What is black box penetration testing and why choose it?

Penetration testing is an integral part of every organization’s security efforts. You might think of penetration testing as a straightforward process without any other groupings, but that’s not the case. There are actually three types of penetration testing, one of which is black-box penetration testing.

So, what exactly is black box penetration testing and what does it take? Is black box penetration testing the best testing method for your business? Find out below.

What Is a Penetration Test?

Penetration testing is a form of ethical hacking that involves organizations authorizing and simulating cybersecurity attacks on websites, mobile applications, networks, and systems, using penetration testing tools and cybersecurity policies to uncover vulnerabilities.

Penetration testers or ethical hackers try to hack into your system before real cybercriminals. This way, you can find vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them, thus preventing cyber attacks; It’s all about staying ahead of the curve. There are three types of penetration testing: white box, gray box, and black box penetration.

What Is a Black-Box Penetration Test?


Black-box penetration testing is when no information about the system is provided to the penetration tester. Penetration testers have no knowledge of the blueprint of the system and no access to the code, implementation processes, applications, and networks used by the organization. The only permissions that a penetration tester can use are user permissions.

Penetration testers actually go in blindly and try to find vulnerabilities independently using automated and manual penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, social engineering attacks, and trial and error. Black box penetration testing is also known as external or closed-box penetration testing.

Black-box penetration testing is the most accurate representation of a real cyberattack because, like hackers, penetration testers know nothing about the systems running within an organization and must conduct monitoring and information gathering phases independently.

What are the advantages of black box penetration testing?


The biggest advantage of black box penetration testing is that it is real and unbiased. This is the way you get to the actual cyberattack. Hackers targeting your system do not have any special knowledge or privileges. And, just like hackers, penetration testers look around and test all possible vulnerabilities for positive results.

Since no prior knowledge or special permissions were disclosed, penetration testers had an open and impartial mindset about scanning. Penetration testers can treat penetration testing neutrally and discover vulnerabilities that organizations may be missing. In penetration testing, which provides prior access to system blueprints and processes, there is a greater chance that penetration testers will focus on one specific set of vulnerabilities and ignore others.

What are the disadvantages of black box penetration testing?

The main drawback of black box penetration testing is that it is not as effective as gray box and white box penetration testing. This is caused by insufficient information provided. Without special insight and only basic permissions, penetration testers may not be able to sneak into sensitive parts of an organization’s systems and networks that can be vulnerable.

Cybercriminals may spend months crawling through an organization’s systems, looking for vulnerabilities, but penetration testers don’t have that much time, so they need to be the first to strike.

Is black box penetration testing the right choice for your organization?

The answer to this question depends on the scope of the test and the resources available to you. If you want to save costs, or just test a new add to your system — for example, an application or a new web service — black-box penetration testing is your best bet because it only covers a limited area.

However, if you want to do an in-depth and meticulous scan of vulnerabilities in your system and be able to afford it, you should also consider other types of penetration testing.