Black Box Penetration Testing

The penetration testing domain encompasses varied types of testing techniques. Anyone looking to conduct a penetration test for their entity should know its distinct types. You must realize which kind of penetration testing you need for your cybersecurity paradigm. Each of these pentesting types has its own form of peculiarities. In the previous articles, we saw what these major penetration testing types entail. Now, we are about to take a deep dive into every single one of the prominent types of penetration tests. Firstly, we shall throw light on one of the most notable pentesting types- the black box or external penetration testing.


What do you mean by a black box pentest?

Black box penetration testing is a testing method where we evaluate the cybersecurity posture of an entity without any details regarding the system in effect. Also named behavioral testing, the technique proves helpful in conducting web application tests, physical penetration tests, or external tests.

Black box external tests are variants of penetration testing where the adversaries possess no information about the security structure of the client apart from the entity’s name. The testers seldom have any details like the inner framework of the software, the source code, the access information, or the application design. They just have the target URL to carry out the testing process. Thus, the term “black box” signifies the nil information initial phase of this penetration testing style. Black box testing is a counterpart of the white and gray box penetration testing types.

This form of pen testing helps in mimicking real-life situations of an actual cyber attack on the client’s security structure. Thus, a lot of cybersecurity specialists vouch for black-box external penetration testing.

What are the prominent types of black-box penetration testing techniques?

Syntax testing

It refers to a testing process that checks your system’s data input format. This testing technique helps discover the changed outcomes as a result of inputs that deviate from the syntax. You can carry out this testing with erroneous inputs or illegitimate delimiters.


This black box testing technique enables the system to evaluate web interfaces for absent input checks. Testers use a noise injection procedure wherein they insert random data or duly crafted data input. Fuzzing assists in the identification of abnormal program functioning.

Data analysis

Data analysis tests comprise the perusal of the data the target application system generates. This testing type ensures the proper working of the target system’s internal functionalities.

Exploratory testing

Under this testing technique, pentesters conduct tests without any predetermined plan or premise for any particular result. This testing is based on the notion that the outcomes of one test will steer those of further tests.

Monitoring program behavior

This technique allows testers to find underlying vulnerabilities in a given program. This is usually an automated testing method that permits quick detection of anomalies in your program’s behavior.

Test scaffolding

It indicates the process of using specific tools for automating required tests. The tools pentesters use may include test management tools, performance monitoring, and debugging. Testers can gain insight into critical program behavior using test scaffolding that is otherwise difficult to obtain with manual testing.


Why should you rely on black box pentest?

Hiring pentesters for penetration testing can help you in significant ways to attain your information protection goals. Here are some unmissable benefits of getting your cybersecurity posture “pen tested” using the black box method.

  • This pentesting tactic acts as a mirror to garner insight into the possible ploys that actual hackers might use for damaging your data or application.
  • Black box testing can help organizations discover inaccurate product builds like obsolete modules or missing files.
  • The testing style is a great way to unveil security problems related to your entity’s human resources. Pentesters can use social engineering strategies to uncover the same.
  • The identification of highly vulnerable exposures on your entity’s network or apps gets streamlined with black box pentesting
  • Black box pentests prove adequate to spot configuration or implementation glitches as testers carry them out for applications on run time.
  • This sort of penetration testing also helps source general vulnerabilities like XSS or SQL injections.
  • Black box pentesting is even valuable for locating issues birthed from the system interaction with the underlying environment. It can put forth instances of an unhardened operating system or any file’s misconfiguration.
  • This pentesting type supports faster fixing of errors as it offers detailed remediation information.

What is the general methodology used while undertaking black-box external penetration tests?

Pentesters can embark on black box pentesting engagements using the following step-by-step process:

  • First and foremost, the testing team should examine the preconditions and specifications of the system’s cybersecurity framework. Ideally, one must draft an SRS (Software Requirement Specifications) document.
  • Next, pentesters should analyze the valid inputs and possible test scenarios to efficiently test the system or application to attain adequate test coverage.
  • Moving forward, there should be a suitable development of varied test cases that allow the inclusion of a vast input range.
  • Then, the pentesters generate outputs by running the test cases in the system. Then, there is a pass or fail validation as per the outcomes.
  • Subsequently, the testers then forward the details of the instances with failed outcomes to the client’s team for correction.
  • Lastly, there is debugging and retesting the system to spot any recurring issues.

What are the inclusions in a black-box external penetration test?

The black-box external penetration test can involve the following:

  • Open intelligence information gathering

    Under this testing phase, pentesters shall cumulate critical information from publicly accessible data resources. The details uncovered can include personnel user ids or the target entity’s technology.

  • Vulnerability scanning

    It is an initial level test of the overall external pentesting. This assessment allows finding easily spottable weaknesses that can have a more considerable impact on overall cybersecurity.

  • Full port scanning

    A full port scan of the entity’s overall periphery supports identifying exposed elements and accepting inbound connections. The scan covers 1000 of the most popular UDP ports and the entire 65,535 TCP ports.

  • Manual as well as automated exploits

    These exploit attempts aim to detect exposures and vulnerable areas that usually remain unidentified in automated scans. It further covers gauging the risks linked with the detected vulnerabilities and recognizing the tackling control mechanism.

  • Password attacks

    Testers employ the identified vulnerabilities during the scans along with the information gathered during the reconnaissance to carry out such attacks. This external testing permits spotting account lockouts, failings of the client entity’s password policy, and multi-factor password programs.

  • Unauthenticated web app pentesting

    In the external form of web app pentesting, the pentesters do not have any proper credentials to log into the web application. They have to use details available to the general public to access the app and carry out the black box test.

What are some limitations you must know regarding black box pentesting?

The black box external pentesting cannot be considered a fool-proof testing method. Both client organizations and pentesters should be aware of the limitations of using black-box pentests.

  1. It does not deliver a complete overview of an entity’s security status.

    Black box tests comprise the assessment of the organization’s external security components. Thus, the internal state of affairs often gets ignored. Hence, it isn’t easy to discern an accurate picture of the effectiveness of the overall security posture.


  2. Black box testing covers considerable trial and error.

    Since pentesters do not hold much concrete information about the security system of the client entity, they use various assumptions as well as trial and error strategies to conduct the tests. This factor might lower the reliability of this testing method to a certain extent.


  3. There exists the possibility of extreme fluctuations in the complete duration of different black box pentests.

    There might be a significant variance between the time range of any two given black box pentest. It depends on the testing team’s abilities and the organization’s security structure’s complexity. The disclosure of necessary ambiguities and risks might take place in a brief span or may even take months.

Conduct pentests like Black box external penetration testing with total dexterity with NaviSec!

Our company’s honed team of security pros can facilitate the implementation of productive penetration testing projects, including black-box tests. Our result-oriented, holistic work approach makes us an ideal cybersecurity advisor for diverse forms of businesses. Collaborate with us and unravel the numerous benefits of maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture for your company! Call now!

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