Red Teaming

Everything You Need to Know

One of the most devastating events that can happen to your organization is experiencing a data breach. In fact, the average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $9.44 million in the United States. Clearly, this is not a concern you need or want on your hands.

That’s where Red Teaming can help fortify your cybersecurity and alleviate attacks, such as data breaches.

With the various tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) hackers use, larger organizations need more than simple defense products or traditional pentesting to stay safe. Red Team engagements utilize the latest and greatest hacking methodologies to pinpoint the most hidden vulnerabilities in your network to strengthen the defense of your security posture.

Below, we’ll go into more detail on Red Teaming, its benefits, and why your organization needs it — pronto!

Chapter 1: What Are Red Team Operations?

Red Teaming was developed from the military idea that extra techniques and attack sites can be employed to reach a target and achieve specific goals. Red Team operations in cybersecurity often take two teams, the Red Team and the Blue Team, and pit them against each other; the former utilizes numerous methods and pentesting types to exploit an identified opening in an organization’s network. The Blue Team is a team internal to the organization that defends against the Red Team; together, they form Purple Teaming.

A Red Team engagement is meticulously documented, just like traditional pentests, so you know exactly what happened, how it happened, and why. The ultimate goal is to find key vulnerabilities and provide actionable remedies to prevent a real cyber attack from an actual threat actor.

Red Teaming vs. Traditional Pentesting

Red Teamers' objective is to locate just one way in and unearth as much sought-after data as they can get their hands on through one backdoor or weakness. Standard penetration tests, however, aim to find as many security breaches as possible, exploit them, and access each vulnerability's risk rating.

Typically, Red Teaming involves a larger scope and costs more, yet provides a more in-depth assessment. If your organization has never had any pentesting performed or is fairly small, it’s best to start with traditional pentesting and then advance to Red Teaming. This will ensure your organization’s infrastructure is fundamentally secure first before improving specific areas of your security stack more heavily.

Chapter 2: Red Teaming Process

Planning Phase

Red Team operations begin with the planning phase. During this phase, you and the Red Teamers will define the goals of the pentest, the rules of engagement, how long the test should last, and whether you want your pentest to be visible as an attack across your organization or in secret. Some companies prefer their staff doesn’t know that there is a pentest happening. Others wish to simulate a real attack to test how their organization responds.

Once the assessment's guidelines have been defined, the team can begin organizing its strategy. Establishing these details before the assessment helps save time and avoid unforeseen repercussions.

Attack Phase

During this phase, the pentesters start identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities through a series of "attacks." Social engineering and web application attacks are two of the most frequently utilized methods because they are the approaches regularly employed by actual threat actors. However, the precise methodologies the pentesters use depend on the guidelines set in the planning phase and vary by vendor.

Here are a few effective methodologies pentesters may use in the attack phase:

Reconnaissance AKA Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT)

Reconnaissance, or OSINT, is the pentesting method of gathering knowledge about your systems and network. Gathering intelligence offers invaluable insights that aid in creating a complete understanding of the pentest target.

Various types of data may be collected during the reconnaissance part of the attack phase. This includes, though is not limited to:

  • Domain information
  • Network services and topology
  • IP addresses

Scanning

Scanning is a pentesting method used to find and identify vulnerabilities across your network and systems. Through scanning, testers can learn how the target responds to various attacks and spot any vulnerabilities that could be exploited. 

Access

Getting system access is the process of breaching your system's security utilizing techniques like social engineering, internal and external network hacking, password spraying, and more.

Blue Team vs. Red Team

Red Team cybersecurity operations take a team of ethical offensive hackers (The Red Team) that engage in attacks against a target with a team that’s defending it (The Blue Team).

What is Product Claims Testing
 
Red Team Strategies

To complete their task, the Red Team employs a variety of tactics. They may use several methodologies, including but not restricted to:

During this process, the Red Team won't alert the Blue Team. However, the Red Team will inform the corporation during the pentest if they find any severe flaws that threat actors could exploit to get inside the system.

