When talking about cybersecurity, we often hear terms like “Red Team” and “Blue Team”. But do you really understand what “red team” and “blue team” are, and what are their different roles in an information security system?

Red Team vs Blue Team

Originating in the military environment, these terms are used to describe groups of people who can use their skills to simulate attacks that “enemies” can use (Red Team) and other groups of people who can use their skills for defense (Blue Team). The same goes for network security.

With new regulations, including the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the risk of financial penalties, organizations have been rushing to strengthen their security infrastructure in the face of a high risk of data leakage.

We’ve talked about white hat hackers and their role in Cybersecurity, and today we’re going to talk about Red Team and Blue team, their importance, and why companies should leverage the capabilities of these seasoned professionals.

What is the Red Team?

Red Team’s work focuses on penetration testing of systems with different levels of software security. They detect, prevent, and remove security vulnerabilities.

Red Team simulates real attacks that can target a company or an organization, and they simulate all the necessary steps that an attacker can use. By posing as an attacker, they show organizations vulnerabilities or “backdoors” that can be exploited to threaten an organization’s cybersecurity.

Companies often outsource the Red Team to test their systems. This team should be knowledgeable about exploiting vulnerabilities, but not about the defenses built into the organization’s infrastructure.

CyStack provides an international standard security testing service, comprehensive assessment of security risks threatening businesses.

The tactics Red Team uses can vary from the usual phishing targeting employees and social engineering attacks to posing as an employee to gain admin access. To be truly effective, the Red team must know the tactics, techniques, and processes that an attacker can use. The Red Team offers essential advantages, including a better understanding of the risks of data abuse and preventing future leaks. By describing cyberattacks and cyber security threats, companies will ensure that security is up to standard with the right defenses.

What is the Blue Team?

Similar to Red Team, Blue Team assesses network security and identifies vulnerabilities if any. The difference is that Blue Team will find a way to defend, change and regroup defense mechanisms for better incident handling while Red Team will play as an attacker using tactics.

Like the Red Team, the Blue Team needs to know the same types of harmful tactics, techniques, and processes to develop a corresponding response strategy. Blue Team’s activities are not limited to just attacking. They are constantly engaged in consolidating the entire digital security infrastructure, using software like the Intrusion Detection System (IDS) to get real-time analysis of anomalous and suspicious activity.

Some of the steps that Blue Team often uses are:

  • Security checks, such as DNS checks
  • Memory and log analysis
  • PCAP
  • Risk analysis
  • Digital Footprint Analysis
  • Reverse engineering
  • DDoS testing
  • Detecting risky situations

So does your company need a Red Team or Blue Team?

There really is no Red Team without Blue Team, and vice versa.

The best answer is BOTH.

Red Team uses offensive tactics to test Blue Team’s defensive preparations and expectations. Sometimes the Red Team can find vulnerabilities that the Blue Team completely missed, and it is the responsibility of the Red Team to show how those vulnerabilities can be improved. The partnership between Red Team and Blue Team is paramount to fighting cybercrime and improving cybersecurity.

There is no such thing as “Red Team is better than Blue Team”, just choosing or investing in one side will not benefit at all. It is important to remember that the goal of both sides is to prevent cybercrime.

One idea for the purpose of reconciliation between the Red Team and the Blue Team is the creation of the Purple Team. This is a concept that is not used to describe a new team, but rather a combination of both Red Team and Blue Team. This will stimulate both sides to work together.

Companies need mutual cooperation to get a comprehensive assessment from both sides, with logs for each test they perform and records of relevant characteristics. The Red Team will provide information about the tasks they performed while “attacking”, while the Blue Team will provide documentation of the actions they used to fill and fix the security holes and problems they found.

Both the Red Team and Blue Team are important. Without security assessment, penetration testing, and continuous security infrastructure development on both sides, companies, and organizations would not be able to realize how secure they are. They will not be aware of data leaks and clearly, their security solutions are not enough.

Top 5 skills of Red Team and Blue Team

Red Team and Blue Team have different properties and use different techniques. This will give you a better idea of ​​the roles and purposes of the two parties. You’ll also understand better if your skills fit the Cybersecurity job description, and help you choose the right path.

Skills for Red Team

Thinking beyond limits

The main feature of Red Team is the ability to think outside the box; constantly looking for new tools and techniques to bypass the security of the company to be protected. As a Red Team member, you also need to have some degree of rebellion, as that is rouge – you are going against the rules and the law while following the tricks of the white hat hacker and showing everyone the flaws in their system. Not everyone likes this.

Have a deep understanding of systems

An in-depth understanding of computer systems, protocols, libraries, and methodologies will give you a clear path to success.

Having an understanding of every system and keeping up with technology trends is important to the Red Team. Knowledge of servers and databases will give you more options in finding vulnerabilities.

Software Development

The benefits of knowing how to develop your own tools are very valuable. To be able to write software requires constant practice and learning, to be able to help a Red Team implement the best attack strategy.

Penetration testing

This is a simulation of an attack on computer systems and networks to assess security. This will identify vulnerabilities and any potential threats for a comprehensive risk assessment. This is an integral part of the Red Team and part of their “standard” processes. It is also used frequently by white hat hackers. Even Red Team can follow a lot of pen-test tools that white hat hackers use.

Social engineering attack

When performing a security assessment of any organization, it is also quite important to get people to take certain actions that could lead to the leak of sensitive data, as human error is one of the most common reasons for data leaks.

Skills for Blue Team

You will have to fix security holes that most people don’t even know about.

Have organizational ability and attention to detail

A person who tends to “do it right” with the methods used and believes will be better suited for a Blue Team. Special attention to detail is essential to avoid ignoring vulnerabilities in a company’s security infrastructure.

Analyze network security and classify threats.

When assessing security for an organization or a company, you need to create a profile of risks and threats. A good profile will contain all potential data including real attackers and risk situations, preparing for any future attacks by handling those weak links. Take advantage of OSINT and any publicly available data sources, and take a look at the OSINT tools that can help you collect data about your goals.

Strengthening skills

To truly prepare for any attack or leak, fortification skills with every system must be in place, to reduce the attack surfaces that hackers can use. DNS consolidation is very important, as it is the most overlooked part of consolidation policies. You can follow our tips on preventing DNS attacks to further reduce the attack surface.

Understanding of detection systems

Become familiar with software applications that enable network monitoring for any unusual or malicious activity. Monitoring network traffic, packet filtering, existing firewalls and more will give you a better understanding of the activities in the company system.

SIEM – Security Information and Event Management

SIEM is software that allows real-time analysis of security events. It will collect data from an external stream and is capable of performing data analysis based on specific metrics.

Conclusion

When talking about Red Team and Blue Team, many people often lean towards one of the two, but the truth is that a complete and effective security system can only exist when the two parties cooperate with each other. Only by “comprehensive attack and defense” can businesses be strong enough to fight the cybercrime forces on the internet.