White Box vs. Black Box Penetration Testing
When it comes to hacking, there are many technical aspects that can be difficult to grasp without an extensive background in the field. One of the most common sources of confusion is the comparison between black box penetration testing and white box penetration testing.
White Box Penetration Testing
White box penetration testing can also be called glass box penetration testing or clear box penetration testing. In any case, it's an approach to penetration testing that relies on the knowledge of the target system's internal configuration. It uses this information for the test cases.
For applications, the source code of the application will usually be provided for white box penetration testing. Design information and even interviews with the developers may also be included. For infrastructure penetration tests using the white box method, the test cases will use infrastructure details and network maps.
Regardless of the test case, the goal of a white box penetration test is to get as much info as can be had. The penetration tester is trying to collect as much feedback as they can so that they can gain further insight and, ultimately, understand the system so that they can further elaborate their penetration tests.
Black Box Penetration Testing
A black box penetration test does not require any up-front information to be given to the penetration tester. Instead, the penetration tester will approach the test case like a real hacker would. This means they have little to no background information about the system and they don't have internal maps or other information either.
This allows testing to get started with very little prep work, and it allows the penetration tester to identify weak spots based on what a real-world hacker is most likely to target. However, that can leave some spots of the infrastructure untested.
Making a Decision
Each method has its own set of advantages and drawbacks.
For white box tests, the advantages include:
- White box penetration tests are deep and thorough
- These tests maximize the use of time spent testing
- The testing area tests even areas that black box testing can't reach, like the quality of the code
For black box tests, the advantages include:
- A black box test is a more realistic attack because it takes the stance of a non-informed potential attacker.
- It simulates a very realistic scenario, helping a business be on their highest guard.
The biggest disadvantage to a black box penetration test, of course, is that some scenarios can't maximize testing time. Some areas of the infrastructure may also remain unreached and, therefore, untested in a black box scenario. But, the testing of a black box penetration will focus on the areas hackers are most realistically likely to target.
Keeping all of this in mind, there is no right or wrong decision when it comes to choosing a type of penetration testing. It really depends on the scenarios you are looking to test and what you feel will make the most of your resources.
Most Recent Articles
- EV Charging Station security demonstrator
- Five Ways AI And Machine Learning Can Enhance Cybersecurity Strategy
- C-ITS ITS-S Security microservice
- C-ITS PKI as a Service
- Creative Dock, TeskaLabs, Indermedica, Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade and Line 1212 launch the indicative test for new COVID-19 coronavirus
You Might Be Interested in Reading These Articles
Containerization is an alternative for full machine virtualization. You probably know well-known containerization technology from Docker or Rocket. However, this article addresses the pros and cons of mobile “containerization” or wrapper used to isolate the mobile app from the mobile operating system or other applications installed on the same device. These type of “containerization” work in a different way.
Published on September 27, 2016
It’s clear that POS systems are a source of important and valuable data, and have the power to either speed up the progress or to stop the development of a company, depending on whether or not they are used. POS data is a business asset. Despite this vital importance, such an asset is not afforded the protection it deserves.
Published on March 07, 2017
Mobility has always been at the cutting edge of human innovation and technological advancement. This is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Already, mobility as we know it is seeing significant disruption thanks to the entry of nontraditional players who are leveraging the power of computing devices and the Internet. But few things are likely to have a bigger impact on mobility than the enormous volumes of data that will be generated as a result.
Published on February 10, 2019