When talking about cybersecurity, the terms ‘red team’ and ‘blue team’ tend to surface. These terms are used to describe teams that use their skills to imitate the techniques that hackers might use (red) and other teams that use their skills to defend (blue). Today, I’m going to research and try and differentiate these teams in a way that is understandable for me. Wish me luck.
What is a Red Team?
Red teams are focused on offensive manoeuvres on different systems and their security programs. They are there to detect, prevent and eliminate vulnerabilities with their ethical hacking without inflicting any real damage on the owner(s) of the system.. A red team imitates real-world attacks that can hit a company and they perform all the necessary steps that attackers would realistically use. By assuming the role of an attacker, they show companies what could be used as back doors or exploitable vulnerabilities that pose a threat to their cyber-security. A common practice is to hire someone outside the organisation for red teaming — someone equipped with the knowledge to exploit the security vulnerabilities, but unaware of the defences built into the organisation’s infrastructure.
The techniques a red team uses vary from standard phishing attempts aimed at employees and social engineering to impersonating employees with the goal of obtaining administrator access. To be truly effective, red teams need to know all the tactics, techniques and procedures used by real hackers. Red teams offer critical benefits, including a better understanding of possible data loss and the prevention of future breaches. By simulating cyber attacks and network security threats, companies make sure their security is up to par with proper defences in place.
What is a Blue Team?
Blue team is similar to the red team in that it also assesses network security and identifies any possible vulnerabilities. What makes blue team different is that red team imitates an attacker and attacks with realistic tactics and techniques whereas the blue team is there to find ways to defend, change and re-group defence mechanisms to make incident response stronger.
Like the red team, the blue team needs to be aware of the same malicious tactics, techniques and procedures in order to build strategies around them. Blue team activity isn’t exclusive to attacks; they’re continuously involved to strengthen the entire digital security infrastructure, using software like an IDS (intrusion detection system) to provide them with an ongoing analysis of suspicious activity.
You would think that when it comes to the red or blue team, that you’d favour one over the other but the truth is that both are needed to create a good line of defence. The entire cybersecurity industry needs to consider engaging both teams further. Some might call it the purple team but, no matter what you call it, the unity of the red and blue teams is the only road to thorough cybersecurity.