surface already exists today: mobile devices. These devices constitute the biggest attack surface in most organizations, yet these same organizations often don't have the skills needed to assess them.

SEC575 Now Covers Android 11 and iOS 14

SEC575: Mobile Device Security and Ethical Hacking is designed to give you the skills to understand the security strengths and weaknesses of Apple iOS and Android devices. Mobile devices are no longer a convenience technology - they are an essential tool carried or worn by users worldwide, often displacing conventional computers for everyday enterprise data needs. You can see this trend in corporations, hospitals, banks, schools, and retail stores across the world. Users rely on mobile devices today more than ever before -- we know it, and the bad guys do too. The SEC575 course examines the full gamut of these devices.

Learn How to Pen Test the Biggest Attack Surface in Your Entire Organization

With the skills you learn in SEC575, you will be able to evaluate the security weaknesses of built-in and third-party applications. You'll learn how to bypass platform encryption and manipulate apps to circumvent client-side security techniques. You'll leverage automated and manual mobile application analysis tools to identify deficiencies in mobile app network traffic, file system storage, and inter-app communication channels. You'll safely work with mobile malware samples to understand the data exposure and access threats affecting Android and iOS, and you'll learn how to bypass lock screens to exploit lost or stolen devices.

Take a Deep Dive into Evaluating Mobile Apps and Operating Systems and Their Associated Infrastructures

Understanding and identifying vulnerabilities and threats to mobile devices is a valuable skill, but it must be paired with the ability to communicate the associated risks. Throughout the course, you'll review ways to effectively communicate threats to key stakeholders. You'll learn how to use industry standards such as the OWASP Mobile Application Security Verification Standard (MASVS) to assess an application and understand all the risks so that you can characterize threats for managers and decision-makers. You'll also identify sample code and libraries that developers can use to address risks for in-house applications.

Your Mobile Devices are Going to Come Under Attack - Help Your Organization Prepare for the Onslaught

In employing your newly learned skills, you'll apply a step-by-step mobile device deployment penetration test. Starting with gaining access to wireless networks to implement man-in-the-middle attacks and finishing with mobile device exploits and data harvesting, you'll examine each step of the test with hands-on exercises, detailed instructions, and tips and tricks learned from hundreds of successful penetration tests. By building these skills, you'll return to work prepared to conduct your own test, and you'll be better informed about what to look for and how to review an outsourced penetration test.

Mobile device deployments introduce new threats to organizations, including advanced malware, data leakage, and the disclosure to attackers of enterprise secrets, intellectual property, and personally identifiable information assets. Further complicating matters, there simply are not enough people with the security skills needed to identify and manage secure mobile phone and tablet deployments. By completing this course, you'll be able to differentiate yourself as someone prepared to evaluate the security of mobile devices, effectively assess and identify flaws in mobile applications, and conduct a mobile device penetration test - all critical skills to protect and defend mobile device deployments.

Syllabus (36 CPEs)

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  • Overview

    The first section of SEC575 looks at the significant threats affecting mobile device deployments. The section features a hands-on exercise to evaluate network traffic from a vulnerable mobile banking application. As a critical component of a secure deployment, we will examine the architectural and implementation similarities and differences between Android (including Android 11) and Apple iOS 14. Hands-on exercises will be used to interact with mobile devices running in a virtualized environment, including low-level access to installed application services and application data. Finally, we will examine how applications interact with each other, as application interaction creates an interesting attack surface for mobile penetration tests.


    Mobile Problems and Opportunities

    • Challenges and opportunities for secure mobile phone deployments
    • Weaknesses in mobile devices
    • Exploiting weaknesses in mobile apps: Bank account hijacking exercise

    Mobile Device Platform Analysis

    • iOS and Android permission management models
    • Code signing weaknesses on Android
    • Android app execution: Android Runtime vs. Android Dalvik virtual machine
    • Latest Android and iOS security enhancements

    Mobile Application Interaction

    • Android application interaction through activities, intents, services, and broadcasts
    • iOS application interaction through schemes and universal links
    • Protection of application components through permissions and signatures

    Mobile Device Lab Analysis Tools

    • Using iOS and Android emulators
    • Android mobile application analysis with Android Debug Bridge (ADB) tools
    • Uploading, downloading, and installing applications with ADB
    • Interacting with applications through Activity Manager
  • Overview

    A very important threat for mobile devices is the stolen or lost device, as this can cause a major disclosure of sensitive information. In this course section we first examine how a device can be properly protected, and how someone might be able to circumvent those protections. Once the device has been accessed, we examine which information is available and how we can access it. On the other hand, gaining privileged access to a device is often needed to perform a security assessment, so we will take a look at the steps required to root an Android phone and jailbreak an iOS device. At the end of the section, we will take a look at how mobile malware abuses the ecosystem to steal money or data or brick the device.


