What is Penetration Testing (PenTest): Types of Penetration Testing from Black to White Box and everything in-between

Periodic evaluations of our data protection policies utilizing techniques like penetration testing have become a pressing priority. But, why? The digitized world is constantly iterating to a more advanced scale. With this progress comes the risk of evolving cybersecurity exposures and threats. Information has become the most critical asset for the human race, and it calls for the best defense methodologies. Many of you might have leading-edge cybersecurity systems in effect. However, can you be entirely sure of their cogency when new hacking and virtual attacking maneuvers come to light almost daily? Thus, we need to analyze our data protection posture with regular assessments and tests. Among such analysis tools, PenTests have surfaced as quite successful. What does penetration testing bring to the table? Let us discover with this article!

What is Penetration Testing?

PenTest refers to the process of initiating a simulated cyber attack on an entity’s data security infrastructure to help identify deficiencies in it. Penetration testing involves a deliberate attempt to surpass the data security shield of an organization. The pentesters are generally skilled ethical hackers who possess the same tech stack and understanding to oust cybersecurity systems like actual virtual attackers. They help entities get a “reality check” about the state of their data protection program and measures.

Why should you opt for Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is on the path of becoming a ubiquitous way to monitor the robustness of a computerized security system. The key benefits of relying on PenTests are as follows:

– Enables the determination of the effectiveness of your security controls

Penetration testing helps business ventures attain a bird’s eye view of the endurance levels of the implemented security controls. It helps you realize what forms of information safeguarding strategies are helpful to secure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data.

– Allows the detection of shortcomings in the cybersecurity program with expert assistance

It is common that the cybersecurity policy you have in effect is impaired due to some faults and weaknesses. During the quick growth of your organization, the IT security policy might not be kept updated. As a result, your protocols become obsolete and can offer insufficient protection against cybersecurity threats. Penetration testing involves a meticulous examination of different security parameters that underline the areas of improvement in your cybersecurity safeguards. The engagement of experts helps get a better outlook on your cybersecurity preparedness. Moreover, the reports from external professionals enable your entity’s internal management to gain a fresh pair of eyes on the existent as well as discover unknown problems and take serious actions.

– Supports business continuity

An inept cybersecurity posture magnifies the possibility of threats and attacks on your critical data. It can lead to many instances of disruption of vital business functions. Penetration testing encourages timely corrective steps that help sustain business continuity without significant hindrances.

– Maintains the trustworthiness of your organization

Every business entity toils to retain its trustability and reputation in today’s intensely competitive market. The incidence of even the slightest information security breach can slash your credibility in front of your clients. Thus, when you conduct regular pentests with skilled support of certified professionals, you can better maintain your clientele’s trust.

– Penetration testing simplifies compliance management with different privacy regulations and certifications.

There exist many certifications and regulations that mandate periodic penetration testing. There exist many certifications and regulations that require liable organizations to undertake PenTests. These include:

Thus, you can better upkeep your cybersecurity posture while complying with necessary laws through penetration testing.

– PenTests help in highlighting actual risks to your critical data

Despite having an appropriate cybersecurity program and infrastructure in place, we are often unaware of various data infringement risks. PenTesters use different tactics like “real-world criminals” to identify the weak zones of your information protection policy.


What are the popular methods of Penetration Testing?

The most commonly adopted methods in carrying out penetration testing include:

Insider Threat method

Under this testing method, PenTesters create a simulated environment where a malign inside member of your entity may gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. It may also involve situations where outside parties can gain authentication details of a legitimate employee to misuse them for attacking purposes.

External Testing method

Penetration testing professionals use external testing to understand attacking vectors on the publicly available mediums representing your entity. Such invasions cover attacks on the company’s website, social media handles, DNS, or emails to tarnish the business image or acquire other important information.

Purple Teaming method

Also recognized as targeted penetration testing, it comprises the joint endeavor of a PenTester and your organization’s cybersecurity team to get real-time inputs regarding your cybersecurity structure. The method acts like a training session where there is continuous monitoring of each party’s movement, and the cybersecurity team gets insights into possible hackers’ mindsets.

