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Black Box vs. White Box Testing

By Hacken

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Black Box Meaning: Penetration Testing from an end-user perspective

Black box means mystery. In software development, black box refers to a testing method where the tester does not know the internals of the tested software. Testing happens without understanding the internal code structure and systems architecture, just like the external party would use it.

Black box testing is about inputs and outputs because these are the only two things under the tester’s control. The tester chooses different variables to check how the software application would respond. The goal of black box testing is to predict how the tested software behaves. By the way, black box testing is also referred to as behavioral testing.

Process of black box testing:

  1. Examine the specifications and requirements of the software app
  2. Give valid and invalid inputs to check whether the system can process them correctly or detect errors
  3. Identify expected outputs for the inputs
  4. Compare actual vs. expected outputs

Hacken offers external penetration testing services that follow the black box methodology. In black box penetration testing, security specialists use only the information available to everyone.

White Box Meaning: Pentesting from a developer perspective

While black box means mystery, white box implies transparency. In software development, white box testing refers to a testing method where the tester has access to the code. The goal of white box testing is to assess the design, security, usability, and performance of the internal code structure. Because of its features, white box testing is also known as clear box and open box testing.

Process of white box testing:

  1. Review the source code
  2. Execute test cases to assess the flow and structure of code
  3. Perform code coverage analysis

It is necessary to mention white box penetration testing. The tester has complete information about the code and network to attack the code from all angles. Hacken offers internal network penetration services that follow the white-box test methodology. White box penetration testing gives the best understanding of a system’s security vulnerabilities.

White Box vs. Black Box Penetration Testing

Black BoxWhite Box
PerspectiveEnd-user perspectiveDeveloper’s perspective 
FocusBehavior of the appPerformance of the code
PurposeValidation of functional requirementsValidation of internal structure
How does it work?Give different inputs and compare actual with expected outcomesEvaluate usability of every block of code using test cases and coverage
ProsQuicker, less expensive, communication among modules, no need to share code with othersMore detailed, can be automated, identifies hidden errors
ConsLess clear, more abstract, less attention to non-functional requirementsComplex, requires special knowledge, expensive
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