Beyond Security Blog

Black Box Fuzzing: Pushing the Boundaries of Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

Black box fuzzing is the ethical black hat version of Dynamic Application Security Testing.

Dynamic Application Security Testing: The Gateway to Fuzzing

Dynamic application security testing (DAST) is considered a “white hat” security tool designed to help root out vulnerabilities in web applications and improve security.  It works with guided attack perimeters, testing to find possible known vulnerabilities in a controlled scanning environment.  However, cybercriminals don’t operate within a controlled, ethical realm.  Their tactics and methodology often involve injecting as much chaos as possible into web applications. 

A Black Box Fuzzer Is Your Ally

This is where a black box fuzzing tool comes in handy.  A black box fuzzer is a part of DAST that doesn’t play by “white hat” rules and isn’t constrained to follow insider guidance.  This style of fuzzer uses the same attack style as an actual cybercriminal to uncover web application weaknesses.  Without any need to access source code, fuzzing tools check web application input points, to detect application resilience to unexpected data revealing vulnerabilities such as crashes, infinite loops, or memory leakages adversely impacting an application otherwise hidden from traditional Dynamic Application Security Testing methods.  The best part of incorporating a DAST fuzzing tool in your secure SDLC is that it can emulate a criminal actor’s attack before it happens, letting your team monitor the results, ahead of deployment and exposure to real-life malicious actors.

How Black Box Fuzzing Attacks

Using automation, black fox fuzzers can inject invalid, malformed, unexpected input variations into web application entry points.  This attack reveals input validation defects and vulnerabilities. While DAST validates against known OWASP noted weaknesses, black box fuzzing finds the unknown.  digging into the nitty-gritty details of inputs and protocols used in the application.

These black hat style attacks with unexpected input combinations can be monitored within the black box fuzzer to find coding exceptions, such as memory leaks or system crashes.  Any negative reactions can indicate security, performance, or code quality weaknesses.  Black box fuzzing is a great way to secure application builds and ensure  quality testing of applications for issues to be remediated prior to launching publicly.

Why Use Black Box Fuzzing?

Black box fuzzing empowers teams with the ability to scan during the developmental cycle, making vulnerability correction quicker, easier, and saving on post-deployment remediation costs. Testing during the developmental lifecycle helps prevent zero-day exploits from unknown bugs and system weaknesses.   

Black box fuzzing provides some of the best insight into the quality of an organization’s security for target systems and software.  It can gauge the strength of your company’s web application and find vulnerabilities in it before deployment.  Finding unknown weaknesses before they’re exploited by cybercriminals saves company credibility, sensitive data, and the expensive cost of a compromise.

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