The problem of insecure software is most likely the most important technical challenge in today’s modern world. Security is the most critical limiting factor on what we can create with information technology. You can’t build a secure application without performing security testing on it, yet many software development organisations do not include security testing as part of their standard software development process. On the other hand, application security testing isn’t always a particularly useful measure because there are infinite ways that attackers may break applications. Because of this, it just isn’t possible to test them all. Penetration Testing, however, has the unique ability to convince naysayers that there is a problem and has proven itself as a critical ingredient in any Organisation that needs to verify the software it produces or uses.
A penetration test is a method of measuring your information systems’ security by simulating real-world hackers’ actions. Sure, there are automated elements to penetration testing (after all, hackers are intelligent; they leverage automated scripts and tools to gather quickly and efficiently data), but the test is orchestrated and driven by an actual human trying to break into your network and its applications. This is important because information discovered during the various testing phases must be intelligently fed back into the testing methodology – something computers aren’t very good at doing.
The NEWORDER Pen-Test 2.0 framework is unique to the NEWORDER brand as it was in-house developed by decades of research, case studies and hands-on expertise. We help identify these threats by directly probing and performing various pen-tests, vulnerability assessments and exploitation, much like an actual attacker would do.
In a black-box testing assignment, the pen-tester is placed in the role of the average hacker with no internal knowledge of the target system. Testers are not provided with any architecture diagrams or source code that is not publicly available. A black-box pen-test determines the vulnerabilities in a system that are exploitable from outside the network.This means that black-box pen-testing relies on dynamic analysis of currently running programs and systems within the target network. Therefore, a black-box pen-tester must be familiar with automated scanning tools and methodologies for manual pen-testing. Black-box pen-testers also need to be capable of creating their map of a target network based on their observations since no such diagram is provided to them. The limited knowledge provided to the pen-tester makes black-box pen-tests the quickest to run since the duration of the assignment largely depends on the tester’s ability to locate and exploit vulnerabilities in the target’s outward-facing services. The major downside of this approach is that if the testers cannot breach the perimeter, any vulnerabilities of internal services remain undiscovered and unpatched.
The next step up from black-box testing is grey-box testing. Suppose a black-box tester is examining a system from an outsider’s perspective. In that case, a grey-box tester has the access and knowledge levels of a user, potentially with elevated privileges on a system. Grey-box pen-testers typically have some knowledge of a network’s internals, potentially including design and architecture documentation and an account internal to the network. The purpose of grey-box pen-testing is to provide a more focused and efficient assessment of a network’s security than a black-box assessment. Using the design documentation for a network, pen-testers can focus their assessment efforts on the systems with the most significant risk and value from the start, rather than spending time determining this information on their own. An internal account on the system also allows testing security inside the hardened perimeter and simulates an attacker with longer-term access to the network.
White-box testing goes by several different names, including clear-box, open-box, auxiliary and logic-driven testing. It falls on the opposite end of the spectrum from black-box testing, and pen-testers are given full access to the source code, architecture documentation, and so forth. The main challenge with white-box testing is sifting through the massive amount of data available to identify potential points of weakness, making it the most time-consuming type of pen-testing. Unlike black-box and grey-box testing, white-box pen-testers can perform static code analysis, making familiarity with source code analysers, debuggers, and similar tools necessary for this type of testing. However, dynamic analysis tools and techniques are also crucial for white-box testers since the static analysis can miss vulnerabilities introduced by the misconfiguration of target systems. White-box pen-testing provides a comprehensive internal and external vulnerabilities assessment, making it the best choice for calculation testing. In addition, the close relationship between white-box pen-testers and developers provides a high level of system knowledge. Still, it may affect tester’s behaviours since they operate based on knowledge not available to hackers.
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