Blind Testing method

In a blind testing, the PenTesters plan a simulated assault on your organization’s cybersecurity system. They hold minimal information, such as just your business name to plan the attack. Thus, you garner hands-on experience on practical ways in which actual attackers may strike your system.


What are the major types of Penetration Testing?

You can categorize Penetration Testing into various types. The prominent types of PenTests are:

Black Box Penetration testing

This variant of penetration testing encompasses tactics where the PenTesters have no details for the simulated attack and use the blind testing methodology. Thus, they have to initiate full system access to actual misappropriation of the data from scratch. It gives an in-depth review of how an intruder can implement a true attack. This type of PenTesting is often one of the most expensive test types as it is the most time and resource-intensive.

White Box Penetration testing

Under white box penetration testing, the testers have access to complete information such as credentials and system maps. This testing type is also called oblique or crystal penetration testing. They invade a particular system section using multiple tactics.

Gray Box Penetration testing

PenTesters work with limited details under the gray box or translucent testing approach. It is a combination of the black and white box penetration testing techniques. This testing type allows entities to know what can happen when a privileged user launches a cyber attack and the level of damage that can be caused. The testers possess a certain degree of knowledge related to the target system’s architecture. Gray box PenTests prove as an effective way to reveal the soft spots of your information safeguards.

Wireless Penetration testing

As the name suggests, with wireless penetration testing, the testers explicitly aim at your entity’s wireless networks and protocol. WLAN, Zigbee, and Bluetooth are among the main targets of the stimulated attack.

Web App Penetration testing

If you want to find out the deficiencies related to coding, development, design, or interface in your web application, this testing type can prove helpful. You should proactively identify the number of web apps to test and the critical details such as input fields or static and dynamic pages before going for the test. This pentest can contribute to creating a successful app amidst the rising number of web application attacks today.

Physical Penetration testing

Entities can use physical penetration testing to spot defects in their physical security controls. Testers use this type of PenTests to compromise the physical locks, sensors, motion detectors, or other equipment in your offices and data centers. It helps to ensure that the periphery where your crucial information gets stored is indeed secure.

Mobile Penetration testing

We have become largely reliant on mobile devices to perform many essential tasks. Mobile apps are a storehouse of varied sensitive data. Hence, penetration testers can identify the lacking areas in your mobile apps that can affect your productivity, app security, brand image, competitiveness, along with the ability to safeguard sensitive data. Mobile penetration testing is available for different operating systems and platforms like Angular, JavaScript, or Ruby to tackle data confidentiality and integrity issues.

IoT/Small Board Device Penetration testing

This type of penetration testing attempts to evaluate and exploit various cybersecurity components of an IoT device to sustain a better defense mechanism. Since IoT technology involves operating different devices connected via the internet, they can fall prey to many malicious users. Utilizing IoT penetration testing will permit entities to grasp the manner of possible attacks and the remediation measures needed.

Cloud Testing/Hybrid/Multi-Cloud

Cloud penetration testing and security evaluations examine the security of cloud-specific configurations, cloud system passwords, cloud applications and encryption, APIs, databases, storage access, and more.

Cloud Security Evaluation and Penetration Testing follows the same principles of an on-premise infrastructure penetration test, but with several key differences. In addition to testing machine or virtual machine security itself, the administrative security configurations must be reviewed. Everything from administrative privileges down to load balancing configurations are taken into account to develop a holistic view of your security coverage.

Embark on Penetration testing endeavors for your business with NaviSec’s industry-recognized expertise!

Now that you have a clear overview of how relevant penetration testing can be for your cybersecurity infrastructure, you just need to find the right professionals to collaborate with for your business. With NaviSec, you find top-drawer cybersecurity specialists addressing essential penetration testing requirements. Our reliant and resilient testers deliver true expertise at the most competent rates. We understand the pulse of the PenTest domain and can help you maintain a secure cyber environment in your entity. Reach out to us and cater to your cybersecurity concerns now!

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