What is a red team, you ask? It is a specialized group within an examination framework that provides an opportunity for organizations to assess their network security posture and gain insight into the security threats they face. On the flip side, when a red team is called in to assess a network vulnerability and find the easiest way to gain access to a system, it is called “red-teaming.” A well-constructed red team and penetration testing will provide a clear picture of the security challenges an organization faces.
A fully integrated pen testing methodology that includes red teaming and pen testing should first define the goal of the activity. When determining whether a pen test needs to be performed or whether a red team will perform a specific assessment, a risk management team should determine what the goals are and the resources available. For companies that understand their network vulnerabilities and are willing to invest in their overall information security posture, a full assessment might be warranted. However, the most common use of a pen test is in the prevention of attack, rather than trying to directly answer a security question. Companies that perform penetration tests in this manner are better positioned to succeed at the highest levels of penetration testing.
Pen Testing Techniques The techniques that a company will use for its penetration tests will likely depend on the type of threat. Companies may choose to perform these tests using manual techniques or automated tools. In addition to the techniques used by the company, the ethical hacker community may provide additional techniques that can help in the detection of vulnerabilities.
What Is A Red Team?
Manual Pen Testing One of the biggest challenges of performing a penetration technique involves not only finding vulnerabilities, but also defending against them. A good red team will spend time locating and documenting any attacks or compromises and will implement manual controls to stop the attacks before they have the chance to affect the company’s data. However, companies should remember that even if they find a vulnerability or compromise, the hackers could still continue to escalate their attacks. This is why companies need to have an overall approach that addresses the whole spectrum from prevention all the way through response.
Automated Pen Testing Companies that rely heavily on automated scanning and vulnerability detection software often use what is known as a false positive. A false positive is when a program identifies an attack which could be real but for one of several reasons, including that it has not been patched. The scanners identify these conditions as attackers bypassing an intended protection mechanism. It is important for companies to ensure that they have these types of controls because if they do not, then attackers could bypass any additional measures put in place to stop them before making it to the company’s servers.
Disciplined Firewalls are a very important part of a company’s defenses and can also play a key role in stopping an attacker. They work by blocking incoming connections to a given program. In the case of exploits, the attacker may gain access to a vulnerable server or even to the files that store the company’s information. In either case, firewalls allow administrators to identify the activity and deny access. Companies should take the time to install and implement the best firewall options for their environment. They should also regularly test their firewalls to make sure they are effective and that they are able to stop the most common types of vulnerabilities.