Black vs. White Box: What Are the Different Types of Penetration Testing?

May 25, 2023 Business

You may have heard of penetration testing. Many companies utilize it, especially those with a website and a significant online presence. It has rapidly become more commonplace in recent years.

Some companies claim they can identify your 9 most vulnerable cybersecurity entry points if you hire them to do penetration testing for you. What exactly is it, though, and why do the experts describe two categories, white and black box penetration testing?

We will answer all of those questions right now.

What is Penetration Testing?

First, let’s run through the penetration testing concept basics. Penetration testing involves cybersecurity companies trying to hack into your website or compromise the software platform that your company uses.

 You may also hear this notion spoken of as ethical hacking. You’re hiring a company that can probe your website or network for weaknesses. Once they identify any weak points, they can tell you how to fix them.

You might hire a company that can do this for you every six or twelve months. You may use the same entity year after year if you trust them and they do a good job for you.

What is Black Box Penetration Testing?

Once you understand what penetration testing is, you might ask the company you hire to do black or white box penetration. Generally, these are the categories that will be open to you as a company owner or operator.

Black box penetration testing is a blanket term for any kind of testing where a company looks for vulnerabilities that it can exploit from outside your network. An ethical hacking company that uses this method will use dynamic analysis of systems or programs that are currently up and running.

What About White Box Testing?

As for white box penetration testing, this term means a kind of testing where the company’s internal structure is being tested. Rather than an ethical hacker or team of hackers trying to probe a website or software suite’s vulnerabilities from the outside, they start on the inside and look for existing vulnerabilities there.

Which is Better?

This leads to the question of which way of testing your company’s website, software suite, and any other existing system you use is better or more helpful to you. The reality is that both white and black-box testing can be useful. Each one can reveal key vulnerabilities that you will want to deal with as rapidly as you can.

If you need to make doubly sure you have a secure website and network, you will likely hire an ethical hacking company that can do both forms of testing. They will probably do so one at a time.

When they finish, they can give you a detailed, analytic-driven breakdown of what they found. Then, you can implement their suggestions to prevent any real hackers out there from penetrating and possibly compromising your network in the same way.

You should regard this as necessary as a business owner. Only by shoring up your network can you prevent hacker attacks.