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Red Team, Blue Team and Purple Team: Colors in Cyber Security


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In cyber security, teams are formed according to their goals. These teams, collected from different specialties, are expressed with colors according to their purposes. Of the three main colors, blue represents defense, red represents attack, and yellow represents development.

Red Team: It is an offensive group that tries to detect and exploit system vulnerabilities.

Blue Team: It is the defensive group that ensures the security of the system by performing steps such as architecture, update and configuration on the system.

Purple Team: It is a group that has an offensive perspective, but whose main duty is to protect the system.

Yellow Team: Analyzes the findings of the red and blue teams and evaluates vulnerabilities and weaknesses more comprehensively.

Orange Team: Evaluates how successful the activities of the red and blue teams are.

Green Team: Takes both reactive and proactive measures in information systems.

Although the color palette in cyber security is colorful, in this article we will examine the blue, red and purple teams, their structures and activities.

History of Colors in Cyber Security

Red Team: First used in the 1960s by the RAND Corporation, a think tank that operated for the US military during the Cold War. In the scenarios they worked on, the color red was used to represent the Soviet Union. [1]

Blue Team: The term "blue team" in IT security was first used in the early 1990s by Kevin Mitnick, then a hacker. Mitnick, who describes the techniques he used to infiltrate computer systems in his book "The Art of Deception", defined the people who defend against hackers as "blue teams". [2]

Purple Team: The concept of purple teaming was first introduced in the US military, where it was used to test the effectiveness of a unit’s defensive measures against simulated attacks.[3]

Yellow Team: Although the first use of the term "yellow team" is not clearly known, it can be said that it emerged in the early 2000s or 2010s and is a concept used to improve cyber security assessments.

Orange Team: Although the first use of the term "orange team" is not clearly known, this term is used for yellow team members who have a red team perspective. [4]

Green Team: The definition of "Green Team", which was first coined by unknown, is used for teams specialized in secure software development in cooperation with the blue and yellow teams.

What is the red team, blue team and purple team?

Red teams conduct tests with cyber attacker behavior to test an organization's cyber security measures. They know the latest attack techniques of cyber attackers to accomplish their tasks. Using these techniques, they try to detect and exploit vulnerabilities, weaknesses and deficiencies in an organization's IT infrastructure. For detailed information about red teams please read "The Principle of Red Teaming: Discovering and Strengthening Weak Points" and "What is the Difference between Red Teaming and Penetration Testing?".

Blue team is responsible for ensuring the cyber security of an organization's IT infrastructure. They know and apply architectural best practices. They also implement updates, configurations and hardening to maximize system security.

The Purple Team represents an approach that combines and coordinates the efforts of the Red and Blue teams. Its purpose is to help develop defense strategies by sharing the vulnerabilities and attack vectors found by the Red Team with the Blue Team. This process encourages interaction and exchange of information between the two teams, thus increasing the effectiveness of both parties. The Purple Team usually consists of individuals within an organization, but sometimes outside consultants may also participate in this role.

What are the main tasks for the red team, blue team and purple team?

Red Team's Main Missions:

  • Testing the organization's cyber defenses using realistic attack scenarios.
  • Detecting security vulnerabilities and deficiencies.
  • Discovering attack vectors and reporting them to the organization's security team.
  • Preparing post-attack reports and presenting findings and recommendations.
  • Conducting social engineering assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of security awareness and training programs. This involves attempting phishing, pretexting, baiting, and other social engineering tactics to gauge employee susceptibility to such attacks.
  • Performing physical security assessments to test the strength of physical barriers (like locks, access control systems, and surveillance equipment) and the awareness and response of security personnel.
  • Testing the resilience of network infrastructure to DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks and assessing the effectiveness of mitigation strategies.
  • Evaluating the security of third-party services and integrations to ensure that external partners do not introduce vulnerabilities into the organization’s ecosystem.
  • Assessing the organization's incident response capabilities by simulating the detection, containment, eradication, and recovery processes following an attack.
  • Identifying and assessing risks associated with emerging technologies (such as IoT devices, cloud services, and AI systems) integrated into the organization’s environment.
  • Developing and testing custom attack scenarios based on the organization’s specific threats, industry risks, and historical attack patterns.
  • Engaging in war-gaming exercises to test strategic decision-making and crisis management capabilities in a simulated high-stakes environment.
  • Reviewing and recommending enhancements to security policies, procedures, and best practices to align with industry standards and compliance requirements.
  • Conducting continuous monitoring and intelligence gathering to stay ahead of new threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Providing training and knowledge transfer sessions for the organization's security team based on findings and emerging threats, to enhance their skills and preparedness.

Blue Team's Main Missions:

  • Taking security measures to protect the organization's information systems and networks.
  • Continuously monitoring and analyzing security breaches and threats.
  • Defending against attacks and responding to security breaches.
  • Developing and implementing security policies, procedures, and controls.
  • Performing vulnerability assessments and regular security audits to identify and remediate weaknesses before they can be exploited.
  • Implementing and managing security technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and encryption protocols to safeguard sensitive information.
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards related to cybersecurity and data protection.
  • Developing and maintaining an incident response plan that outlines procedures for addressing and recovering from security incidents.
  • Coordinating with external stakeholders such as law enforcement, other organizations, and cybersecurity information sharing consortia to stay informed about the latest threats and defenses.
  • Managing access controls and identity management to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive systems and data.
  • Monitoring the security of third-party vendors and ensuring that their practices meet the organization’s security standards.
  • Implementing a secure software development lifecycle (SDLC) to ensure that security is integrated into the development process of applications from the outset.
  • Deploying data loss prevention (DLP) strategies to detect and prevent unauthorized access or theft of sensitive information.
  • Assessing the security of cloud services and infrastructure and implementing cloud security best practices to protect assets stored in the cloud.
  • Utilizing threat intelligence platforms and services to gather insights on current cyber threats and utilize that information for proactive defense measures.
  • Performing risk management activities to identify, assess, and prioritize risks to the organization’s assets, implementing strategies to mitigate these risks.
  • Developing business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure that critical services can be restored as quickly as possible after a cybersecurity incident.
  • Promoting a culture of security within the organization to ensure that security considerations are a fundamental aspect of all business decisions and processes.

