What is red teaming

Cyber threats continue to evolve at an unprecedented rate, placing cyber security at the top of the agenda when businesses consider risk mitigation.

Red teaming is an effective approach to identifying vulnerabilities and removing them. Red teaming is a simulated real-life cyber-attack, often referred to as ethical hacking. The red team performs an independent test of the business’s network security, apps, staff, and physical security controls. These are designed to highlight vulnerabilities in the network, including routers, apps, appliances, and switches. It tests the physical security of data centres, offices, and warehouses, along with their people, including employees, third-party contractors, and business partners. A red team consists of highly experienced security consultants, and their tactics and knowledge far exceed those of internal cyber security teams, whose actions are known as blue teaming. Red teaming is a service all businesses should utilise to improve their defences.


What are the differences between a penetration test and red teaming?


Penetration testing looks for flaws in your company’s network, devices, and applications. It considers where and how cybercriminals might attack, the potential scale of a breach, and how effective your business’s defences are against attacks. If your organisation is PCI DSS compliant, then you will already be leveraging pen testing. However, penetration testing only goes so far. It is part of the red team’s methodology, but red teaming goes further by looking deeper and using more people, resources, and time, while also avoiding detection as cybercriminals do. Red teaming uses social engineering to test onsite email, chat, text, and telephone weakness, and physical intrusion to test locks, alarms, and cameras. The red team will assess your business’s threat detection proficiency and incident response capabilities.


Red teaming methodology


The red teaming methodology includes:

  • Reconnaissance: Gathering intelligence using open-source tools and techniques to uncover details of your infrastructure, employees, and technology to identify vulnerabilities.
  • Planning: Preparing the attack by configuring resources, setting up servers for command and control activities, and developing malicious code and malware.
  • Attacking: Exploiting identified weaknesses, using brute force, launching phishing attacks, and deploying malware.
  • Achieving agreed objectives: Such as physical compromise, privilege escalation, lateral network movement, data exfiltration, and control and command activities.
  • Analysis: Detailed reporting for non-technical and technical personnel, covering weaknesses, successful attack methodologies, and how to mitigate and remedy risks. 


What type of business is it best suited for?


No business is too small to be the target of cybercriminals. In fact, the businesses that think they have the lowest risk are those most likely to become victims. A cybercriminal’s motives may not be limited to accessing sensitive data. They may add malicious code to your network and use your computers to attack other networks as part of a botnet group (a group of computers controlled by a single attacker). SMEs should not be put off by the fear of the cost of red teaming. Costs are bespoke and focus on the strategies most likely to be leveraged in your industry. This gives your organisation a cost-effective opportunity to fix, patch, remedy, and train your security defences. Contact OmniCyber Security to engage our penetration testing services or for information about red teaming.  

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