The online applications and services that we use need to be safeguarded against attackers in order to protect our private and sensitive information. Small companies, as well as large-scale corporations, are inclined to think about Protection, Damage control and Reaction when they consider Information Security from a defensive point of view.
Red team and Blue team exercises take their name from their military jargon. This practice effectively helps businesses enhance their chances of securing themselves. This protects users against constantly evolving security threats by adopting an attacker’s mindset.
They refer to the external entities or uninvolved personnel brought in to test the effectiveness of a security program. Act as fictitious rivals or enemies of the regular forces, the Blue Team. A necessary condition for the success of the Red Team is mimicking an aggressive mindset. Therefore their work is to behave and use techniques of likely attackers in the most realistic way possible.
The Red Team is supposed to identify any vulnerability in the Technology, People and Physical or Facilities defensive system and help the organization improve its own defensive abilities.
They are the internal security teams, that are expected to detect, oppose and weaken both the Red Team’s and the real attackers’ efforts. The Blue Team’s work routine includes accessing Log data, Accumulating threat intelligence information, Performing traffic and Data flow analysis. We may compare their mission of finding the well-known needle in the haystack. Blue Teams are different from standard security teams because they need to be constantly vigilant against various forms of attack. They should be able to notice any steps of the kill chain as soon as possible. Basically, they need to oppose these security attacks and prevent the Red Team from reaching its goal.
Generally speaking, the Red Team is usually given a very specific task and their role is well defined. However, the Blue Team’s task is mutable, depending on the technique of the malicious user. Therefore, the former’s attacks are expected to test and enhance the latter’s skills, igniting a vicious circle. As each team has different purposes, their methods will be different, too.
The success of this exercise lies in the cooperation and mutual feedback of the two teams. Such a task undoubtedly has certain common problems such as The Red Team considers itself too elite to share information and observations. They are restricted and demoralised by the organisation which results in a reduction of their effectiveness. Also, information is lost because the two teams are not designed to interact with each other on a continuous basis.
To reduce these hurdles and maximise the effectiveness of the Red and Blue teams, a Purple Team is introduced. This team is more of a concept to negotiate and manage a shared goal, it should not be considered as a permanent additional team. They ensure that the efforts of both teams are utilised to their maximum by combining the defensive tactics and controls from the Blue Team with the threats and weaknesses exposed by the Red Team into a single narrative.
Conclusion – Red Team vs Blue and Purple Teams
Any Cyber Security specialist is aware that security is an ever-changing field. Hackers always find their way around the weaknesses exposed in online systems. Even multinational corporations such as Yahoo, Equifax and, Sony among various others have fallen victim to these malicious users.
The Red Team attack can expose these vulnerabilities before real criminals may find and exploit them. The effectiveness of Blue Team increases through this exercise because the companies can strengthen their security and analyse the unintended consequences that follow any cyber attack.