Gray Box Testing

Application security through gray box testing

In application security testing, gray box testing (or gray box testing) is a combination of white box testing and black box testing, and can be an invaluable tool for ensuring security in software.

Black box analysis looks for vulnerabilities in applications just as an attacker would – with zero knowledge of the internal structure of the application being tested. In a black box test, also known as a DAST assessment, testers try to penetrate an application by entering inputs that may produce unexpected outputs. In contrast, a white box security test scans the source code and internal structure of the application to look for vulnerabilities or flaws that could be exploited by a malicious individual.

Gray box testing takes a page from both white box and black box approaches. In gray box testing, testers may have a partial understanding of the internal structure of the application, enabling them to design more targeted test scenarios.

The pros and cons of gray box testing

Advantages of gray box testing:

  • Testing is still performed from the point of view of a user or attacker rather than a developer, which may help to uncover flaws that developers have missed.
  • Gray box testing allows testers to prioritize tests based on an understanding of the target system, potentially uncovering more significant vulnerabilities with less effort and cost.

Disadvantages of gray box testing:

  • Testers have no access to source code and may miss certain critical vulnerabilities.
  • Gray box testing may be redundant if the application developer has already run a similar test case.
  • Gray box testing is not ideal for algorithm testing.
  • Testing every potential input is too time-consuming and unrealistic, meaning certain program paths will not be tested.

Add gray box testing to a comprehensive suite of testing tools.

Clearly, the most effective approach to application security would be to combine the benefits of white box, black box and gray box testing. That’s what Veracode delivers.

Veracode’s unified platform offers on-demand and automated application testing services that can be seamlessly integrated into every stage of the software development lifecycle. Veracode makes application testing more cost efficient by allowing development teams to find flaws at the point in the development cycle when it is easiest to fix them.

Veracode’s testing services include both tools for both Static Analysis and Dynamic Analysis, as well as solutions to scan open source code and third-party software. By scanning binaries rather than source code, Veracode provides a more comprehensive approach to application security.

Learn more about gray box testing with Veracode and about Veracode solutions for Ruby penetration testing.