Black Box Penetration Testing: Is It Right for My Business?
Penetration testing is a popular approach for businesses to determine how strong their cyber defenses are against attackers and uncover security gaps.
Nevertheless, if you’re wondering whether a penetration test is a good idea for your company, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are several sorts of penetration tests available, so determining which is best for your company is the first step.
In this post, we’ll look at black box penetration testing, so keep reading to find out what it is, what it entails, and how you can determine whether it’s a suitable fit for your company.
What is black box penetration testing?
You’ve probably heard the terms white box, grey box, and black box penetration testing, but what’s the difference? It all boils down to the quantity of information and access given to the pen tester before to the test.
Black box penetration testing refers to the type of testing in which the pen tester must attempt to infiltrate your company’s network while having no inside information. Consider the pen tester to be completely ‘in the dark’ in a black box.
In comparison, white box penetration testing provides pen testers with access to information that the developer would not have, such as code, implementation details, and design documentation.
Yet, black box penetration testing is likely the most accurate representation of an actual attack, demonstrating how far a hacker could go starting from a complete unfamiliarity with the target.
How is black box penetration testing carried out?
A penetration tester performing a black box penetration test should be familiar with manual pen testing procedures as well as how to use automated scanning tools to find vulnerabilities and misconfigurations that expose the network to exploitation.
A black box pen test involves evaluating public-facing systems from the outside in. This could include, for example, a firewall or a router.
The pen tester may begin by gathering as much information as possible and mapping out the network to determine where they might be able to breach the perimeter.
After vulnerabilities are discovered, they are exploited, and the pen tester attempts to gain control of the compromised network or device.
After the test, the pen tester will provide you with a report explaining what vulnerabilities were discovered, how high risk they were, what they were able to obtain access to, and maybe corrective advise so you can fix these risk areas.
Black box pen tests are the quickest to do and can tell you how safe your exterior perimeter is, but because the tester has such limited knowledge of the environment, they are likely to miss weaknesses beneath the surface. It is not as thorough as other methods of pen testing, but it is a better emulation of an actual attacker and how they may try a breach.
Should I get a black box pen test for my business?
A black box pen test has numerous advantages. As previously said, black box testing is faster and hence less expensive than other methods of testing; however, the trade-off is that the tester will not go as in-depth, there will be a lot of guesswork, and they will most likely not reveal all of the vulnerabilities.
If you’re obtaining a pen test because it’s mentioned as a necessity by a company you supply or a tender you’re seeking to win, a black box pen test may not be enough. At the very least, you may need to go through a grey box level.
Despite the more limited findings, black box penetration testing is the most authentic, making it perfect for simulating a genuine assault and seeing what happens from the perspective of an end-user with no knowledge of the internal structure. It can immediately point to weaknesses in your external assets such as web applications, VPNs, or web servers, all of which must be established.
Pen tests are pretty expensive (at least a few thousand dollars), so if you don’t have a large budget, black box penetration testing is obviously preferable to nothing and will provide you with a more accurate picture of how a hacker may carry out an attack. Grey or white box testing, on the other hand, is ideal if you can afford more complete and rigorous testing or if you need to test the important components of your system.
A vulnerability assessment is a far less expensive alternative to black box pen testing that may be sufficient to provide you with a solid overview of your security. These aren’t exploitative in nature, but they’re an excellent place to start if you’re not sure where your weaknesses are. Often, vulnerability assessments will comprise of automated scans that provide a broader coverage of your network, devices, and servers, whereas a pen test can be much more effective at digging much deeper into individual holes and assessing the potential for damage.