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An Ultimate Guide to Types of Penetration Testing

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon July 18, 2022

In Brief

Why Penetration Testing is Necessary?

Penetration testing at least once a year is necessary for all organizations. It helps to identify the security gaps and vulnerabilities within your IT systems and infrastructure. Pen testing is useful in testing the security posture of your business and resilience to cyber-attacks. It covers almost ‘everything’ under the scanner. The ‘everything’ here includes Servers, Network endpoints, Wireless networks, Network security devices, Mobile and wireless devices, and Web applications.


of total vulnerabilities are critical


of targets have at least one critical vulnerability


of the vulnerabilities are important ones


of tests diagnosed one or more important vulnerabilities

Different Types of Penetration Testing

Whether it’s web application pentesting or any other, first you need to get a service provider. However, before that, you need to specify the key area of the penetration test as a client. According to that key area, the type of penetration test will be selected.

The following are different types of penetration testing:

1. Infrastructure Penetration Testing (Internal/External)

Infrastructure penetration testing involves the assessment of the physical aspects of IT systems and networks. It includes the testing of resources on-premises and on clouds as well. Here we test network infrastructure, firewalls, system hosts, switches, routers, and other devices. Furthermore, we can conduct an internal penetration test to focus on the assets inside the corporate network. Also, the option of external pen testing is available to test the internet-facing resources.

2. Wireless Penetration Testing

It is a format of penetration testing to target the network protocols such as Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-Wave, and WLAN (wireless local area network). Wireless pen testing highlights rogue access points, WPA vulnerabilities, and encryption weaknesses. Before this kind of test, the testers need full information about the number of wireless and guest networks. This will help them to scope the engagement. Also, they need to access the locations and unique SSIDs.

3. Web Application Pentesting

Every business is now on the web. They have their own websites and web applications. Web application pentesting uncovers vulnerabilities among these websites and custom applications online. It detects the coding, design, and development flaws preventing their exploitation for malicious activities. Before initiating the test, you need to ascertain the number of apps that need testing. Also, it is important to sort the static pages, dynamic pages, and input fields.

4. Mobile Application Penetration Testing

Penetration testing of mobile applications is done to find authentication, authorization, data leakage, and session handling issues. The application platform might be Android or iOS. Before scoping the test, testers need to have the system type and the version of the application under test.

5. Build and Configuration Review

Penetration testing to identify the network builds and configurations are also crucial. Misconfigurations across web and app servers, routers, and firewalls can result in the success of threat actors. Pen testing on this aspect of infrastructure scans vulnerability and loopholes in the configurations.

Pen Testing Methods

According to the amount of information shared with the testers, the testing methodology differs. The key testing styles are:

White Box Testing

Also known as the crystal or oblique box pen testing. In this testing methodology, there is complete sharing of network and system information with the tester. Also, they have the network maps and credentials to enable them for thorough testing. As these testers know a lot about the environment, this process takes very little time.



Black Box Testing

In Black Box Testing, testers initiate the test and go through it without any information on the network and systems. This testing approach somehow demands the testers to approach the test as unprivileged hackers. They operate from initial access and execution through to exploitation all on the basis of tools, techniques, and skills they possess. A good example will be web application pentesting without knowing anything about the website. This makes the process more time taking and thus slightly heavy on the pocket.

Grey Box Testing

The Grey Box penetration testing stands midway between the above two testing styles in terms of information sharing with the testers. People also term it translucent box test and limited information is shared with the testers here. This testing is the way to find how much damage a privileged attacker can do. Grey Box Testing can help simulate both inside or outside attacks or breaches.

Before You Go!

  • Through this blog we learned that there are several pen-testing types and styles. Also, understanding the significance of each testing type.
  • Although the type of testing is selected by the pen testing services. But you can select the testing style according to your requirements.
  • Furthermore, you need to seek expert guidance to scope the test. And an experienced and skilled testing team to conduct the test.


  • Black box pen testing
  • Ethical Hacking
  • grey box pen testing
  • Web application penetration testing
  • web application pentesting
  • Web application security
  • White box pen testing

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