Red teaming could be traced back to the early 1800s and the invention of the modern wargame, known as "Kriegsspiel." It was a redesigned elaborating simulation of war to train officers, test and try different strategies and tactics, and study possible varied outcomes. In the early 1900s, Germany employed and improved wargaming and used it during the war, allowing it to be observed the benefit of its other armies and becoming part of most armies planning toolkits.
Applying Kriegsspiel simulation in today's cyber landscape to help with securing and safeguarding the organizations against cybercriminals called red teaming, which is proven to be beneficial in:
- Organizational defense assessment
- Identifying flaws within security posture
- Testing incident response readiness and efficiency in case of an incident
- Identifying vulnerabilities in the systems and addressing relevant risks and available mitigations
Red team members' job is to compromise the target's security, infiltrate the system, avoid detection during penetration, exploit bugs within the infrastructure, and present a documented and detailed assessment of the security posture to the organization or its blue team.
When it comes to addressing a more proactive security approach, a few terms come up and sometimes might be a source of confusion like Red Teaming, Ethical Hacking, and Penetration Testing. As we discussed, Red Teaming is a process of investigating and detecting vulnerabilities and security weaknesses within the system by employing the hackers or attackers' mentality and approach. With this in mind, and since read teams are part of a corporate body, then the process could also be called "Ethical Hacking."
Penetration Testing is also a process of finding flaws and weaknesses in the defense mechanism and security capabilities before an adversary exploits them; however, compared with Red Teaming, pen-testing is a shorter process, with more pre-defined areas to work on, mostly done after deployments and more systematic approach.