Due to the rise of cybercrime in recent years, many companies wish to test their security capabilities and detect possible vulnerabilities. In order to achieve this, they use various cyber-security services, such as Vulnerability Assessment, Penetration Testing, and Red Teaming. In this article, we will talk about Red Teaming, the most organized way to identify vulnerabilities and weak points.

Red Team, Blue Team, and Penetration Testing

Red Teaming is a security assessment designed to test an organization’s incident response capabilities. This practice is performed by a trusted team, which is either part of the organization or a third-party ethical hacking group. This team’s purpose is to launch an attack to an organization’s systems aiming to access sensitive data, disrupt a system or plant malware. In other words, they use tactics that may be possibly used by malicious actors.

On the other side of this assessment is the Blue Team. The Blue Team is comprised of operation teams, security analysts and software developers that are responsible for the systems that are under attack. Their job is to stop the Red Team operation.

This operation is usually performed using the black box approach. The Red Team knows only what an attacker would know, while the Blue Team is not informed of the attack. The assessment ends either when the Red Team reaches their goal or when the Blue Team stops the Red Team. At the end of Red Teaming, the group reports their activities and their findings to the organization.

Regarding the differences between Red Teaming and Penetration Testing, you can find a more detailed article here. In this paragraph we will only note that the key differences include the fact that the employees know about the Pentest, but they don’t know about Red Teaming. Furthermore, Red Teaming is designed to resemble an actual hacking attack. Consequently, the Red Team doesn’t just test the organization’s software. It may use social engineering to pursue reach their goal and evades detection.

Red Teaming Targets and the Benefits of the Assessment

The scope of a Red Teaming operation depends on what an organization wishes to test. Thus, possible targets of a Red Team in an organization include:

  • Network: Gaining access via open ports, insecure user accounts or compromised devices.
  • Software: Using software’s vulnerabilities and performing attacks, such as SQL injection.
  • Physical Security: Using tools, such as RFID cloners to forge security passes or picking locks to access a server room.
  • Employees: Using phishing scams to gain sensitive information.

  After the operation is over, the hacking group provides a list with their findings. These findings can help an organization discover vulnerabilities to their systems that it wasn’t aware of. Hence, the organization can strengthen its security an improve their capabilities of detecting a threat. The results of a Red Teaming operation eliminate the potential false security culture a company might have. Finally, Red Teaming provides helpful metrics for the security team and helps it make difficult decisions.

Red Teaming Process

Step 1: The Reconnaissance Phase. The Red Team gathers information about their target, using every mean in their disposal. Those include social media, phishing scams, web and press content and satellite images.

Step 2: The Planning Phase. The team plans their attack methods and tactics and finds ways to access the organization’s systems.

Step 3: The Attack Phase. The Red Team puts its plan into action and attacks the company software and/or infrastructure. This phase could last from a few hours to days or weeks.

Step 4: The Reveal. The group either achieves its goal or is stopped by the Blue Team. Either way, this is when the ethical hackers reveal themselves, explain the operation and end the attack phase of the assessment.

Step 5: The Report. The Red Teaming assessment is over, and the hacking group provides the organization with their findings. The report includes complete details of the attack, the tactics that were used and information about which tactics were stopped and what systems were breached.


In this article we talked about Red Teaming. We explained what exactly this type of security assessment is, what are its benefits and how does the process work. We explained its importance and what makes it different from Penetration Testing.

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