Security Testing


Define the modes of ethical hacking

Security testing is the primary job of ethical hackers. These tests might be configured in such way that the ethical hackers have no knowledge, full knowledge, or partial knowledge of the target of evaluation (TOE).


The term target of evaluation (TOE) is widely used to identify an IT product or system that is the subject of an evaluation. The EC-Council and some security guidelines and standards use the term to describe systems that are being tested to measure their confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

The goal of the security test (regardless of type) is for the ethical hacker to test the security system and evaluate and measure its potential vulnerabilities.

No Knowledge Tests (Blackbox)

No knowledge testing is also known as blackbox testing. Simply stated, the security team has no knowledge of the target network or its systems. Blackbox testing simulates an outsider attack as outsiders usually don't know anything about the network or systems they are probing. The attacker must gather all types of information about the target to begin to profile its strengths and weaknesses. The advantages of blackbox testing include

  • The test is unbiased as the designer and the tester are independent of each other.
  • The tester has no prior knowledge of the network or target being examined. Therefore there are no preset thoughts or ideas about the function of the network.
  • A wide range of resonances work and are typically done to footprint the organization, which can help identify information leakage.
  • The test examines the target in much the same way as an external attacker.

The disadvantages of blackbox testing include

  • It can take more time to perform the security tests.
  • It is usually more expensive as it takes more time to perform.
  • It focuses only on what external attackers see, while in reality, most attacks are launched by insiders.

Full Knowledge Testing (Whitebox)

Whitebox testing takes the opposite approach of blackbox testing. This form of security test takes the premise that the security tester has full knowledge of the network, systems, and infrastructure. This information allows the security tester to follow a more structured approach and not only review the information that has been provided but also verify its accuracy. So, although blackbox testing will typically spend more time gathering information, whitebox testing will spend that time probing for vulnerabilities.

Partial Knowledge Testing (Graybox)

In the world of software testing, graybox testing is described as a partial knowledge test EC-Council literature describes graybox testing as a form of internal test. Therefore, the goal is to determine what insiders can access. This form of test might also prove useful to the organization as so many attacks are launched by insiders.

Types of Security Tests


State security testing methodologies

Several different types of security tests can be performed. These can range from those that merely examine policy to those that attempt to hack in from the Internet and mimic the activities of true hackers. These security tests are also known by many names, including

  • Vulnerability Testing
  • Network Evaluations
  • Red Team Exercises
  • Penetration Testing
  • Host Vulnerability Assessment
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Ethical Hacking

No matter what the security test is called, it is carried out to make a systematic examination of an organization's network, policies, and security controls. Its purpose is to determine the adequacy of security measures, identify security deficiencies, provide data from which to predict the effectiveness of potential security measures, and confirm the adequacy of such measures after implementation. Security tests can be defined as one of three types, which include high-level assessments, network evaluations, and penetration tests. Each is described as follows:


Although the CEH exam focuses on one type of security test, you should be aware of the different types so that you are fully aware to meet any challenge presented you.

  • High-level assessments Also calleda level I assessment, it is a top-down look at the organization's policies, procedures, and guidelines. This type of vulnerability assessment does not include any hands-on testing. The purpose of a top-down assessment is to answer three questions:

    • Do the applicable policies exist?
    • Are they being followed?
    • Is there content sufficient to guard against potential risk?
  • Network evaluations Also called a level II assessment, it has all the elements specified in a level I assessment plus includes hands-on activities. These hands-on activities would include information gathering, scanning, vulnerability assessment scanning, and other hands-on activities. Throughout this book, tools and techniques used to perform this type of assessment are discussed.
  • Penetration tests Unlike assessments and evaluations, penetration tests are adversarial in nature. Penetration tests are also referred to as level III assessments. These events typically take on an adversarial role and look to see what the outsider can access and control. Penetration tests are less concerned with policies and procedures and are more focused on finding low hanging fruit and seeing what a hacker can accomplish on this network. This book offers many examples of the tools and techniques used in penetration tests.


Just remember that penetration tests are not fully effective if an organization does not have the policies and procedures in place to control security. Without adequate policies and procedures, it's almost impossible to implement real security. Documented controls are required.

How do ethical hackers play a role in these tests? That's the topic of the next section.

Hacker and Cracker Descriptions

Part I: Exam Preparation

The Business Aspects of Penetration Testing

The Technical Foundations of Hacking

Footprinting and Scanning

Enumeration and System Hacking

Linux and Automated Security Assessment Tools

Trojans and Backdoors

Sniffers, Session Hijacking, and Denial of Service

Web Server Hacking, Web Applications, and Database Attacks

Wireless Technologies, Security, and Attacks

IDS, Firewalls, and Honeypots

Buffer Overflows, Viruses, and Worms

Cryptographic Attacks and Defenses

Physical Security and Social Engineering

Part II: Final Review

Part III: Appendixes

Appendix A. Using the ExamGear Special Edition Software

Certified Ethical Hacker Exam Prep
Certified Ethical Hacker Exam Prep
ISBN: 0789735318
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 247
Authors: Michael Gregg © 2008-2020.
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