Sep 30, 2022

What is Red team and Blue team in cybersecurity? Part 2

 Continuation of part 1.

Colors associated with security functions. The Yellow team is the builder while the Red team is the attacker. The Blue team is the defender. The Green team is the learner while the Purple team is the learner from the attacker. The Orange team is the learner from the defender Common problems with Red and Blue team interactions. Ideally, red and blue teams work together in harmony, like two hands that clap together.

In their tactics and behaviors, Red and Blue teams are as opposite as Yin and Yang or Attack and Defense, but these differences are precisely what make them a healthy and effective team. Although the Red and Blue Teams attack and defend, they share the same primary objective: improving the security posture of the organization.

The following are some common problems with Red and Blue team cooperation: The Red Team, feeling too exclusive to communicate with the Blue Team, becomes inept in their operations, leading to a decrease in efficacy. In effect, it appears that the Red and Blue Teams are intended never to collaborate and therefore any knowledge acquired by either party is lost. Information Security management does not comprehend these two divisions as colleagues on a shared mission in terms of shared information, workplace supervision or quantifiable metrics. Organizations believing that the Purple Team is their salvation from this predicament may be wrong; the Purple function stands for cooperation and mutual benefit towards a unified end instead of forming a lasting additional team.

You might want to engage a third party to analyze how your Red and Blue teams work together and suggest solutions. Someone could monitor both teams in real-time in an exercise called the Purple Team. Maybe there will be a Purple Team meeting where the two teams will bond, share stories, and discuss various attacks and defenses. Getting the Red and Blue teams to agree on their shared goal of organizational improvement is the unifying theme.

Purple Team can act as a marriage counselor, but under no circumstances should you determine that mediation is the new, permanent way for the husband and wife to communicate. In a nutshell, Red Teams simulate adversaries to identify security weaknesses in their organizations, while Blue Teams endeavor to protect against key vulnerabilities and improve the overall security posture. When properly functioning, there should be a steady flow of information between the two teams which Purple Teams can facilitate. However, relying on an extra entity to do that should not be required; rather, it needs to be a natural part of the Red and Blue Team's relationship. For greater efficacy, other functions such as Green and Orange may be employed to bolster security across the organization by spreading attack and defense perspectives.    

Tiger Teams, Red Teams, and Purple Teams all refer to security operation roles, however their definitions are tuned towards information security. The Tiger Team definition originates from a 1964 paper, describing it as an "elite group of people designed to solve a particular technical challenge". Separation from the organization being tested is important for a Red Team in order to emulate attackers successfully. Organizations that bring the Red Team inside may find them becoming constrained and less effective over time due to culture adaptation issues. The Purple Team's purpose is often to prepare management for attacker emulation and maintain established standards; internal Red Teams can be effective but need continual support and scope privileges to remain successful. Examples such as professional footballers who only kick instead of passing demonstrate how collaboration is essential for an effective team - too often internal Red Teams are thought 'amazing' when consultants come in with great findings, only later to be disillusioned with the ineffectiveness of their own. April Wright's BlackHat presentation and Louis Cremen's post titled Introducing the Infosec Color Wheel provide insightful knowledge about these teams.

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