Purple Team's Main Missions:

  • Coordinating the efforts of the Red and Blue teams and ensuring their interaction with each other.
  • Sharing the security vulnerabilities and attack methods identified by the Red Team with the Blue Team and developing defense strategies in light of this information.
  • Contributing to the continuous improvement of the overall security posture of the organization by encouraging the exchange of information between the two teams.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of security practices and responses and making recommendations for improvement.
  • Facilitating joint training and simulation exercises to promote mutual understanding of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by attackers and defenders.
  • Developing and maintaining a knowledge base of attack scenarios, vulnerabilities, and remediation strategies that can be used for training, development, and incident response.
  • Integrating cutting-edge cybersecurity technologies and practices into the organization’s security framework by staying informed about the latest security research, tools, and methodologies.
  • Analyzing past security incidents and breaches to identify patterns, root causes, and systemic issues that need addressing to prevent future occurrences.
  • Promoting an adaptive security architecture that can rapidly evolve in response to new threats and vulnerabilities, ensuring resilience against complex cyberattacks.
  • Implementing metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of security practices and the return on investment (ROI) of security initiatives.
  • Advocating for a security-by-design approach in all projects and processes to ensure that security considerations are integrated from the outset.
  • Leveraging threat intelligence and sharing findings with both Red and Blue Teams to ensure that defensive strategies are informed by the most current threat landscape.
  • Organizing cross-functional workshops and debriefings after training exercises to discuss outcomes, share lessons learned, and identify areas for improvement.
  • Working with senior management to align security initiatives with business objectives and communicate the importance of cybersecurity investments.
  • Encouraging a culture of security within the organization by making cybersecurity awareness and education accessible to all employees.
  • Supporting the development of an incident response community of practice, fostering a collaborative environment where response strategies and tactics can be continuously improved.
  • Assessing and advising on legal and regulatory compliance issues related to cybersecurity, ensuring that security practices meet or exceed required standards.
  • Facilitating the integration of automated security testing tools into the development and operational workflows to ensure continuous security monitoring and assessment.
  • Promoting the use of secure coding practices and reviewing code for vulnerabilities to minimize the risk of security flaws in software development.
  • Implementing a feedback loop from the Blue Team to the Red Team to inform the development of more realistic and challenging attack scenarios, thereby refining testing methodologies over time.

Where in a company's organizational hierarchy are the Red and Purple Teams most commonly positioned?

Red Team: In larger organizations, the Red Team might report directly to a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or a similar high-level position within the IT or security department to ensure independence and objectivity.

Blue Team: The Blue Team typically works closely with the IT operations staff, network administrators, and system administrators. They usually report up through the IT or InfoSec hierarchy, often directly to the CISO or the head of IT security.

Purple Team: In some organizations, the Purple Team consists of members who alternate between Red and Blue Team exercises; in others, it may be a dedicated team focused on improving security practices. They might report to the same high-level positions as the Red and Blue Teams, ensuring a cohesive security strategy across the organization.

Comparison Table For Red Team, Blue Team and Purple Team in Cyber Security


Red Team

Blue Team

Purple Team


Exploit vulnerabilities and simulate real-world cyberattacks to test an organization's security posture.

Defend the organization's systems and networks from cyberattacks.

Improve overall security posture through collaboration between Red and Blue Teams.

Main Focus

Offensive Security (Attacking)

Defensive Security (Defending)

Collaborative Security 
(Red & Blue Integration)

Tactics and Tools

Penetration testing, social engineering, exploit kits, malware analysis.

Security information and event management (SIEM), firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS), vulnerability scanning.

Joint exercises, threat modeling, communication & collaboration tools.


Uncovers weaknesses in security defenses, identifies potential attack vectors.

Maintains system uptime and data integrity, detects and responds to threats.

Provides a holistic view of security posture, promotes continuous improvement.


Maintaining ethical boundaries, balancing realism with avoiding damage.

Staying ahead of evolving threats, resource limitations.

Fostering collaboration between traditionally siloed teams.

Necessary Knowledge

Networking, operating systems, hacking techniques, exploit development.

Security tools and technologies, incident response procedures, threat intelligence.

Both offensive and defensive security knowledge, communication & teamwork skills.

Common Certifications

●    OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional)
●    CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
●    CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

●    Security+
●    GSEC (GIAC Security Essentials)
●    CCNA Security

Less standardized, may combine Red & Blue Team certifications.

Job Opportunity


Very High



The security of an organization's IT structure cannot be secured from a single perspective. For this reason, there are teams created over time for different purposes and expressed with colors. In order for an organization to maximize its security, it must work with different teams. Different perspectives in teams help detect unseen weaknesses in the system.










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