The Principle of Red Teaming: Discovering and Strengthening Weak Points
Security for Everyone
Organizations and institutions are facing increasingly complex cyber threats every day. Staying secure against these threats and being resilient against cyber attacks have become one of the top priorities in the modern business world. This is where "Red Teaming" comes into play. Red Teaming stands out as a practice aimed at testing and strengthening the defense strategies of organizations.
What is Red Teaming?
Red Teaming is a testing and evaluation method used to identify security vulnerabilities in organizations or systems and assess cyber risks. This method is carried out by a group of information security experts or cyber security professionals known as the "Red Team." This team thinks like attackers and identifies vulnerabilities in the system or situations causing vulnerabilities, while also testing the organization's detection and response capabilities.
Distinguishing Between Red Teaming and Penetration Testing:
Red Teaming differs from penetration testing in approach and results. During a penetration test, the organization being tested is informed of the test and is prepared for it in a controlled manner. In contrast, in Red Teaming, the team conducting the operation is not informed, and only one or two designated managers are aware of it in advance. The operation is carried out independently of the organization's information technology team. This way, when the organization faces a targeted attack, it has the opportunity to see what it will truly encounter. Red Teaming aims to test not only information systems but also human and process factors.
Penetration testing typically takes 1-2 weeks, while Red Teaming can span 1-3 months.
The fundamental principle of Red Teaming is to help organizations be better prepared against cyber threats. It follows these steps:
Realistic Threat Simulation: Red Teaming simulates real-world threats to the best extent possible. This step tests how agile the SOC or Blue Team is when facing attacks. Example steps of a threat simulation could be as follows:
1- A hacktivist exploits a vulnerability to sabotage the industry's infrastructure and delay production.
2- A malicious employee with privileges deploys malware in the system to disrupt several machines.
3- A hacker uses social engineering to deceive an employee, gain credentials to access a robust database and expose that information.
4- A cybercriminal exploits unpatched network services to access sensitive client information.
Identifying Weak Points: Red Teaming plays a critical role in identifying an organization's security vulnerabilities and risks. These vulnerabilities are not limited to information systems but also assess the security of physical systems and facilities. For example, Red Teaming may attempt unauthorized entry into the company's office, bypass security cameras, or tamper with these cameras. It can then try to gain physical access to the company's computers.
Improving Defense Strategies: Organizations can enhance their defense strategies based on the results of Red Teaming. This makes them more resilient to future cyber attacks. Improving the Blue Team is one of the measures that can be taken against future cyber attacks. There are free labs available for this purpose:
Personnel Training and Awareness: Red Teaming tests how aware your employees are of social engineering attacks. This helps in developing a security culture. It can send fake emails, make phone calls, and use similar approaches to test whether employees comply with security policies. If you want to educate your employees in this regard, you can refer to this article: https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams
Continuous Improvement: Red Teaming emphasizes the need for organizations to review and improve their cyber security strategies continually. Threats are constantly evolving, and organizations need to keep up with these changes. Red Teaming provides you with a report at the end of the process. This report may contain recommendations for updating and strengthening security policies, using a security information and event management (SIEM) system to monitor network traffic and detect threats, optimizing camera monitoring and alarm systems, and more. Red Teaming is not a one-time service but should become a part of your organization, with frequent updates and improvements.
In conclusion, Red Teaming is an essential tool that is increasingly needed for organizations or businesses to identify risks and security vulnerabilities related to their confidential information, simulate the methods, technologies, and tactics used by real attackers in a controlled manner, increase awareness within the information security department and the Blue Team regarding discovered security gaps and current vulnerabilities and determine and improve the organization's ability to prevent, detect, and respond to attacks.