Do your staff know how to respond in a crisis? Red teaming – a real intrusion simulation – is the best way to assess the robustness of your cyber defences when you’re under attack.
Carried out by a team of ethical hackers, a red team is designed to test your organisation’s cyber defences in the most realistic way possible. A typical exercise involves simulating attacks against critical functions and systems (people, processes and technologies) without informing your security team.
The red team can work alongside the blue team to combine offensive and defensive approaches, creating purple teaming.
Red teaming is the best way to:
Get a thorough and accurate understanding of your cyber maturity and defence capabilities under real-world conditions
- Ensure your cyber security and IT teams are prepared to respond to an attack
- Raise awareness of the importance of cyber security among your wider employee base
- Simulate real life adversaries that could attack an organisation at any moment
The different stages of a Red Team exercise
- Define the scope and associated expectations
- Clarify the organisation, duration and constraints of the campaign once the final scope has been specified
- Establish the attack scenarios to be played out during the exercise
- Carry out the red team exercise with the aim of achieving the defined objectives
- Set up follow-up meetings for reporting and discussing actions that may or may not be taken afterwards
Frequently asked questions
What skills should a red team possess?
Given the breakneck pace of digital transformation, most organisations’ attack surface has grown exponentially. As a result, threat actors have more possible attack vectors than ever, including phishing, websites, internet-facing network equipment and more. They also need to be familiar with a wide range of operating systems, software or security equipment, as they can never be sure of what they’ll encounter once they enter a network.
It’s important for red teams to match the skills of threat actors as closely as possible. So, a good red team should have a broad range of experts specialised in different operating systems and architectures – reverse engineers, web pentesters, active directory specialists and more.
Who needs red teaming?
Any company that uses information technology could benefit from a red teaming exercise to protect its assets and train its blue team. An organisation’s threat level depends on its location, purpose and size. As does the nature of threat actors, such as ransomware groups, competitors and state-sponsored hackers. So, red teaming exercises should be tailored accordingly.
Can I do my own red team?
For all but the largest organisations, the cost of having a dedicated, experienced red ream is likely to be prohibitive.
Our team of red team auditors is well trained. They’re highly experienced at conducting exercises in a ‘real’ environment to assess the security level of information systems and improve organisations’ detection and response mechanisms.
Our red teamers already realised missions in several industries such as media, banking, government and OT.
Penetration testing vs. red teaming – what’s the difference?
We’re often asked about the similarities and differences between red teaming and pentesting. Put simply, red teaming is a more holistic test of organisations’ cyber defences, whereas pentesting focuses on specific attack vectors.
Goal: Holistic – reveals an organisation’s overall capability to respond to a successful breach
Method: Just like hackers, the red team can use all possible methods to penetrate your organisation’s defences, such as phishing, weak credentials and software. – although we often establish specific ‘guardrails’ to ensure our clients’ operations aren’t compromised.
Time required: 3-6+ weeks (also possible over several months)
Goal: Targeted – focuses on identifying vulnerabilities by emulating cyber-attacks
Method: Pentesters generally focus on an exhaustive search for all the vulnerabilities in a piece of software, a site or a piece of network equipment.
Time required: 2-3 weeks
Want to learn how red teaming can improve your organisation’s security posture?