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Red Teaming Methodology, Benefits and How It Works?

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  • Last Updated : 08 Jun, 2022

You’ve probably heard of red teaming, but aren’t sure what it means. This is a way of trying to breach the security of your system. A group of pen testers from outside your company can be hired to form the red team. The basic objective of red teaming is to assess the harmful actor authentically and try to break into the system.

Red teaming is the process of attempting to hack to test the security of your system. A red team can be an externally outsourced group of pen testers or a team inside your own company, but their goal is, in any case, the same: to mimic a truly hostile actor and try to get into their system.

The goal of red teaming is to hide cognitive errors such as groupthink and confirmation bias, which can inhibit an organization’s or an individual’s ability to make decisions. If the firm already has a blue team, the red team is not needed as much. This is a highly deliberate decision that allows you to compare the active and passive systems of any agency.

The Red Team is a group of highly skilled pentesters called upon by an organization to test its defence and improve its effectiveness. Basically, it is the way of using strategies, systems, and methodologies to simulate real-world scenarios so that an organization’s security can be designed and measured. The purpose of the Red Team is to simulate real-world attacks to measure the security of the organization and its incident response team. The Red Team follows the Roles of Engagement (ROE).

The red team is based on the idea that you won’t know how secure your systems are until they have been attacked. And, rather than taking on the threats associated with a true malicious attack, it’s safer to imitate someone with the help of a “red team.”

What are the most typical strategies used by Red Teams?

The primary goal of the Red Team is to use a specific penetration test to identify a threat to your company. They are able to focus on only one element or limited possibilities. Some popular red team strategies will be discussed here:

  • Social engineering via email and phone: When you do some study on the company, time phishing emails are extremely convincing. Such low-hanging fruit can be used to create a holistic approach that results in achieving a goal. Using email phishing, phone and text message pretexting, and physical and onsite pretexting, researchers are evaluating people’s vulnerability to deceptive persuasion and manipulation.
  • Network Service Exploitation: This can take advantage of an unprivileged or misconfigured network to allow an attacker access to an inaccessible network containing sensitive data. Many times, if the attacker needs access at that time, he will constantly leave the backdoor for later use. It aims to detect network and system vulnerabilities such as misconfiguration, wireless network vulnerabilities, rogue services, and other issues.
  • Physically exploiting the facility: Real-world exploits are used to determine the strength and efficacy of physical security measures. Everyone has a natural desire to avoid conflict. They may easily follow someone through the door to obtain entry to a protected institution. Users have access to the last door they opened.
  • Application layer exploitation: When an attacker sees the network perimeter of a company, they immediately think about the web application. You can use this page to exploit web application vulnerabilities, which they can then use to carry out a more sophisticated attack. Cross-site request forgery, injection vulnerabilities, weak session management, and other application-layer errors will be investigated.

Benefits of Red Teaming:

The Red Teaming has many advantages, but they all operate on a wider scale, thus being a major factor. It gives you complete information about your company’s cybersecurity. The following are some of their advantages:

  • Cyber attack responses can be verified: an organization will know how strong their line of defense is and if subjected to a series of cyberattacks after being subjected to a mitigation response to prevent any future attacks. Enough. If they are insufficient, the IT security team must prepare appropriate countermeasures, which are created with the assistance of the Red Team.
  • Create a security risk classification plan: Once a corporate organization is aware of all the vulnerabilities and vulnerabilities in its IT and network infrastructure, all connected assets can be correctly classified based on their risk exposure level.
  • Assess readiness to defend against genuine cyber-attacks
  • Test the effectiveness of security technology, people, and processes
  • Identify and classify a wide range of security risks
  • Improve the effectiveness of detection and response procedures
  • Uncover flaws missed by other types of testing
  • Address risks and mitigate vulnerabilities

Red teaming methodology

Red teaming is a very systematic and meticulous process, in order to extract all the necessary information. Before the simulation, however, an evaluation must be carried out to guarantee the scalability and control of the process. This assessment should identify entry points and vulnerabilities that can be exploited using the perspectives and motives of real cybercriminals.

To comprehensively assess an organization’s detection and response capabilities, red teams typically adopt an intelligence-driven, black-box technique. This strategy will almost certainly include the following:

Reconnaissance: Any red teaming operation requires high-quality intelligence. Ethical hackers obtain information using a range of open-source intelligence tools, tactics, and resources to successfully infiltrate the target organization. This may include information about workers, infrastructure, and the technology in use.

Weaponization & Staging: The next stage of engagement is staging, which involves gathering, configuring, and obfuscating the resources needed to execute the attack once vulnerabilities are detected and an attack plan is developed. Setting up servers for command and control (C2) and social engineering activities, as well as developing harmful code and bespoke malware, are examples of this.

Attack Delivery: Compromise and getting a foothold in the target network is the first steps in red teaming. Ethical hackers may try to exploit identified vulnerabilities, use brute force to break weak employee passwords, and generate phony email messages to start phishing attacks and deliver harmful payloads such as malware in the course of achieving their goal.

Internal Compromise: After gaining a foothold on the target network, the following phase focuses on meeting the agreed-upon goal(s) of Red Team participation. Lateral network movement, privilege escalation, physical breach, command and control activity, and data exfiltration are all possible activities at this level.

Analysis and Reporting: The red teaming engagement is followed by a comprehensive client report to help technical and non-technical personnel understand the success of the exercise, including an overview of the vulnerabilities discovered, the attack vectors used, and any risks identified. Recommendations to eliminate and reduce them are included.

Red Team Engagement:

Red Team Engagement is a great way to showcase the real-world threat presented by APT (Advanced Persistent Threat). Appraisers are asked to compromise predetermined assets, or “flags”, by employing techniques that a bad actor might use in an actual attack. These in-depth, sophisticated security assessments are best suited for businesses that want to improve their security operations.

Engagement planning starts when the customer first contacts you and doesn’t really take off until the day of execution. Teamwork objectives are determined through engagement. The following items are included in the engagement planning process:

  • Engagement guidelines
  • Risk management
  • Threat Preparation
  • Process of Deconfliction
  • Funding and Costs

How Does A Red Team Work?

You might be shocked to learn that red teams spend more time preparing attacks than actually executing them. Red teams use a variety of techniques to gain access to the network.

For example, social engineering attacks rely on reconnaissance and investigations to provide an effort analogous to spear-phishing. Similarly, packet sniffers and protocol analyzers are used to scan the network and obtain as much information as possible about the system before performing penetration tests.

After the objective, the Red Team will conduct reconnaissance. As a consequence, the target system, which includes network service, employee portal, and online apps, will be mapped.


Red teaming is one of the most effective cybersecurity strategies to identify and address vulnerabilities in your security infrastructure. Using this approach, whether it is traditional red teaming or continuous automated red teaming, can leave your data vulnerable to breaches or intrusions. Red teaming is a necessity for organizations in high-security areas to establish a solid security infrastructure.

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