Cyber security

The Benefits of Red Teaming

With cyberspace evolving exponentially with each passing year, cyber threats are evolving too, at unprecedented rates. Now more than ever, testing your organization’s capability to detect, prevent and respond to threats, is of utmost importance to your company.

Being prepared is one of the most vital aspects of cybersecurity, as it can be the difference between losing everything and having quick responses to any threat. To be able to effectively defend your systems against threats, a proactive approach is needed.

Security controls and processes are regularly assessed with such an approach, to make sure that they can fit the job description and be effective for the task at hand. Red teaming provides companies with such an approach, and is growing immensely in popularity for its ability to detect and prevent imminent attacks!

What is red teaming?

Red teaming is a proactive, intelligence-based security assessment procedure, which is designed to thoroughly test an organization’s cybersecurity protocols and look for any vulnerabilities in the system that can easily be attacked.

Red teaming is a form of ethical hacking, where hackers mirror the conditions of real-life cyber attacks to test the organization’s security protocol. By using the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPS) that are opted by criminals or external hackers, engagements are highly realistic and can fully challenge the system and test for its preparedness.

Red teaming is much better than traditional penetration tests, as it offers real-time simulations of an attack. Red teaming is also performed with almost no knowledge provided to the employees of a company so that their engagement is more realistic.

It happens with no prior notice and tests the delays or quickness in response of not only the systems but also the employees.

The red team, which is mostly an external third party outside of the organization, is responsible for simulating an assault on the target organization’s attack surface. The blue team, who may or may not be outsourced, then steps in and is responsible for defending the company’s assets against the simulated attack.

Red teaming methodology

Red teaming follows an intelligence-driven, black-box method to continuously and stringent test an organization’s detection and response-ability and protocol. This approach can include:

Reconnaissance

High-quality intelligence is what drives red teaming engagements and creates successful simulations. Ethical hackers may use many different open-source tools, resources, and techniques to collect any information on vulnerabilities that could be leveraged by attackers.

Staging & Weaponization

Once potential risks and security vulnerabilities are detected, a plan of attack needs to be formed. Then the next step is to set the staging, which involves collecting, configuring, and then obfuscating the security resources. This could require setting up servers to perform C2 functions and the development of malicious code or malware.

Attack Delivery

This stage of red teaming entails breaking into the target network and gaining a foothold. Ethical hackers could try to exploit security vulnerabilities, use brute force to break weak employee passwords, and build fake email communications to unleash phishing attacks and dump malicious code such as malware in the course of achieving their goal.

Internal Compromise

Once a clear foothold is established on the target network, the next step involves achieving the objectives of the red teaming activity. Activities in this stage might involve privilege escalation, physical compromise control and command (C2) activity, and data exfiltration.

Reporting and Analysis

A detailed client report is prepared after the red teaming engagement is carried out, to help technical and non-technical staff understand the effectiveness of the exercise. The red team provides a useful analysis of vulnerabilities found, attack vectors employed, and guidance on how to rectify and minimize any risks detected.

 

The benefits of red teaming

By commissioning a specialized, skilled team to perform red teaming, companies will be able to:

  • Assess their preparedness and ability to defend against genuine cyber-attacks
  • Test the effectiveness of security protocols, techniques, software, people, and processes
  • Identify and categorize a wide range of potential security risks
  • Enhance the effectiveness of identification and response functions.
  • Uncover any vulnerability or sore spot which could easily be missed by other forms of testing
  • Understand risks and mitigate vulnerabilities.
  • Obtain guidance on security investments in the future.

The benefits of using red teaming are invaluable and priceless to a company, as any company is only as good as the fortress that protects it and its assets.

 

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