Breach and Attack Simulation vs Red Team Pentesting

Cyberattacks have posed a significant threat to organizations across the world, creating an urgency to take the necessary measures to shore up your network security to prevent catastrophic damage to your business.

For example, in addition to the loss of customer confidence, the actual cost of data breaches is astonishing. Globally, a company could expect to see a $4.35 million cost for a data breach and that number is more than twice as high in the U.S. where an average breach costs nearly $9.5 million.

Avoiding the full range of consequences of falling prey to threat actors is more critical than ever, and you may be looking at different options to test your security stance. Below we’ll discuss breach and attack simulation and how it compares to Red Team penetration testing.


What Is a Breach and Attack Simulation?

BAS (breach and attack simulation) uses a set of security tools to assess the organization’s current ability to ward off the actions of threat actors.

The computer-generated simulations can be conducted either remotely or onsite, mimicking data breaches and cyber attacks such as malware, with the BAS provider then giving an analysis of how the existing security controls performed.

There are a variety of breach and attack simulation tools available, each of which offers different capabilities. In general, BAS tools are designed to simulate a full spectrum of attacks with varying levels of thoroughness.


What Is Red Team Pentesting?

Penetration testing (pentesting) is also a simulated attack against a company’s systems, devices, and/or people that is conducted for numerous reasons. The key difference between it and breach and attack simulation is that pentesting is not a computer simulation but instead is an attack initiated by a cybersecurity expert who uses their knowledge to breach the organization’s defense and identify as many security vulnerabilities as can be found.

On the other hand, the term Red Team pentesting comes from the military tactic of “Red Teaming” when an entire team of officers and soldiers analyze every possible outcome of every possible action during attack planning. This robust planning stage allows the military to be prepared for any situation and pivot accordingly.

Red team pentesting uses the same strategy. A Red Team spends weeks planning its attack of an organization’s security. The goal is to find one way in that lets them move throughout your system, exfil as much information as possible as predetermined prior to the engagement, and then exit without detection.

Whereas traditional pentests are separated into six different types based on the strategy that will be used to penetrate security, Red Teams typically can use any penetration strategy in any way to achieve their goal.

When To Choose Red Team Pentesting?

There are specific signs that you need a Red Team pentest:

  1. You have remediated vulnerabilities identified in traditional pentesting to increase confidence.
  2. You want to prove that you have robust cyber security protections for operational purposes and customer confidence.
  3. You have recently fallen victim to a data breach and need to establish that you have strengthened your security posture.
  4. Your cybersecurity budget includes funds for testing and improving your networks, systems, platforms, and people but not for the expense of data breach mitigation.


Breach and Attack Simulation vs Red Team Pentesting

BAS complements penetration testing and Red Team pentesting; however, BAS should not be used as a replacement for them.

Frequency of Testing

BAS solutions run in the background, assess vulnerabilities, and provide information about the results. 

Traditional pentesting is carried out regularly, often on an annual basis. Because Red Team engagements are so much more thorough, it may take up to a month or more depending on the size of your organization.

The Execution:

Automated breach and attack simulation tools execute the vulnerability assessment.

Red team operations are conducted by a team of ethical white hat hackers who will use any means to assess and penetrate your security systems, including automated tools and vulnerability scans. However, the most valuable tool used by the pentesting team is the knowledge and expertise about computers, security, and people. 


Put Your Cybersecurity Trust in the World’s Greatest Cybersecurity Team

Choosing the right vulnerability testing practices and team doesn’t need to be difficult.

A proven cybersecurity team can give you ease of mind. Mitnick Security is a team of renowned experts with a single-minded focus on discovering your vulnerabilities so you can protect your business. 

Explore our full range of penetration testing services and learn how the Mitnick Security advantage can enable you to protect your data and your reputation.

Topics: penetration testing

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