Boosting Red and Blue Team Effectiveness with Cyber Attack Simulation
Two Sides, But the Same Team
Blue team exercises test the defending team's playbooks, workflows, defense controls and communication processes.
Red team exercises aim to challenge the organization’s security controls by assuming an adversarial role and simulating a cyber attack from a threat actor’s point of view. The result of such activity is the identification of gaps and other vulnerabilities that could be exploited or were exploited during the exercise.
Although "adversaries" in teaming exercises, both are really on the same team — dedicated to defending the organization against real-world, malicious threats. Breach and attack simulation (BAS) can turbocharge blue and red team effectiveness, as well as extend both teams' reach, save time, and ensure that the organization is relying on consistent, accurate information about its defenses.
Enhanced Blue Teaming
Traditionally blue teams develop and perform homegrown cyber attack simulations to test its security posture against specific threats. After implementing new technology, deploying a specific security policy, or updating the rule engine of a security control, the team would simulate specific attacks to ensure that they are blocked or detected and mitigated. However, as attack techniques become more sophisticated, operate across multiple vectors, and increase in volume, building simulations in-house becomes more challenging. The development of each attack simulation is resource intensive, especially as they become more complex.
The security team turning to BAS, immediately increase their security control validation effectiveness. They no longer have to build or prepare manual frameworks to execute tests. They use BAS to augment periodic manual pen testing, red team exercises, and vulnerability scans — running frequent tests in response to emerging threats in the wild or infrastructure configuration changes. Security control validation with BAS quickly shows them if defense controls identified the attack simulations and generated appropriate events and alerts in the SIEM.
The team can also run covert exercises simulating a full-blown advanced persistent threat (APT) across the kill chain. BAS results are instantly available in a single-pane-of-glass view, with a detailed breakdown of successful methods, progression of attack events, attack techniques, correlation with the MITREATT&CK framework, and specific mitigation steps that can be taken to reduce the attack surface and optimize security controls. Everything is documented in the dashboard for future analysis and reference.
With BAS, security teams also gain the visibility needed to identify malware artifacts in security controls such as the SIEM, to ensure security controls are working as expected. They can search simulation results for unique strings appearing in the simulated malware filenames, and verify that these artifacts appear in the relevant security control’s alerts and events, for example, EDR, SIEM, etc.
Enhanced Red Teaming
With BAS, red teams can augment their capabilities to achieve comprehensive testing. They can test the IOCs and techniques deployed by the latest immediate threats seen in the wild, test across attack vectors, and challenge their security controls against the entire cyber kill chain.
BAS enables red teams to methodically test against all attack types— ransomware, worms, Trojans, C&C payloads, phishing, and others— using a variety of precompiled attack simulation scenarios and simulated payloads, as well as over 150 MITREATT&CK methods and techniques. They also can quickly and easily build their own attack simulation templates based on such precompiled attack scenarios, and MITREATT&CK techniques.
Identifying nation-state, geopolitical or financially-motivated threat actors, is becoming increasingly critical for many organizations. The BAS platform identifies APT groups with their signature APT methodologies and techniques, enabling red teams to simulate targeted attacks relevant to their industry and geography.
”Adversaries" Working Together
Using BAS, both blue and red teams can exponentially enhance their exercises and objectively assess performance of current controls supported by exposure metrics. Knowing where the organization’s exposure is highest enables security teams to prioritize remediation and maximize the effectiveness of all security controls integrated with their SIEM.
Blue teams gain immediate insight into security control effectiveness, together with helpful guidance on addressing new or complex threats. Red teams can expand the frequency, volume, breadth and depth of their testing exercises to obtain 360° assurance that defenses either can not be compromised or detected and remediated accurately. The winner? It's the organization that now can assure security control effectiveness and strengthen its security posture around the clock with consistent, accurate information about its defenses.