White Box Penetration Testing Definition

White box testing allows penetration testers to test an internal system for weaknesses and break in. This is why it is so important.

Cyber security is often taken as a given. Organisations assume that their applications’ security is adequate as it is, at least until something goes wrong.

Service outages and data breaches are a result of security holes they didn’t address. Forward-thinking companies must identify security weaknesses and close security gaps early.

Security tests such as white box penetration testing are crucial for detecting threats to web-based applications and preventing them from being sent to production.

Software security is a difficult task for testers who are experts in this field.

Each business requires a QA team that can perform a detailed analysis using specific technology and techniques.

Ecomservicessummit provides penetration testing services for software testing. This article will cover the correct methods and methodologies to protect organizational data from potential malicious attacks and threats. Before we begin, you might want to review the overview of penetration testing.

What is White Box Testing?

White box pen testing is a type of penetration testing in which the testers are able to identify the system’s internal structure. The white box pen test is different from the grey or black boxes. It aims to expose or reveal the details of the system. It may also be called transparent box testing or clear box testing.

White box penetration testing provides clear and comprehensive information. This allows the software engineer to access the system and gives them all the information they need.

This information is given to an ethical hacker (a penetration tester) to imitate the hacker’s actions, which can pose a real threat to the system’s safety. The test mimics the hacker’s actions, but includes more information about the system.

Why white box testing?

White goals are to find vulnerabilities within the system that hackers could access. The tester (ethical hacker) has all the information needed to view the system. There are no hidden or unlocked areas. This is why the system is called a white box or clearbox.

Penetration testing speeds up code coverage and makes it easier to spot internal errors.

The white box test usually focuses on the most critical or essential parts of a system. These parts are responsible for cataloging and pooling data. These critical components cannot be relied on a weak or inexact test. They need to be tested thoroughly. These parts are often tested using white box pen testing.

QA teams ensure that core operations are not compromised by security breaches either internally or externally during the testing period.

Example of White Box Penetration Testing

Your test should be more thorough the more critical your software or system is. When deploying bank apps’ security, for example. It is important to identify the licit and illegal parts of an app that store and process customer data.

White-box testing can also be used to confirm security of a military database or rocket ship. Each code must be tested by the tester. It is important to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities in the database, internal or external.

What is the purpose of White Box Penetration Testing?

It is important to know when you should conduct a white box pen testing. This is usually done in the very early stages of software development, before the system or software launches. These are some examples of white-box penetration tests that may be required.

Software development: Sometimes the developers will do it for your before you submit the final product to the owner. This stage of testing is more beneficial because you can make any changes you wish.

After software development, before release: Sometimes developers may want to test the code after it is completed, but most often before the public launch.

Software is still in use after software releases: It is mainly about detecting and fixing any system problems that could compromise users’ security.

However, not all situations or networks are suitable for white box penetration testing. Only certain conditions are suitable for white box penetration testing, and it is up to the penetration testers to decide which.

This is because of the nature and purpose of the test. This test must examine each and every part of the system, while also relying on both internal and external information.

What’s the difference between Gray Box Testing and White Box Testing?

Whitebox testsBlackbox tests
RequirementIt is essential to be familiar with the software. The tester must be familiar with the internal system.It is not necessary to be familiar with the software. Therefore, testers are not aware of the internal system.
AccessAccess is grantedAccess is not granted.
AssessmentFunctionality has been tested.The structure has been tested.
ModulesModules below are checked.The upper modules are also checked.
ApplicationRecommend for testing algorithms.It is not recommended to test algorithms.
PerformerDevelopers are fully engaged.Developers are rarely involved.
IntentTo determine the vulnerability of both internal and external components of the system.To evaluate the vulnerability of only the internal components.

White Box Penetration Testing Methodology (Techniques).

There are three main types of white box penetration testing techniques. These are:

  • Path
  • Statement
  • Breach

Path coverage

This white box testing methodology pays attention to all paths. This method determines whether any path has been crossed. It is more important to cover pathways than branches. When checking complex builds, the code coverage technique proves most useful.

Statement coverage

The statement methodology verifies that each functionality has been tested once. A statement is a description of a functionality or set actions that the application should decode depending on its programming languages. Executable statements are when the statement is combined and converted into object code. This will then execute the action it was intended for.

Branch coverage

Testers can prove that all branch codes have been tested using the branch methodology. It should be possible to prove that all codes were launched once.

White Box Penetration Testing Instruments

These tools can be used to perform a white-box test

  • Metasploit
  • EclEmma
  • John the Ripper
  • Efix
  • NUnit
  • JUnit

White Box Penetration Testing Steps

Testing is only possible by following specific steps. Let’s look at each.


Choose the areas you wish to test. It is better to focus on the core components of the system, as we have discussed.

The test should be as narrow as possible. Because the test can run every scenario possible code by code, this is why it’s so useful. It would be simpler to fix all the possible problems in a small area. The same coverage would not be guaranteed for a larger area.

It is possible to cover large areas, but it is not impossible. The test coverage requires a lot more effort, resources, labor, and time.

It is not recommended to do it only when absolutely necessary. In cases like this, it is imperative to protect every inch of the system. This would be only considered necessary in these cases.


  1. Identify all possible code lines.
  2. Identify all codes that are relevant to the functionality or aspect you wish to test.
  3. In the flow chart, write the outputs of each code.

This step allows you to keep the process simple and organized while also identifying possible codes, permutations, etc.

Test cases

Each step should have its own test case. This is the real work — each test case should address where there might be problems, what vulnerabilities can be tested, and so forth.

Test it

  1. Get your plans in motion.
  2. Get started with all the things you have planned.
  3. Continue testing until you are confident that you have covered all of the information.

White Box Penetration Testing: Advantages and Drawbacks

Every testing system has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s look at each side.


A white-box penetration test has many benefits. These include:

  • It saves time: The hacker receives more information from the beginning than a black box test.
  • Thoroughness: Tester’s information allows him to do a more thorough test than if he did not have as much information. He conducts a deeper analysis than any other penetration test.
  • You have a better chance of detecting bugs.
  • Clarity: Because of the test’s clear box nature, the internal system can be tested.
  • Modifiable: It’s much easier to make changes in a web app development system. Even if the app is still in development, it can be secured.


These are some of the problems that QA teams face when conducting white-box penetration tests.

  • There is a high chance that the tester will go in a different direction from the hacker because of the amount of information available to them.
  • This can lead to a slow process due to the large amount of data that is available for testers.
  • It is difficult, if not impossible, to do a detailed analysis of a large system because it is so comprehensive.


Your system and software are too important to be left vulnerable. White box penetration testing can be a great way of ensuring software security. Although it does have some limitations, it isn’t too serious.

Not only is a white-box penetration test not sufficient to close all loopholes in the system, but it’s worth noting. It is best to combine it with other security tests. For complete information on penetration tests, you can read the next post about black box penetration testing.

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