5 Best Practices for Red Team Exercise

Posted by alvina on October 26th, 2019

It is common practice for a company that is looking to crash-proof a car to first test it out by crashing it in a crash test. Why? So that they will be able to determine the weak points that lead to complete damage and so that they can formulate an anti-crash strategy that will protect the car and mainly the occupants in it. It is the same with Cyber security, networking infrastructure and other related technological applications.

A Red Team exercise is one of the most effective ways to determine the weaknesses of your technological infrastructure and your ability to prevent such weaknesses from allowing attacks on the infrastructure - which most of the time is critical to the smooth operation of the organization and the clients depending on it. By the red team penetration testing your application and infrastructure, you will be able to find out the vulnerabilities and provide fixes for them.

Let us first understand the roles of the blue team vs red team. As in a military operation, the red team will assume the role of the attacking party whilst the blue team assumes the role of the defense, shielding their positions, and even in the field of cyber security, their roles are the same - except it doesn’t happen on a physical battleground but in a virtual one.

Let us look at five best practices that can help you get the best out of a red team exercise.

Give a good roadmap to the team

The team needs to know the entire scope of the testing before they begin. If they understand the purpose of the application as well as the gains to be made from attacking it, they will be able to focus properly and provide a good outcome to the test. Partial preparation is not going to get the best results.

Have a plan of attack

Once the initial roadmap has been decided, it is time for the red team to get to work. They must develop a plan of attack detailing the steps and approaches they are going to try, to break the defenses of a particular application or infrastructure. Having goals and measurable outcomes will give some good data for the blue teams who are responsible for planning the defense of the same infrastructure.

Follow up

Once the attacks are done, or once a particular step in the attack is completed per the plan, the team must introspect and follow up on the steps taken and the outcome achieved. This is a great way for the team to start sharing knowledge and learning as they go along. This will save a lot of time on rework later.

Get outside the box and think

The team needs to adopt the mindset of a real hacker. They might know the rules and have a good plan of action, but some situations call for a good bit of ingenuity and skill to tackle, and this is the approach that needs to be adopted by the team.

Don’t ever stop learning

Every attack should be treated as a learning opportunity and must be optimally utilized by the team. Such learning will help the red team to always be one step ahead of real attackers.

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