The Types of Penetration Test You Need to Know

A penetration test or pen test is a simulated attack on a hardware or software system to expose its vulnerabilities. With these staged attacks, pen testers also assess how the user data can be compromised in case a real-life hack took place. There are three types of penetration testing normally carried out to do security assessments for networks & applications, and they are Black box penetration testing, Grey box penetration testing, and White box penetration testing. The usage of these penetration testing methods usually depends on the scope of organizational requirements.

However, one thing is given that after a successful pen test, you can have a great understanding of the areas in your security system, which would need bolstering.

So let’s learn more about these different types of penetration testing methods one by one:

1. Black Box Penetration Testing

Black Box Pen Test is one of the major types web application penetration testing executed nowadays. During the Black Box Penetration Testing, the person carrying out the pen test is provided scant information about the IT infrastructure of your business.

One of the prominent advantages of Black Box Penetration Testing is to simulate an environment that resembles a real-time malware attack. During the process, the person carrying out the pen test assumes the role of an uninformed attacker.

In case you don’t know, a black box penetration test can take a considerable amount of time to complete. Hence, in the realm of penetration testing, this is one of the longest pen tests. The attacker or pen tester usually launches a series of exploits to try and break into your systems.
Black Box Penetration Testing is also known as the trial and error approach.


  • Tester doesn’t have to be an expert
  • The tester verifies contradiction in the actual system and specs
  • This type of testing is usually executed from the user’s perspective

2. Grey Box Penetration Testing

This is one of those types of penetration testing where the tester has partial knowledge or access to the web application or internal network. During the course of grey box penetration testing, the environment is simulated in such a manner that the attack is perceived to be from an external hacker.

In Grey Box Penetration Testing, the tester is given illegitimate access to the company’s network infrastructure and documents. In this type of pen test, the tester can assess the network diagrams to recognize areas of greatest risks.

  • As this type of pen test doesn’t involve the access to source code, it is unbiased
  • No requirement of providing internal information about the functions and operations of programs
  • There exists a clear variance between a developer and a tester

3. White Box Penetration Testing

White Box Pen Tests are also one of the popular types of penetration testing deployed by modern-day organizations. The White Box Pen Test is also known as clear box testing or internal pen-testing.

In this type of pen test, the tester has complete access to the environment and source code of your applications. Being extensive in nature, this type of pen test is favored by most companies. The in-depth security audit carried out by White Box Penetration Testing ensures that no security vulnerabilities are left out.

Note that the White Box Penetration Testing is more useful as the tester can access the areas which a black box tester cannot. From analyzing the code quality to the application design, white box pen tests are a reliable option for companies. his type of pen test often requires expensive tools like code analyzers and debuggers. As long as the primary goal of the testing is met, a white box pen test is a viable option for you.

  • Ensures that all independent module paths have been analyzed thoroughly
  • This type of pen test can recognize typographical errors
  • It is also adept in discovering the design errors of a specific app

Various Areas of Penetration Testing

Here are some of the several areas of penetration testing you should be aware of.

1. Network

It is one of those types of penetration testing, which is the common requirement for testers. With this pen test, the tester aims to identify the loopholes present in the network infrastructure. IPS deception, firewall-config testing, firewall bypass testing, etc. are some of the network areas commonly tested.

2. Social Engineering

The primary objective of the social engineering test is to verify the human network of a specific company. This pen test is carried out in a simulated environment where the employees can try to take advantage of the security breach.

3. Physical

In Physical Pen Testing, the attacker simulates an environment whereby the attacker attempts to overcome physical barriers to access a business’s infrastructure and employees.

4. Application

As the name suggests, application pen tests are executed to recognize and neutralize potential threats within the app infrastructure of your organization.

In a bid to protect your business, pen tests have to be carried out periodically. Some experts can be of immense help during these situations. Astra Security is one of the most well-known organizations that have conducted a plethora of pen tests in the past. Opt for an in-depth penetration testing of your business today from Astra. Here is the link to website penetration testing pricing by them

Image source: Astra Security

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