Red Team vs. Blue Team Penetration Testing: 3 Differences

If you want to see how your organization would stack up against threat actors, there is a way to do so without risking a data breach. Red Team vs. Blue Team penetration testing is a safe way to identify vulnerabilities within your systems, networks, and internal infrastructure. But it doesn’t stop there. This elite form of a pentest can show you what a threat actor accomplishes even if your cybersecurity posture is well established. Below, we’ll tackle the three differences between the Red Team and the Blue Team for this engagement.


1. Pentesting Offense vs. Defence

Red vs. Blue pentesting is a simulated attack scenario in which the “Red Team” is the offense — their goal is to breach the cyber security defense in order to access company data or otherwise compromise the organization.

The Red Team’s adversary is the Blue Team. The Blue Team acts as the defense with the goal of protecting company data and preventing the Red Team from gaining a foothold in the organization’s systems.


2. Necessary Skill Sets

Red Team Pentesting Skills

Red Team members are penetration testing professionals who should have years of experience so they can find:


Since the goal is to find any access point that will lead to company data, Red Team members will work together and often break into smaller teams to find a way inside your organization’s security infrastructure. Quite often, aside from security know-how, Red Team members will need to think outside the box in order to reach their goal of infiltrating the organization and “winning” the engagement.

Blue Team Pentesting Skills

In contrast, Blue Team members don’t need years of experience with threat actor tactics. They must have a deep understanding of the systems and networks they are protecting. The Blue Team must have a sharp eye in order to detect any system or operating issues caused by the Red Team. They will regularly perform data analysis and risk assessments to ensure that all company data is secure and no vulnerabilities can be exploited.

3. Utilized Strategies

Red Team Penetration Strategies

The red team uses multiple strategies to accomplish their mission. Some strategies they may employ include but are not limited to:

  • Phishing campaigns.
  • Password cracking tools.
  • Account creation and modification.
  • Exploitation of public-facing applications.


The Red Team will not tell the Blue Team if and when a data breach occurs. However, if the Red Team uncovers a serious vulnerability that threat actors could use to gain access, the Red Team will communicate details to the organization.

Blue Team Penetration Strategies

Since this is Red Team vs. Blue Team penetration testing, the Blue Team will utilize strategies of their own to thwart Red’s simulated attacks. Their defensive strategies may include:

  • Initiate security training for employees.
  • Install IPS and IDS systems.
  • Run vulnerability scans.
  • Perform system audits.


One key difference between strategies is that the Blue Team should stick to the organization’s security protocols and procedures to provide the best defense possible. Creative thinking and problem solving are typically left to the Red Team.


The Benefits of Red Team vs. Blue Team Penetration Testing

General penetration testing identifies vulnerabilities that could put your organization at risk. For example, internal penetration testing aims to identify ways in which a threat actor could further their foothold into your organization. 

Red Team engagements take pentesting to the next level. A Red Team vs. Blue Team penetration test will locate any and all areas that need improvement and confirm what systems within your organization are protected — and which areas are vulnerable to attack. An expert Red Team will always find a way into an organization — the real question is how they do it. Once the engagement is over, the Red Team pentesters will complete a full report so that you can mitigate risks and harden your security.


Avoid Cybersecurity Threats With Mitnick Security

If your organization has already undergone multiple pentests, a Red Team engagement is a natural next step to shore up your cybersecurity and avoid becoming the next data breach in the news. 

Mitnick Security’s Red Team Pentesting will put your organization’s security posture to the ultimate test. This is a “gloves off” engagement designed to identify how your organization could be brought to its knees despite having a mature security landscape. To find out if your organization is up to snuff, request penetration testing information.

Topics: penetration testing, Red Team

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