Red Team ExerciseWhat is a Red Team exercise?
Red Team refers to a team of professional hackers that attempts to access a system by simulating a cyberattack. During a Red Team exercise, each team member plays a specific role while the team, as a whole, uses offensive strategies, a variety of techniques, and tools in order to weaken a system.
Red Team (the concept)
In cybersecurity, a Red Team’s knowledge, skills, and abilities go beyond those of a pentester whose role is to search, find, and report system vulnerabilities. A Red Team also simulates a real attack by assuming an adversarial role.
Divide and conquer
Red Team members possess different hacking skills in order to simulate a real attack. This attack may be structured and divided, with the attackers focusing on specific activities to achieve success. Therefore, in a Red Team, you will find team members with the following skills:
Figure 1. Possible roles in a Red Team via medium.com.
Regarding the information above, we spoke with Andres
Roldan. When we asked him about the Red
Team exercise done by
Fluid Attacks, he said:
- "First, the Red Team proposes hacking objectives. For example: escalate privileges, modify system files or install a backdoor to do it. We use the kill chain strategy."
Take a look at this video from
Fox9 about a Red Team exercise.
What is Kill Chain?
Kill Chain is a military term to describe the steps in launching an
attack. One of its models is the
F2T2EA and includes the following
Find: Identify a target using surveillance, reconnaissance data or intelligence gathering.
Fix: Fix the target’s location. Obtain specific coordinates for the target either from existing data or by collecting additional data.
Track: Monitor the target’s movement. Keep track of the target until either a decision is made not to engage the target or the target is successfully engaged.
Target: Select an appropriate weapon or asset to use on the target to create desired effects. Apply command and control capabilities to assess the value of the target and the availability of appropriate weapons to engage it.
Engage: Apply the weapon to the target.
Assess: Evaluate the effects of the attack, including any intelligence gathered at the location.
F2T2EA - The Kill Chain via Biz -n- Seen
Cyber Kill Chain
This term was adopted by Lockheed Martin and its incident team to prevent cyberattacks. Cyber Kill Chain has the following phases:
Reconnaissance: Learning about the target using a variety of different techniques.
Weaponization: Combining your vector of attack with a malicious payload.
Delivery: Transmitting the payload via a communications vector.
Exploitation: Taking advantage of a software or human weakness in order to get your payload to run.
Installation: The payload establishes the persistence of an individual host.
Command & Control (C2): The malware calls home, providing attacker control.
Actions on objectives: The bad actor steals or does whatever he was planning on doing.
Figure 3. Cyber Kill Chain Phases via Lockheed Martin.
Cyber Kill Chain 3.0
This is an update of the cyber kill chain for better defense by Corey Nachreiner, Watchguard Chief Technology Officer.
Cyber Kill Chain 3.0 has the following phases:
Command & Control - Lateral Movement & Pivoting
As you can see, version 3.0 has minor changes designed for better security defense, but those are not unique strategies. As mentioned in Help Net Security:
- "Security professionals have differing opinions on the effectiveness
of the kill chain as a defense model. Some love it, pointing out how
several successful infosec teams use it, while others think it’s
lacking crucial details, and only covers a certain type of attacks.
I think there is truth to both views, so I’d like to propose three
simple steps to make the kill chain even better, let’s call it
Kill Chain 3.0."
Therefore, Kill Chain is not the only option. You can also adapt your attack strategy.
Then, what are the benefits on the client side? Simply put, Red Team’s cyberattack simulations expose the weaknesses within a client’s systems or applications so that a client can better protect its information from a real attack scenario.
The client can then fix, build, design, and maximize its cybersecurity; this is why the Blue Team exists. Like Red Team, Blue Team also has its defensive strategies, but we will save that discussion for a future post.
a Red Team member must have an offensive mindset. For this reason,
"CTFs, wargames, or pen testing labs are a great way to exercise
offensive mindset". At
Fluid Attacks, every new member
trains in hacking and programming challenges to check and assess their
level of offensive mindset.