Why does SMB goes for gray box testing and enterprises choose white box testing?

by | Feb 27, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Overall there are three strategies employed during a penetration test. The role of an attacker can take many different forms (e.g., external, internal), which can make understanding the role of a penetration tester and how they conduct their testing engagements more difficult.

Common examples of frequently asked questions include:

  • Do I need to provide access or username and password before testing?
  • Why do we need to whitelist your IP addresses in our firewall?
  • Would you be mimicking as a hacker or acting as an employee?
  • Isn’t it cheating if we tell you the business process or share IP addresses?

We provide all three vulnerability and penetration testing categories: black-box, grey-box, and white-box penetration testing.

These three types differ on the level of knowledge and access granted to the external or internal security consultant when the engagement begins.

What is Black-Box Penetration Testing is preferred by technology founders?

In a black-box engagement, the security expert does not have access to any internal information and does not have internal access to the client’s applications or network.

The consultant’s responsibility is to conduct all reconnaissance (discovery) to obtain the sensitive knowledge required to proceed, putting them in a position as close to the typical hacker as possible.

This is the most realistic type of testing. Still, it also takes the most time and has the most significant risk of overlooking a vulnerability within your network, cloud, mobile applications, or application.

A real-life attacker does not have a time constraint and, in many cases, does not even know about your business.

They are wild on the internet, looking for the top vulnerabilities and attempting to exploit them to achieve financial goals, or they are hired by your competition to let you down in your business goals.

Furthermore, numerous defensive tools are available within networks to prevent an existing vulnerability from being exploited, like next-generation WAF or DDoS protection as provided by tools like Cloudflare. Even new web browsers like Brave, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc., have settings that can protect against an attack. However, the vulnerability in an application may still exist.

All required to exploit the vulnerability is a change in setting or a connection from a different browser version.

Just because a configuration prevents a vulnerability from being discovered or exploited does not necessarily imply that the vulnerability does not exist or is being mitigated. It simply means that some external force is buffering the result.

This process can lead to a precarious outcome and a false sense of security, which someone with more time can later exploit to investigate this attack surface thoroughly.

Why Grey-Box penetration testing best for majority customers?

Gray-box testing is an engagement that allows for greater access and increases internal knowledge. In the case of gray-box testing, the security consultant has some access to internal endpoints and product knowledge, which can take the form of lower-level credentials, application logic flow charts, VPN, or network infrastructure maps.

Gray-box testing can simulate an attacker who has already breached the perimeter and gained internal network access.

Internal information from customers to the security experts conducting the assessment helps create an efficient and streamlined approach.

This process reduced the time (and money) spent on reconnaissance (discovery), allowing security experts to concentrate on identifying potential vulnerabilities in higher-risk systems rather than attempting to discover.

Why enterprise customers go with White-Box vulnerability and penetration testing?

The final type of testing is white-box testing, which gives the security consultant complete access to applications and systems. This process enables consultants to view source code and hold high-level network privilege accounts.

White-box testing is used to identify potential flaws in various areas, including logical vulnerabilities, potential security exposures, security misconfigurations, poorly written development code, and a lack of defensive measures.

This type of assessment is more comprehensive because both internal and external vulnerabilities are evaluated from a “behind the scenes” perspective that typical attackers do not have.

Combining the knowledge of experienced security consultants with proven tools to perform dynamic analyses (e.g., fuzzing) and static analyses (e.g., code review) provides complete coverage to detect vulnerability.

Which approach is right for your organization?

Finally, the goal of a penetration test is for the security consultant to improve the security of your network, system, or application. This can be achieved by the consultant and the client cooperating to identify the best approach that meets your organization’s needs while maximizing the value of the engagement.

The amount of time, efficiency, and exposure that the client is willing to give the consultant define all three testing methods. The most realistic testing method is black-box, but it may necessitate sacrificing time and efficiency on less important attack exposure areas, increasing the likelihood that high-risk internal vulnerabilities will be overlooked.

Gray-box penetration testing is the most effective because it allows consultants to concentrate their efforts on more valuable areas of the network, increasing attack coverage and efficiency.

White-box testing is the most thorough, but it necessitates that a large amount of data and knowledge be made available to the consultant for all internal and external vulnerabilities to be identified and mitigated.

Finally, all approaches are determined by how the attack simulation will benefit the organization the most. Defining the concerns that a client wishes to address is critical to developing a tailored roadmap is always the need.

Our cyber security firm is a team of highly skilled security consultants who customize each engagement by shifting our focus to meet your business goals.

There is no formula to apply in this process, by developing a solution that works best for your organization will necessitate an adaptive testing methodology.

Our consultants are skilled at adapting to our client’s environments and well-versed in various tools, techniques, and targets. Our priority at va2pt.com is to identify and mitigate our clients’ security vulnerabilities before an attacker can exploit them.