To provide you with a thorough description of their discoveries during the final testing phase, pentesters document every action they take as well as the outcomes of various tests and scans throughout this phase.

What is Product Claims Testing

Post-attack Phase

During the post-attack phase, the Red Team will begin combining the data from all phases of the engagement to give a thorough report indicating where your Blue Team or IT staff succeeded and where there are gaps in their security foundation. Additionally, they will point out the weaknesses that must be fixed and provide suggestions for improving the company's security posture.

Once an attack is complete a report will be compiled and discussed with you and your organization.

Pentesting Reports 

The Red Team report includes an analysis of the vulnerabilities they identified, remediation strategies, and suggestions — broken down into short, medium, and long term suggestions — as well as a summary for internal distribution.

Some vulnerabilities and remediations are:

Email phishing: One way to prevent email phishing attacks from succeeding is to educate your staff on the importance of filtering emails and checking to ensure they actually come from the people or organizations they promise to be. 

Weak passwords and credentials: Many hackers use password crackers, brute force attacks, and other tactics to reveal credentials. Ensure your organization uses complex passwords and credentials and changes them often.

Legacy networks that are prone to Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks: Outdated, legacy systems are extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks, such as Man-in-the-Middle attacks. MitM attacks are simply when a hacker manages to find a way into a network and place themselves between a user and the system they’ve targeted so that they can intercept or infect data traveling between them. 

Consider installing newer technologies with more advanced security features to help mitigate MitM attacks.

Chapter 3: Who Needs Red Team Assessments?

While Red Teaming provides a lot of benefits and is extremely helpful, it is also meant for specific types of organizations. As stated above, if your company is small or new to pentests, it may need to start with traditional pentests first.

Organizations within the financial industry that handle credit/debit or other payment information are one primary example of who should consider Red Teaming. This is because the financial industry is heavily targeted by hackers, requiring the need for the most advanced security postures to prevent catastrophic data breaches that could leak the personal financial information of customers.

Chapter 4: Costs and Timeframe

Surprising Penetration Test Report Findings

While traditional pentests are often shorter to complete, Red Team engagements offer more intricate analyses of security stacks; this is why they require more time to complete and a higher cost.

While Red Team engagements can vary in cost, many organizations should expect the price to be around $40,000 with a duration of two to three weeks to a month, depending on the size of your company and the complexity of your systems. While this may seem like a long time and a steep price, it’s a drop in the well compared to the costs of data breaches and the recovery time you would need to remediate an attack. 

You are also paying for exclusive services. Red Teaming is performed by professional ethical hackers who have the tools, resources, and expertise not found anywhere else.

 

Surprising Penetration Test Report Findings

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Chapter 5: The Impact of Red Team Operations

The benefits of Red Team operations cannot be overstated. Red team operations can reveal gaps in your systems that could lead to several detrimental consequences, including:

  • Financial losses
  • Irreparable reputational damage as a company
  • Lawsuits from lack of compliance and information leaks from data breaches

Additionally, companies often underperform by 8.6% a year after they’ve been hit by a data breach. This gap sometimes increases to approximately 12% two years after a data breach! As you can see, there is a growing trend of misfortune for those who experience data breaches.

Red Team operations can significantly mitigate these issues from occurring, and many organizations are beginning to invest in high-level security measures, such as Red Teaming. In 2022, over 52% of companies cited customer data protection as their top priority for cyber security.

Chapter 6: Find the Right Red Teaming Provider for Your Business

red team pentesting
red team pentesting

Now that you know the ins and outs of Red Teaming and have identified whether your company needs it, it’s time to find the right services for your needs. While it’s common to believe that all Red Team engagements and vendors perform the same, this is not the case. That’s why it’s important to pinpoint a vendor that checks every box.

Look no further than The Global Ghost Team™. With world-renowned expertise, tools, and a 100% success rate in social engineering penetration testing, our team of professionals has the latest certifications and resources required to protect your company from devastating attacks.

Ready to learn more about the best ethical hacking services in the world? Get started with Mitnick Security and explore our Red Team Operation Services today!

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