OWASP Mobile Application Security Verification Standard (MASVS): Extensive Guide

OWASP Mobile Application Security Verification Standard (MASVS): Extensive Guide

The increasing number of smartphone users over the past decade has resulted in a significant rise in the usage of mobile applications. The advent of applications has significantly transformed the modes of communication, interaction, and business operations. Although mobile applications have enhanced our daily routines, there remain unresolved security issues that require attention. Cyber-attacks can result in a range of negative consequences for an enterprise, from unauthorized access to data to the deletion of app data. It is not surprising that the majority of attacks in modern times are driven by financial motives. In order to uphold the confidentiality and accuracy of data, it is imperative to implement comprehensive security solutions.

The OWASP Mobile Application Security Verification Standard (MASVS) is a project developed by OWASP that emphasizes the importance of mobile application security. The significance of safeguarding data has become increasingly evident due to the potential compromise of application security caused by various factors such as insecure mobile devices and device theft. The MASVS offers a standardized security framework for diverse applications that are vulnerable to various threat scenarios. This article aims to provide insight into the importance of the MASVS in ensuring mobile app security.


The MASVS is an openly available standard that establishes a fundamental level of security for mobile applications. The system features multiple verification levels that are specifically designed to ensure the security of applications that are exposed to different levels of risk. The MASVS endeavors to establish a uniform set of criteria for a wide variety of applications while considering the prevailing threat environment. The objectives of MASVS are as follows:

Application developers may use the security standards stated in the MASVS as a standard against which to evaluate the apps they have developed in the past.

This document is intended for use as a guide. This tool can serve as a guide for developers and testers throughout all stages of mobile application development and testing. Intended for utilization during the procurement process. The MASVS serves as a fundamental framework for the authentication of security measures in mobile applications.

The categories of the OWASP MASVS:

Presented below are the comprehensive security requirements of MASVS, which have been classified into eight categories ranging from V1 to V8.

  • Requirements For Architecture, Design, and Threat Modelling

This particular category pertains to the app’s architecture and design. It is imperative for mobile applications functioning as clients of remote services to ensure that appropriate security standards are implemented for said remote services. Applications must have sufficient processes in place to address security concerns starting from the planning phase of the app’s architecture.

  • Data Storage and Privacy

This particular category of MASV pertains to the verification of security requirements aimed at safeguarding sensitive data within applications. Sensitive data comprises personally identifiable information (PII), such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and health information. The aforementioned data comprises contractual information and compliance-protected data.

  • Verification Of Cryptography 

The security controls outlined in this section are intended to provide app developers with guidance on the best practices for utilizing cryptography. The focus of this chapter is on advocating for and facilitating the use of well-known cryptographic libraries, generating random numbers, and setting up cryptographic primitives.

  • Authentication And Session Management Requirements

The process of logging into a remote service is a crucial aspect of mobile app architecture. As per the guidelines outlined in MASVS V4, there are fundamental requirements for effectively managing user accounts and sessions. Verification of these requirements does not necessitate access to the source code of the service endpoint.

  • Network Communication Requirements

This chapter places an emphasis on the significance of maintaining the confidentiality and safety of data during transmission between mobile applications and serverless backends. In order to provide a secure connection to the network, the mobile application must include the TLS protocol and create an encrypted channel. It is strongly recommended to use defense-in-depth strategies, such as SSL pinning, for any system that is level 2 or higher or higher.

  • Environmental Interaction Requirements

This section pertains to the standard components and platform APIs utilized by the application, along with the security standards that must be implemented for inter-process communication.

  • Code Quality and Build Setting Requirements

This section pertains to security controls that address security coding practices to be employed during the process of application development. In addition to that, it highlights how important it is to enable the safety mechanisms that are built into the compiler. In this part, topics such as ensuring that the software has been signed with a valid certificate and stressing the need of having error-handling logic that by default denies access are covered.

  • Resistance to The Need of Reverse Engineering

The last part of the process involves the adoption of suitable protection measures that make the application resistant to efforts by hackers to perform reverse engineering. After conducting an exhaustive analysis of the protection needs posed by the applicable application, it is strongly suggested that the controls described in this section be put into action. This is because the amount of danger that is connected with reverse engineering may vary greatly depending on the individual application that is being used, which is why this occurs. Increasing the application’s level of safety should be the primary motivation for putting in place these controls. Because this program does not have these controls, there is no chance that any vulnerabilities will be exposed.


The OWASP MASVS, in collaboration with Appsealing, delivers a standard that is acknowledged across the industry. This standard outlines security rules that are appropriate for a variety of different threat situations. Because it encourages consistency in test outputs, the MASVS is a very useful tool for security testers to have at their disposal. In addition to reverse engineering resiliency criteria, the MASVS consists of two separate security verification levels. The term “standard security” is often used to refer to Level 1, whereas “defense-in-depth” is the name given to Level 2, which goes above and beyond the requirements for standard security.