    Unlocking, Rooting, and Jailbreaking Mobile Devices

    • Legal issues with rooting and jailbreaking
    • Jailbreaking iOS
    • Android root access through unlocked bootloaders
    • Root exploits for Android
    • Using a rooted or jailbroken device effectively: Tools you must have!

    Mobile Phone Data Storage and File System Architecture

    • Data stored on mobile devices
    • Mobile device file system structure
    • Decoding sensitive data from database files on iOS and Android
    • Extracting data from Android backups

    Mobile Device Malware Threats

    • Trends and popularity of mobile device malware
    • Mobile malware command-and-control architecture
    • Efficiency of Android ransomware malware threats
    • Analysis of iOS malware targeting non-jailbroken devices
    • Hands-on analysis of Android malware
    • Mobile malware defenses: What works and what doesn't
  • Overview

    One of the core skills you need as a mobile security analyst is the ability to evaluate the risks and threats a mobile app introduces to your organization. The lectures and hands-on exercises presented in this course section will enable you to use your analysis skills to evaluate critical mobile applications to determine the type of access threats and information disclosure threats they represent. We will use automated and manual application assessment tools to statically evaluate iOS and Android apps. Initially, the applications will be easy to understand, but towards the end of the section we will dig into obfuscated applications that are far more difficult to dissect. Finally, we will examine different kinds of application frameworks and how they can be analyzed with specialized tools.


    Reverse-Engineering Obfuscated Applications

    • Identifying obfuscation techniques
    • Decompiling obfuscated applications
    • Effectively annotating reconstructed code with Android Studio
    • Decrypting obfuscated content with Simplify

    Static Application Analysis

    • Retrieving iOS and Android apps for reverse engineering analysis
    • Decompiling Android applications
    • Circumventing iOS app encryption
    • Header analysis and Objective-C disassembly
    • Accelerating iOS disassembly: Hopper and IDA Pro
    • Swift iOS apps and reverse-engineering tools
    • Effective Android application analysis with MobSF

    Third-Party Application Frameworks

    • Examining .NET-based Xamarin applications
    • Examining HTML5-based PhoneGap applications
  • Overview

    After having performed static analysis on applications in the previous course section, we now move on to dynamic analysis. A skilled analyst combines both static and dynamic analysis to evaluate the security posture of an application. Using dynamic instrumentation frameworks, we see how applications can be modified at runtime, how method calls can be intercepted and modified, and how we can have direct access to the native memory of the device. We will learn about Frida, Objection, Needle, Drozer, and method swizzling to fully instrument and examine both Android and iOS applications. The section ends with a look at a consistent system for evaluating and grading the security of mobile applications using the OWASP Mobile Application Security Verification Standard. By identifying these flaws we can evaluate the mobile phone deployment risk to the organization with practical and useful risk metrics. Whether your role is to implement the penetration test or to source and evaluate the penetration tests of others, understanding these techniques will help you and your organization identify and resolve vulnerabilities before they become incidents.


    Manipulating and Analyzing iOS Applications

    • Runtime iOS application manipulation with Cycript and Frida
    • iOS method swizzling
    • iOS application vulnerability analysis with Objection
    • Tracing iOS application behavior and API use
    • Extracting secrets with KeychainDumper
    • Method hooking with Frida and Objection

    Manipulating and Analyzing Android Applications

    • Android application manipulation with Apktool
    • Reading and modifying Dalvik bytecode
    • Adding Android application functionality, from Java to Dalvik bytecode
    • Android application interaction and intent manipulation with Drozer
    • Method hooking with Frida and Objection

    Mobile Application Security Verification Standard

    • Step-by-step recommendations for application analysis
    • Taking a methodical approach to application security verification
    • Common pitfalls while assessing applications
    • Detailed recommendations for jailbreak detection, certificate pinning, and application integrity verification
    • Android and iOS critical data storage: Keychain and key store recommendations
  • Overview

    After having analyzed the applications both statically and dynamically, one component is still left untouched: the back-end server. In this course section we will examine how you can perform ARP spoofing attacks on a network in order to obtain a man-in-the-middle position, and how Android and iOS try to protect users from having their sensitive information intercepted. Next, we'll examine how you can set up a test device to purposely intercept the traffic in order to find vulnerabilities on the back-end server. We end the section by creating a RAT application that can be used during a red team assessment in order to target users and gain access to internal networks.


