Cybersecurity requires a proactive approach where security controls and processes are regularly assessed to ensure they are up-to-date so as to effectively defend against the latest threats.
What is red teaming?
The purpose of red teams is to assess organizations’ cyber resilience, threat detection, and incident response capabilities.
Red teams attack organizations, software, or a combination of the two (such as software-as-a-service providers) depending on what they are testing. During the simulation of a real cyberattack, the red team may attempt the following tasks:
Organization Network: An attacker may try to gain access to a computer by using an open port, a compromised device, or an insecure user account. It applies equally to cloud-hosted and on-premise installations. In your network, the red team will attempt to move laterally to systems of interest, exploiting security vulnerabilities to elevate their privileges.
Organization Software: Your software can be scanned for vulnerabilities that will allow many different types of attacks, including buffer overflow attacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting attacks, and confused deputy attacks. To find ways to use your program for malicious purposes, red teams might also use fuzzing, a technique in which they crash your software and then diagnose the cause of the crash. This could include executing malicious code or accessing data that attackers use to create new exploits for software that can be sold on the dark web, resulting in numerous attacks on your users in the future.
Organization Physical Security: To access a physical network port or server room, one can use tools such as RFID cloners or underhanded tactics such as bypassing camera blind spots or picking locks.
People Who Work for an Organization: Through social engineering, hackers can gain access to your premises, plant malware through targeted phishing scams, or gather information about your organization to facilitate attacks.
Red Teaming Methodology
Organizations’ detection and response capabilities are rigorously tested using “red teaming,” a black box methodology driven by intelligence.
A typical approach would include the following:
In order for red teaming to be successful, high-quality intelligence is crucial. A variety of open-source intelligence tools, techniques, and resources are used by ethical hackers to collect information that could be used to successfully compromise a target organization. It may include information about employees, infrastructure, and technologies deployed.
Staging and Weaponization
After vulnerabilities have been identified and an attack plan has been formulated, the next step is staging—obtaining, configuring, and obfuscating the resources needed to conduct the attack. Servers could be set up to perform Command & Control (C2) activities, social engineering activities, or to develop malicious code.
Delivering the Attack
In this stage of red teaming, a foothold on the target network is obtained by compromising it. As part of the pursuit of their objective, ethical hackers may exploit vulnerabilities, use brute force to crack weak employee passwords, and create fake emails to launch phishing attacks and drop malicious payloads.
Having gained a foothold on the target network, the next phase focuses on achieving the agreed-upon objectives. As part of this stage, lateral movement across the network, privilege escalation, physical compromise, command and control activity, and data exfiltration may occur.
Analyzing and Reporting
After the red teaming engagement is completed, they prepare a comprehensive client report that provides information about vulnerabilities discovered, attack vectors used, and recommendations for remediating and mitigating any identified risks to technical and non-technical personnel alike.
When should the organization use a Red Team?
You need to conduct a comprehensive vulnerability assessment before engaging in red team testing in order to identify, prioritize, and address as many security flaws as possible. You may find unpatched servers, default admin passwords, compromised third-party libraries, or a failure to sanitize user inputs.
After addressing all known issues, you can use a threat assessment to identify the highest risks so that you can focus your testing accordingly. Your organization and industry will determine the type of cyber-attack you are most likely to face.
The red-teaming process should be an ongoing activity that constantly assesses your security posture. You must continually test your defenses against realistic attack techniques as changes are made to your systems or software and new exploits are discovered.