IP spoofing
August 23, 2023

IP Spoofing & How It Helps Your App

Mobile Application Testing
Digital Experience

For many who are fluent in the language of the internet, IP spoofing can often be referred to in a negative light. For the more nefarious corners of the digital landscape, IP spoofing refers to a type of cyber attack where a hacker uses a device or network to trick others by pretending to be something legitimate. They then use the falsified IP to gain access to computers or devices to gather sensitive data or launch worse attacks. 

But did you know IP spoofing can be a good thing? 

The development of web and mobile apps can be benefited greatly by leveraging IP spoofing. Location plays a major role in how web and mobile apps function — serving up different search results and content based on where a user is located. Being able to test against a wide range of locations can only improve the performance of your app. 

In this blog, we will talk about what IP spoofing is, how testing with IP spoofing works, and why Perfecto is an industry leader in geolocation testing. 

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What is IP Spoofing?

IP spoofing is the creation of Internet Protocol (IP) packets with a falsified source IP address to impersonate another computer system. IP spoofing allows testing teams to change a computer or device’s reported location. 

Location services can be a fickle thing for many users — they are justifiably paranoid about sharing their location and associated data. This means that some may have their location services turned off or refuse to allow apps to use their geolocation (the GPS function within the device). So, without the ability to leverage geolocation for testing, IP spoofing is the only option to determine a user’s location.  

Why Use IP Spoofing?

A company may offer different products and services depending on the location of the user. For example, a bank may offer certain financial services in some countries but not others. It is better for the server to simply not show those services rather than have the user presented with a lot of irritating “not available in your location” messages. An online retailer may offer different types of shipping depending on the location of the buyer. Having the mobile gateway know the location of the user based on their IP address can avoid displaying choices to a user that may not be available in their location. 

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How IP Spoofing Works

Data passing through the internet is assembled into “packets” that contain an Internet Protocol (IP) comprised of the destination IP address and the source IP address. IP spoofing takes those packet components and modifies them to suit whatever location is desired by the testing team to test against. 

Here is an example of what IP spoofing looks like:

Location on a mobile device.

A device you are testing indicates it is physically located on the East Coast of the United States. But maybe we want to test functionality in a different country entirely. 

Changing a device's location.

Here we have set the location to Paris, France despite the physical location of the device remaining on the East Coast. The map app on the device shows Paris, yet the backend server thinks the device is on the East Coast. Furthermore, we can leverage IP spoofing to augment a device’s IP geolocation features where the device registers its location, the backend server also recognizes it in this same location, yet the map app on the device indicates a different location. 

In this example, the device’s location is set to Brazil, the device’s map app shows it is on the East Coast, and the backend server registers the device as in Brazil. 

The backend server and map show different locations.
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IP Spoofing & Geolocation Testing With Perfecto

One of the features of Perfecto’s powerful app testing platform that sets itself apart from others in the market is its IP spoofing and geolocation testing functionality. 

Geolocation testing of mobile and web apps means testing against IPs of various geographical locations. Some examples of geolocation that benefit an app include notifications, performance, checking notifications, and more. 

GPS navigation apps are not the only apps using geolocation. Today, routes, locations, and the estimated time of arrival are implemented into a variety of apps including rideshare, food delivery, e-commerce, games, and social media.    

An app may load successfully from one location but may not load as desired from a different location. Also, an app will serve up specific content such as pop-up messages or the like based on a user’s location. That is why it is imperative to test against all potential scenarios for users with IP spoofing and geolocation testing.  

How to Automate Geolocation Testing & IP Spoofing

Geolocation testing and IP spoofing is easy with a commercial cloud solution like Perfecto. Simply access the device you need and simulate your user behavior by entering the location you wish to test.    

By adding IP geolocation into your web and mobile tests, you can validate scenarios like languages, currencies, time zones, and more. These automated tests may be coupled with other testing paradigms like end-to-end regression to mimic a complete test environment in a single location.

Automating geolocation testing.

The most efficient way to perform geolocation testing is to automate the testing with a tool like Appium. Users can simulate web and mobile app behavior from various locations using Appium's IP geolocation feature, which uses IP addresses from various countries.     

By adding IP geolocation into your tests, you can validate scenarios like languages, currencies, time zones, and more. These automated tests may be coupled with other testing paradigms like end-to-end regression to mimic a complete test environment in a single location.  

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Bottom Line

While the term “IP spoofing” can have negative connotations because of its association with hacking, it can also be a really great tool in the development of your app for ensuring optimal location services functionality. 

With Perfecto, geolocation testing and IP spoofing can easily be incorporated into your testing strategy. It can also be automated to help save on time, money, and resources. To experience the power of Perfecto’s geolocation testing and IP spoofing (available in Enterprise clouds only), get started testing today with our 14-day free trial. 

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