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Offensive Cybersecurity FAQs Offensive Cybersecurity FAQs

  • What Levels Of Access Are Used During Penetration Testing?

    Pentesting can be performed from different levels of access. Referred to as "black box," "grey box," and "white box" testing, these penetration testing types are categorized based on the level of knowledge and access shared with the tester by the client.

    Black Box Penetration Testing Service

    A black box test simulates an average hacker without much knowledge of the internal system or network. It attempts to exploit vulnerabilities of parts of the network that the public might see. As an example, a black box test might determine if hackers could breach an eCommerce site. This is usually the fastest type of test to run. On the other hand, if this test fails to breach security, it won't uncover internal cybersecurity issues that a more sophisticated test typically would.

    Gray Box Penetration Testing Service

    A gray box text rests between a black box and a white box test. Testers develop these simulations to understand issues that an average system could cause if they had bad intentions or if their login permissions were stolen. For example, a gray box test might look for application vulnerabilities in an information system that employees generally use.

    White Box Pen Testing Service

    Since organizations need to account for internal threats or stolen login permissions, they may choose a white box test to see if people with strong credentials could create mischief if they were so inclined. For example, these tests might determine the issues a hacker who obtained the login information from somebody in IT or IS. This kind of test typically takes the longest to plan and run, but it can offer genuinely robust information security suggestions.

    Each approach has its pros and cons, and each of these three testing approaches can yield specific objectives, but there are tradeoffs with each. For instance, theoretically, with black box testing, this would be ideal since the tester puts themselves in a hacker's position with the same level of knowledge, which is essentially nothing. However, allowing more access can be a significant time-saver since pen testers can quickly get to the root of any problems since they have internal knowledge.

    Speed, efficiency, and coverage also are considerations. Black box testing is the fastest, but without internal knowledge, vulnerabilities can be overlooked in a risk assessment that a cybercriminal might find. White box testing takes the longest, but it is a fully comprehensive form of penetration testing that allows the ability to truly vet out an organization's internal network and security system, enabling pentesting to eliminate false positives.

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