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August 20, 2019

Do you dare to deliberately have your security defences attacked?

Red Teaming is a concept that tests your cyber security defences. It emulates a real-world cyber attack and if conducted correctly; like a real-world attack, will seemingly ‘come out of nowhere’.

No matter the size of your organisation, Red Teaming will put your defences to the test and help you discover the weak points both in terms of infrastructure and approach.

Please note that hackers attack companies of every kind. If you have an online presence you are vulnerable and need to take steps to prevent attacks.

In this post, we take a look at the key benefits from Red Teaming and why it should form part of your overall cyber security strategy.

What is Red Teaming?

Pen testing vs. Red teaming

The role of penetration testing is to expose vulnerabilities.

Here, a person uses ethical hacking to find a way into your system. The role is to highlight weak spots in all aspects of your cyber security.

Red teaming’s role is to test your cyber security response to an attack. Red Teams normally consist of seasoned professionals who have researched and are up on the latest hacking techniques. The attack often comes at random and the response of your cyber security teams and the performance of infrastructure and software are recorded.

Often, the Red Team attack is not known to the rest of the cyber security team. For all intent and purposes, this is a real attack. The Red Team will not have prior knowledge of your system so this is as close to a real-world attack as it gets.

Key benefits of using Red Teams

Using a Red Team approach you will glean the following benefits :

  • Insight into your cyber security team’s response to a sophisticated and targeted attack. This measures the ability to detect and prevent.
  • Determines how secure key assets are when faced with a sophisticated attack.
  • Key cyber security tools and assets effectiveness measured.
  • Simulates a real cyber attack to test specific areas of cyber security.

Red Teaming objectives

The objectives of a Red Team isn’t to find vulnerabilities. They should deploy with a specific objective. Here are examples:

  • Test new cyber security software and or infrastructure.
  • Assess the response from cyber security personnel.
  • Assess how effective existing security measures are against the latest cyber security threats.

From this point, you should have indications on what needs to change to keep your business secure against the latest threats.

Red Teams skill set

Broadly all Red Teams will consist of experienced IT security professionals. They will be from different backgrounds to closely simulate a hacking team.  They should be well versed in the following:

  • Comprehensive knowledge of how systems work especially servers and databases.
  • Good knowledge of software development forged over time.
  • Good knowledge of penetration testing techniques and methodologies used.
  • Good knowledge of social engineering skills used by phishing scammers.
  • And most of all an ability to think outside the box to try and break into a system. This is highly important as often real hackers use new methods.

For Red Teams to be successful they must be able to have time to research new methods of hacking and given the tools to make it possible. The more effective your Red Team is the better your defences will be.

When to deploy Red Teams

Red Teams should deploy sporadically throughout the year to launch surprise attacks against the system.

In addition, implement Red Teams to:

  • Test new software and infrastructure.
  • Test the existing system and cyber security team against new threats.
  • Test the security awareness of staff.

As stated, clear objectives should be set out prior to a Red Team attack. This will help you hone in on the effectiveness of what you are testing. Bring in key people from an early stage to help identify key areas of the system that need protecting.

Putting your Red Team together

Many businesses of all sizes outsource their Red Teams to seasoned cyber security teams. This is arguably ideal as the team will go in blind. It also frees your resources to ensure you have robust security. For more information on Red Teams talk to us and discover how we can help your security be the best it can be.

Always room for improvement…

Discover our most popular guide to improving your overall cyber security. This step-by-step programme will help you create an actionable plan to ensure your organisation is protected from real-world threats.

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About Comtact Ltd.

Comtact Ltd. is a government-approved Cyber Security and IT Managed Service Provider, supporting clients 24/7 from our ISO27001-accredited UK Security Operations Centre (SOC).

Located at the heart of a high security, controlled-access Tier 3 data centre, Comtact’s state-of-the-art UK Cyber Defence Centre (SOC) targets, hunts & disrupts hacker behaviour, as part of a multi-layered security defence, to help secure some of the UK’s leading organisations.