    Network Manipulation Attacks

    • Using man-in-the-middle tools against mobile devices
    • Sniffing, modifying, and dropping packets as a man-in-the-middle
    • Mobile application data injection attacks

    SSL/TLS Attacks

    • Exploiting HTTPS transactions with man-in-the-middle attacks
    • Integrating man-in-the-middle tools with Burp Suite for effective HTTP manipulation attacks
    • Bypassing Android's NetworkSecurityConfig and Apple's Transport Security

    Web Framework Attacks

    • Site impersonation attacks
    • Remote browser manipulation and control
    • Data leakage detection and analysis
    • Hands-on attacks: Mobile banking app transaction manipulation

    Using Mobile Device Remote Access Trojans

    • Building RAT tools for mobile device attacks
    • Hiding RATs in legitimate Android apps
    • Customizing RATs to evade anti-virus tools
    • Integrating the Metasploit Framework into your mobile pen test
    • Effective deployment tactics for mobile device Phishing attacks
  • Overview

    In the final section of SEC575 we will pull together all the concepts and technology covered throughout the course in a comprehensive Capture-the-Flag event. In this hands-on exercise, you will examine multiple applications and forensic images to identify weaknesses and sources of sensitive information disclosure, and analyze obfuscated malware samples to understand how they work. During this mobile security event you will put into practice the skills you have learned in order to evaluate systems and defend against attackers, simulating the realistic environment you will be prepared to protect when you get back to the office.

GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst

The GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst (GMOB) certification ensures that people charged with protecting systems and networks know how to properly secure mobile devices that are accessing vital information. GMOB certification holders have demonstrated knowledge about assessing and managing mobile device and application security, as well as mitigating against malware and stolen devices.

  • Analyzing application network activity and static applications, assessing mobile application security
  • Attacking mobile & wireless infrastructure & web applications, unlocking & rooting mobile devices
  • Managing android and iOS devices, manipulating mobile application behavior and network traffic
  • Mitigating against mobile malware & stolen mobile devices, penetration testing against mobile devices
More Certification Details


Students should have familiarity with network penetration testing concepts, such as those taught in the SANS SEC504 or SEC560 courses.

Laptop Requirements

Important! Bring your own system configured according to these instructions!

A properly configured system is required to fully participate in this course. If you do not carefully read and follow these instructions, you will likely leave the class unsatisfied because you will not be able to participate in hands-on exercises that are essential to this course. Therefore, we strongly urge you to arrive with a system meeting all the requirements specified for the course.

In this course, students will use an advanced lab system to maximize the time spent on learning objectives and minimize setup and troubleshooting.

Students may use the latest version of Windows 10 or macOS 10.15.x or later for exercises. You will need a wired network adapter to connect to the classroom network. Larger laptop displays will make for an improved lab experience (less scrolling).

Your course media will now be delivered via download. The media files for class can be large, some in the 40 - 50 GB range. You need to allow plenty of time for the download to complete. Internet connections and speed vary greatly and are dependent on many different factors. Therefore, it is not possible to give an estimate of the length of time it will take to download your materials. Please start your course media downloads as you get the link. You will need your course media immediately on the first day of class. Waiting until the night before the class starts to begin your download has a high probability of failure.

SANS has begun providing printed materials in PDF form. Additionally, certain classes are using an electronic workbook in addition to the PDFs. The number of classes using eWorkbooks will grow quickly. In this new environment, we have found that a second monitor and/or a tablet device can be useful by keeping the class materials visible while the instructor is presenting or while you are working on lab exercises.

Author Statement

"The first iPhone was released in 2007, and it is considered by many to be the starting point of the smartphone era. Over the past decade, we have seen smartphones grow from rather simplistic into incredibly powerful devices with advanced features such as biometrics, facial recognition, GPS, hardware-backed encryption and beautiful high-definition screens. While many different smartphone platforms have been developed over the years, it's quite obvious that Android and iOS have come out victorious.

"While smartphones provide a solid experience right out of the box, the app ecosystem is probably the most powerful aspect of any mobile OS. Both the Google Play and Apple App stores have many millions of applications that increase the usefulness of their platforms and include everything from games to financial applications, navigation, movies, music, and countless other offerings.

"However, many people's smartphones also contain an incredible amount of data about both their personal and professional lives. Keeping those data secure should be a primary concern for both the OS and the mobile application developer. Yet, many companies today have implemented a bring-your-own-device policy that allows smartphones onto their network. These devices are often not managed and thus bring a new set of security threats to the company.

"I wrote this course to teach you about all the different aspects of mobile security, both at a high level and down into the nitty-gritty details. You will learn how to analyze mobile applications, attack smartphone devices on the network, man-in-the-middle either yourself or others, and root/jailbreak your device. You'll also learn what kind of malware may pose a threat to your company and your employees.

"Mobile security is a lot of fun, and I hope you will join this course so that we can share our enthusiasm with you!"

- Jeroen Beckers


SEC575 is directly useful training - both to penetration testers and developers.
Roy Cabaniss
You think you know cybersecurity, then you take SANS SEC575 and --bam!-- you realize there is so much more to learn!
Steve M.
The explanations of the concepts behind the tools are great! SEC575 provides both the process and application of tools - not just a ton of tools and information.
Sean Burden
Western Union

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