At a time when software applications are gaining enormous importance in the day to day life, software testing is also becoming important. Every software application should be tested thoroughly for its proper functioning, scalability, reliability, consistency and security. There are different types of testings to check all these attributes and there are different types of test automation tools too. Penetration testing or Pen testing is one such testing.
What is Penetration Testing
Penetration testing or Pen testing as it is more popularly called is a testing to find out vulnerabilities in a system, network or application which can be exploited by a hacker or a cracker. There is a common misconception that both penetration testing and vulnerability analysis are one and the same. This is not true. During vulnerability testing, vulnerabilities will be identified and reported whereas in penetration testing the testers exploit vulnerabilities to find whether they can be used by hackers to cause damage.
Why Penetration Testing
Hackers and spammers are getting smarter and they are all out to utilize even a minor opportunity to create issues and severe problems. At a time when software applications are performing many day to day tasks, even a small mishap can lead to heavy losses. Besides, the customers will lose faith in the applications, if hacked at least once. Hence, penetration testing is very important in today’s scenario.
Types of Penetration Testing
There are three major types of penetration testings and they are as follows.
Black Box Penetration Testing
In this type of penetration testing process, the tester will focus only on the outcome and will not go into the details of how the outcomes arrive. Codes will not be examined in this test. Here, the tester need not be an expert in programming languages and the contradictions will be verified in the actual system with actual specifications. Another advantage of this type of testing is that the same will be conducted from the perspective of a real user.
At the same time, Black box penetration testing has some disadvantages also. One of the major disadvantages is that it is difficult to design test cases.
White Box Penetration Testing
This is a comprehensive testing which includes code. Path, Flow, Loop testing etc will be conducted. Here, every aspect of the application will be tested and hence it is more perfect than black box testing. However, the tester needs to have in-depth knowledge of the application under testing and should also have knowledge of programming language used in the application.
Grey Box Penetration Testing
This type of testing is in between Black Box testing and White Box testing. Partial information about the application will be provided to the tester.
Tools of Penetration Testing
There are many tools for performing penetration testing and some of them are listed below.
- Core impact
- Black Track
- Burp Suite
- Cain & Abel
- Zed Attack Proxy.