What is Red Teaming?
Red Teaming is a multi-layered, complete scope simulation crafted to gauge how well an organization’s employee, applications, physical security controls, and networks can survive a cyber-attack from a real-life challenger. In layman’s terms it is ethical hacking, rather a method for self-sufficient security teams to test how well a company would fare while facing a real attack. Learn more
A meticulous red team test will depict risks and vulnerabilities regarding:
- Physical-data centers, buildings, offices, warehouses, substations, etc.
- Information Security and Technology- Phishing, appliances, sensitive data, routers, applications, networks, switches, etc.
- People- Business partners, employees, departments, independent contractors, etc.
The principle of red teaming is analogous to the old sports saying, “The best offense is a good defense.” Red teaming aids a business to remain ready for action while securing its business interests by influencing social engineering and physical, application, and network penetration testing to find customs in order to shore your defenses.
At the time of red team engagements, extremely skilled security professionals endorse attack scenarios to disclose the possible hardware, physical, software, and human vulnerabilities. Red team engagements also help to spot opportunities for malicious insiders and bad actors to compromise organizations’ systems and networks or enable data breaches. It has been observed that around 6% to 28% of the attacks are generally accomplished with help of ex or current employees of the infected companies.
The key purpose of red teaming is to examine and strengthen the company’s ability to identify and respond to advanced cyber-attacks which includes Advance Persistent Threat (APT).
By performing the red team exercises and practicing the response to controlled attacks, the internal security team can improve its skills in identifying previously unknown threats to prevent real attackers in the primary stages of an attack and would also avert reputational and material damage to the organization.
Visualize a team of professionals in your company who can simulate your foes and advance your flexibility to their techniques and tactics. This is exactly what a Red Team does.
Different Stages of Red Teaming
Red teaming can be divided into various stages. The most crucial among them is the progression of threat intelligence scenarios and their execution, i.e. the active testing phase.
During the first stage, the red team carries out threat intelligence that may engross thousands of profiles of probable cybercriminals. A targeted threat analysis report is then prepared with the help of threat intelligence. The second stage involves the actual attacking activities.
Some organizations may procure threat intelligence and operate red teaming using their own employees. To do this, one needs to have a meticulously trained information security team consisting of 5–10 technical auditors and pen-testers. Next, create a Security Operation center and procure Threat Intelligence from several large market players. If some organizations do not wish to hire third-party contractors to execute red-teaming, they may identify ways to save money without considerable damage to the levels of security. There may be fewer members of the red and blue teams. The point here is that there should always be the possibility of controlling incidents outside of working hours.
Red teaming duration depends on the number of agreed scenarios. The average project span is between three to six months; however, some projects also last for one –five years. Undoubtedly, the most useful red team project is the one that never ends.
Here are some ground rules for Red Team Assessment
1) Lucid Goals
An organization must commence from a common understanding of what the Red Team’s mission and goal is.
Red Teams’ task is not to “discover all the vulnerabilities”, but to decide, through antagonist emulation, which attacks behaviors would permit justifiable attackers to achieve definite goals via human, cyber and physical means.
A common blunder organizations make is to become exaggeratedly system-specific with their Red Teams, and to disregard the companies’ royal assets and the controls safeguarding them. A purpose-based opponent simulation loom assures that your Red Team preserves focus.
Eventually, Red Teaming is about 2 things,
- Identifying how vulnerable we are by recognizing vulnerabilities such as exploitable conditions, misconfiguration, and bugs.
- Determining blind spots in our ability and readiness to react.
2) Ally to the Companies’ Taste
Before you begin, it’s important to measure your companies’ taste for the type of activities and campaigns you will execute. The issue isn’t about the cost or resources, but of the organization being prepared to countenance potentially tough truths about its security pose and the willingness to address gaps and limitations whenever they are identified.
It’s valuable to discuss in the forefront of time with your core stakeholders and executives what red team activities will demand and equally what it doesn’t demand.
3) Do not function in a Bubble
By definition, Red Team activities are fairly secretive. Their task is to perform like real-world attackers to test the true security stance and response of their company. Concurrently Red Teams cannot afford to function in a bubble. They are constantly aided by strong relationships and support from legal teams, blue teams, and physical security. For example, they engage in legal stuff during the planning phases in order to ensure that operations do not introduce undesired regulatory or legal risks. They must give advance notice to their physical security teams of any action that would result in law escalations. Red Teams must closely work with the blue teams of the organization to help them accomplish their goals in shielding the organization.
4) Be Strategic
The proficiency of a Red Team can be misguided to unplanned requests from business units. Sometimes they can also be used as a political mace to overturn certain projects. Hence it is crucial for Red Teams to do comprehensive annual planning. Make use of a variety of testing models to meet different needs.
5) Plan Operations Thoroughly
Red Teams need to be very methodical about their approach and plan for each operation. It’s crucial to define lucid objectives and rules of engagement for each operation which also includes processes for out-of-band reporting of any vital findings. Reflect carefully on the participants in your operations. Restricting insiders is the key to maintain pragmatism.
6) Peer Monitoring
It’s obvious that people can make mistakes. Hence it’s always useful to have a second and third-person view of the vital phase of an operation. This would aid to identify mistakes before they happen. Peer monitoring also aids to ensure that Red Teams remain in the scope and rules of the operation and present a workforce that can act as witnesses in events there are concerns about what exactly happened during an operation.
7) Honor Reporting and Track your Risks
Though it’s always exciting to execute the campaigns, Red Teams must also be equally meticulous about reporting. This is where companies can see and value your efforts. Make use of standard risk definitions and formal tracking of your findings in a risk register. This would be crucial for illustrating patterns and larger trends in the organization for lashing actual change from the work of Red Teams.
8) Select Diversity
In order to simulate accurate and effective cyber-attacks, we need a team that possesses the breadth, depth, and diversity of offensive security skills. Make sure your Red Team reflects a diversity of backgrounds in technology and security. A good red teamer is more than their expertise and skill sets. Give priority to individuals that have integrity and passion.
If you want to improve the security posture of your organization, do get in touch with WeSecureApp. Learn more about our offerings in e-commerce security.
Originally Published : https://wesecureapp.com/blog/ground-rules-for-red-team-assessment/