Red team services help you test your business’s security defenses by bringing in a team of security experts – typically ethical hackers and penetration testing experts. This team seeks out weak points in your technology and human defenses, working to find vulnerabilities they can exploit. Real-world attackers are looking for ways to get in and exploit those weaknesses, so businesses need to be aware of potential vulnerabilities and close those loopholes before cyber attackers do.
“Seeing the results that a potential attacker will see, in addition to the prior knowledge the defenders have over their own networks, will grant great visibility over the actual status of the network and its assets.” – Itay Peled, Have You Attacked Your Own Network Yet?
Red team services help your defensive team improve its capabilities more rapidly by:
- Detecting weaknesses
- Understanding and optimizing incident response processes
- Optimizing detection and monitoring systems
Experts skilled in red team cybersecurity understand that threat actors aren’t limited to remote cyber attackers; they may also be compromised collaborators, disgruntled employees (insider threats), competitors, and terrorists or cyber activists. Red team services can help protect your business in the following three ways.
1. Thinking Like an Attacker
Understanding your potential adversaries and their motives for attack helps red teams evaluate which high-value targets to focus on when they begin a red team engagement. Most businesses — and their security teams — focus primarily on training, prevention, and detection. The challenge is that attackers think differently. They’re looking for ways to leverage people, processes, or technology to gain access to the resources they want. Red team cybersecurity brings the attacker’s approach to every engagement. The best red teamers use their knowledge, skills, and imagination to carry out attacks and provide feedback to your business so you can protect your cyber assets effectively.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Attackers frequently focus on how to get the access they need to infiltrate internal networks. Once they do so, their motives dictate their next steps. Red team services help businesses by considering those motives and uncovering critical issues in their cybersecurity defenses, including:
- Determining how easy it is for a hacker to access, modify, exfiltrate, or delete privileged client data — and the methods an attacker might use to do so
- Identifying methods that could be used to disrupt business continuity or inflict financial harm
- Exposing any gaps in monitoring and detection that may allow criminals to evade discovery by the internal security team
2. Prioritizing Based on Risk Severity
All cybersecurity professionals are familiar with the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) framework, which captures the characteristics of a software vulnerability to create a numerical score that reflects how severe that vulnerability is. Those scores are then ranked qualitatively: low, medium, high, and critical. This helps organizations prioritize their processes for vulnerability management based on how critical the vulnerability is, how easy it is to exploit, and how challenging it is to patch or create compensating controls to mitigate the risk.
Risk severity is similar — it’s a way to measure the degree of impact if a given risk occurs. Red team services can evaluate the technical risks and then apply them to business risks to help the leadership team at your business understand the real-world impacts of different risks. For example, if a specific technical risk is extremely difficult to exploit and the red team has determined that the business risk is low, you can prioritize other technical risks that carry greater business risk. Red team activities, combined with technology, can provide the context needed for your business to make better business decisions and focus on the most important remediation efforts.
3. Creating a Hierarchy-Based Attack Route Map
In addition to understanding risk severity, red team services can help your business understand potential attack routes, the related severity if those routes are used, and the probability that an attacker will use a given attack route. This information helps you decide which attack routes are most important to block based on the potential business impact.
Red team cybersecurity exercises typically identify possible attack paths that would allow malicious actors to map the routes and processes that provide access to IT systems and facilities. The most common attack routes include enterprise, cloud, application, network, operational technology (OT), internet of things (IoT), and industrial IoT. A comprehensive cyber risk assessment covers your organization’s ecosystem and combines that information with context that is specific to your company.
To create a hierarchy-based attack route map, you need to gain visibility into the attack route. Red team services help you increase this visibility by:
- Considering likely threat sources, such as the internet perimeter, insider threats, and the supply chain
- Assessing your business’s infrastructure to uncover vulnerabilities, security gaps, and misconfigurations
- Referencing continuous threat intelligence and leveraging tools that attackers use to gain access to your environment
The hierarchy-based attack route map helps you prioritize potential risks and understand how attack vectors can be combined by an attacker to access privileged information or essential internal systems.
Increase Cyber Asset Protection with Red Team Services
Attackers, including red teams, must not only assess what they should attack but do so while remaining undetected by your organization’s blue team. Attacking your own network, whether through your internal teams or using an external red team, provides excellent visibility into the status of your network and its assets.
Once you have this information, you need to understand the potential business impact of a given threat being exploited, as well as the cost of mitigating that threat — or mitigating the impact of a breach. If you understand that, you can take steps to mitigate your risk while prioritizing those issues that have the greatest impact on your business. These efforts help you improve your organization’s security posture by allocating your resources and remediation efforts where they will have the greatest effect in protecting your cyber assets.
Want to learn how red team services can help your business protect its cyber assets? Request a demo to get a personal overview of how CYE can help.