Most companies have invested in secure IT infrastructure, but do you know how well it works under pressure? Are your policies and procedures ready for real-world cyber threats? You’ll want to find out, sooner rather than later. Testing your cyber resilience with a Red Team exercise will identify the weaknesses in your IT defense and provide a playbook to rectify them going forward.
But what exactly is a Red Team exercise, and why does your organization require one? These are questions we are often asked by decision-makers at companies, usually by people not directly involved in IT. Here we will explain the concept of red teaming – a type of "ethical hacking." The goal is to identify and rectify your organization's vulnerabilities to cyber attacks while also assessing your capabilities to detect and respond to attacks.
What Is a Red Team and Why Does Your Security Team Need It?
A Red Team exercise involves an expert team posing as real attackers performing a simulated attack to test how well your organization would withstand an actual attack. A Red Team exercise exposes vulnerabilities associated with applications, infrastructure, physical locations, and people.
Through a Red Team exercise, it's possible for your organization to:
- Assess whether attackers can breach the organization using attack vectors such as internet exposure, phishing, social engineering, wireless infrastructure, and physical vulnerability.
- Determine whether attackers can reach pre-defined "High-Value Targets" once they gain initial access.
- Measure whether the organization detects the different stages of the attacks.
- Assess the resilience of the High-Value Targets in the context of a realistic attack.
- Identify dependencies and weak points in the IT environment.
- Measure the business risks in the event of a real cyber attack.
- Obtain recommendations based on risk and effectiveness.
Measure Improvements Over Time
The various milestones of a Red Team exercise are measured so they can be compared over time. Conducting a Red Team exercise at a later point in time will allow you to compare the results and measure improvements in the organization's cybersecurity posture.
The following items are measured, for each milestone:
- The threat actor sophistication level (based on Structured Threat Information Expression); in other words: how difficult it was to reach the milestone.
- Time to compromise: how much time it took to reach the milestone.
- Time to detection: in the event of the organization detecting the activity, how long it took to detect.
A Methodology Based on Threat Intelligence
To determine what attack scenarios are simulated in a Red Team exercise, we leverage Truesec threat intelligence capabilities to define scenarios, techniques, and procedures that reflect the current real-world cyber threats we encounter. This allows us to define realistic threat scenarios and, therefore, to measure your organization's cyber resilience against the most likely attacks.
Identify the Weakest Links in Your Exposure
Before the simulated attacks commence, the Red Team begins by learning as much as possible about the target organization, gathering information to identify systems and applications exposed to the internet, people within the organization, physical locations, etc.
After a thorough risk assessment, we launch attacks against the identified systems, conduct phishing and social engineering attacks, and perform physical intrusions to obtain access to internal networks. Testing the different attack vectors allows us to determine the weakest links and, therefore, define effective mitigations to strengthen your ability to resist a cyber attack.
Get the Most Out of a Red Team Exercise
An effective Red Team exercise doesn’t end with the attack simulation phase. On the contrary – the real legwork begins after we hand you the report and present our findings.
By describing the steps performed during the simulated attack in detail, we identify the activities that were not detected or blocked. As a result, your security team can define improvements to ensure that similar attacks will not be successful in the future.
We work closely with your security team to determine appropriate actions such as configuration changes, fine-tuning of security solutions, and hardening activities to increase the resilience against cyber attacks.