As we all know today, the cybersecurity threat landscape is a dynamic one and is constantly changing. Cyber-attackers of today use a mix of both traditional and advanced hacking techniques. On top of this, they even create new variants of them each day.

A perfect example of this is phishing. Traditionally, this involved sending a malicious attachment and/or link. But now the concepts of social engineering are being incorporated into it, as it is in the case of Business Email Compromise (BEC).

The cyber-attackers of today is also much more patient when launching their threat vectors. For instance, rather than use a brute-force, all-or-nothing approach, they prefer a slow, methodical one. They are now taking their own time to select and study their targets. They are also trying to find the weakest link in the security chain of a corporation or business.

Once they find this, the cyber-attackers cautiously makes their way into this gap and slowly starts to deploy their malicious payloads. The goal now is not to just get the proverbial crown jewels all at once, but rather take them slowly, so that they can stay in an IT Infrastructure for long periods of time while going unnoticed.

Thus, organizations are having much a harder time detecting this new modus operandi of the cyberattacker. The only way to prevent this is to discover any unknown holes or weaknesses in their lines of defense. One of the surefire ways of detecting these is through penetration testing. With this, you have individuals or even teams working in harmony with each other to find them and recommending ways to make them secure.

If the penetration testing specifically a Red Team engagement is an extensive and long one, there will typically be three types of teams involved:

    1. The Red Team: This group acts like the cyber-attackers and tries to break through the defense perimeter of the business or corporation by using any means that are available to them
    2. The Blue Team: This group acts like the IT security staff of an organization and attempts to thwart of the cyberattacks that have been launched by the Red Team
    3. The Purple Team: This is a combination of both the Red and Blue Teams and works with both sides in order to yield the maximum results for the client.

At the end of any penetration testing or red teaming exercise(s), there are number of key benefits that the client will gain after making full usage of a Red Team. These are as follows:

  • Responses to Cyberattacks Can Be Validated: By being exposed to a series of cyberattacks, an organization will truly know how good their lines defenses are and if the mitigation response is enough to thwart off any future threats. If they are not adequate enough, then the IT security staff must come up with the appropriate countermeasures, which are formulated with guidance from the Red Team
  • Create a Security Risk Classification scheme: Once the business entity becomes aware of all of the vulnerabilities and weaknesses that exist in their IT and network infrastructure, then all of the related assets can be properly classified according to their level of risk exposure
  • All Security Weaknesses Will Be Exposed and Revealed: As described earlier in this article, it is only through exhaustive penetration testing by the Red Team that all security gaps and holes will be revealed, including those that were never known before to have actually existed
  • Maximize the Return on Investment (ROI) on Security Technologies: One of the biggest issues that corporations and businesses face today is discovering if the money that is being spent on security technologies is also being used wisely. For example, the error in thinking is that by simply implementing all of the latest and most sophisticated security technologies, the lines of defenses will be rock-solid. But this only increases the attack surface for the cyberattacker. After having the exercise(s) conducted by the Red Team, the IT security staff as well as the “C-Suite” will then have a much better idea if they are getting a positive ROI on their current security technology investments. If not, then the appropriate adjustments will have to be made to ensure that critical financial resources are being used wisely