Penetration testing & types | White box, Black box, Grey box

Penetration testing & types | White box, Black box, Grey box

Penetration testing is also known as pen testing or ethical hacking. It describes the intentional launching of simulated cyberattacks that seek out exploitable vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, websites, and applications. Although the main objective of pen testing is to identify security weaknesses, penetration testing tools can also be used to test the robustness of an organization’s security policy, its regulatory compliance, its employees’ security awareness, and the organization’s ability to identify and respond to security incidents as they occur.

Let’s know about Penetration testing types:

  • White Box Penetration testing
  • Black Box Penetration testing
  • Grey Box Penetration testing
White Box Penetration testing

White box penetration testing involves sharing full network and system information with the tester, including network maps and credentials. This helps to save time and reduce the overall cost of an engagement.

A white box penetration test is useful for simulating a targeted attack on a specific system utilizing as many attack vectors as possible.
The process is the opposite method of black-box penetration testing. The testers are also provided with complete access to architecture documents of web application, its source code and more. This testing practice helps the testers to perform static code analysis by improving the familiarity with the source code, debuggers, and the usage of tools. This method is a comprehensive assessment method of testing to identify external and internal vulnerabilities.

Black Box Penetration testing

In a black box penetration test, no information is provided to the tester at all. The pen tester in this instance follows the approach of an unprivileged attacker, from initial access and execution through to exploitation. This scenario can be seen as the most authentic, demonstrating how an adversary with no inside knowledge would target and compromise an organization. However, this typically makes it the costliest option too.

In this type of penetration testing, the pentester plays a similar role as a hacker, with no knowledge upon the targeting system. This method helps to sort out the vulnerabilities that can be exploited from the outside network. To perform the black box pen testing, the pentester should be familiar with the methods of manual penetration testing and automated scanning tools.

Grey Box Penetration testing

In a grey box penetration test, also known as a translucent box test, only limited information is shared with the tester. Usually this takes the form of login credentials. In addition to this, the testers will be provided with partial knowledge or access to the web application and internal network.

Grey box testing is useful to help understand the level of access a privileged user could gain and the potential damage they could cause. Grey box tests strike a balance between depth and efficiency and can be used to simulate either an insider threat or an attack that has breached the network perimeter.

In most real-world attacks, a persistent adversary will need to conduct a detailed reconnaissance on the target environment, giving them similar knowledge to an insider. That is the reason that grey box testing is often favored by customers as the best balance between efficiency and authenticity, stripping out potentially time-consuming reconnaissance.

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