3 Major Penetration Testing Techniques

With an increasing number of companies now integrating computer systems and networks into their operations, it seems like hardly a day goes by without news of the latest cyber-security attacks. Cyber-criminals continue to steal priceless data and cause companies billions of dollars worth of damage at alarming rates. According to a report by Microsoft, cyber-security incidents result in a potential direct economic loss of AUD 29 billion for Aussie businesses.

As a result, companies are now giving more attention to cyber-security and looking at new options to enhance the security of their systems and networks. Penetration testing has emerged as one of the most efficient ways to combat the efforts of cybercriminals. This form of ‘ethical hacking’ identifies the security vulnerabilities and weaknesses of a system or network by exposing it to a simulated ‘real world’ attack. Conducting pen tests helps companies gain an idea of how strong their system’s defences are.

If your company engages in e-commerce or has an online presence, having a little knowledge about pen testing can always come in handy. Here are the 3 major penetration testing techniques used by pro testers.

Black Box Penetration Testing

Also known as the ‘trial and error’ approach, the purpose of this pen testing technique is to simulate a cyber attack where the hacker is not familiar with the IT structure of the target company and is launching a high-intensity all-out attack on the system, in the hope that they will find a weak spot and make a break through.

In this type of pen test, the tester is not provided with any information regarding the software architecture of the web application, and they must rely on automated processes to fully determine the vulnerabilities in the system. As a consequence, black box pen testing takes a considerable time to complete.

White Box Penetration Testing

In white box penetration testing, the tester is given full information regarding the web applications’ software architecture and its source code. This means that it can be completed in a considerably shorter time frame compared to black box pen testing.

Furthermore, white box pen testing is a much more thorough type of testing than black box testing. However, this type of testing requires more advanced testing tools such as debuggers and software code analysers.

Gray Box Penetration Testing

As implied by its name, this type of testing lies somewhere in between black box and white box testing. The tester only has partial knowledge on the particulars of the system and they initiate the test by focusing on those areas of the web application they know most about. Both, automated and manual processes can be used in the gray box test and there’s a higher chance of discovering the more obscure ‘weak spots’.

Lean Security’s effective penetration testing services can help you gain an insight on the security credentials of your company’s IT infrastructure. Contact us for further details.