Red Teams

Adversary testing simulates an attack, testing your team’s capacity to detect, respond to an attack and to learn and improve.

You’ll never know your organisation’s true capacity to respond to an event until it's put to the test through Red Team simulated attack scenarios.

How we can assist:

What is a cybersecurity Red Team?

Why does red teaming matter to your organisation?

How can Tesserent help?

What is a cybersecurity Red Team?

Red teaming in New Zealand is a targeted security activity that challenges your organisation’s security plans, policies, systems and assumptions. A red team is a group of people engaged to attack your systems in order to look for weaknesses and attempt to breach your information security controls. Organisations can use that information to learn about vulnerabilities in order to strengthen their security posture.

The presence and activity of the red teams are usually kept a closely guarded secret in order to test the organisation's ability to successfully detect and repel an attack. The red team operates using the same mindset and objectives as cybercriminals although they stop short of causing any actual damage to systems or accessing potentially confidential data. The objective is to find vulnerabilities but not to exploit them, leading to potential breaches of privacy and other obligations.

Typically, red teaming starts with a specific objective. The red team then carries out reconnaissance and starts probing for vulnerabilities. Once they find an entry point to the organisation's information assets, they exploit that in order to prove there is a vulnerability, reporting back so that appropriate mitigation can be put in place to minimise the risk of a real attack.

Why does red teaming matter to your organisation?

All New Zealand organisations hold critical information assets. Protecting those assets is a matter of significant reputational and regulatory importance. While most organisations have a defensive mindset to protect their data, red teams take a very different approach. Instead of considering what mitigation to put in place, the red team looks for the gaps in your security strategy and shows how they can be actively exploited by an adversary.

Red teaming provides a quantifiable measure of the effectiveness of your security controls. In turn, this raises awareness of where vulnerabilities may exist and provides guidance on how threat actors work and how they are likely to try and attack an organisation. It is an excellent training tool that helps your security team better understand the challenges they face when dealing with threat actors. When a red team finds and exploits a vulnerability, it also increases awareness of where accountability and responsibility lie when it comes to protecting information assets.

With so many different threats and vulnerabilities to consider, red teaming ensures your security efforts are focused where they can make the most difference. Not every threat results in the same level of risk for every organisation. Red teaming helps to target specific activities that will have the most benefit when it comes to mitigating risks.

How Can Tesserent Help New Zealand Organisations?

Tesserent’s team of cybersecurity red team experts have conducted red teaming exercises for many clients across a wide range of different industries. A Tesserent red teaming engagement is a complex, comprehensive and multi-layered attack simulation on an organisation, using a custom set of tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to assess your organisation's cyber resilience against real-world adversaries. The red team assessment starts by defining objectives and rules of the engagement, then creating and executing the plan.

Red team exercises focus on all the vectors that real adversaries would. To simulate a real-world scenario, only key stakeholders are made aware of the exercise.

By mimicking a real cyber-attack, Tesserent’s red team engagement will provide your organisation with a detailed snapshot of the current level of your cyber resilience, covering your people, processes, and technology. The report will guide you on how to prioritise improvements to your detection and response capabilities to help your company stay ahead of adversaries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Red Teaming and Penetration Testing?

Where a standard penetration test focuses on a single environment or system i.e. what’s in scope as identified by the organisation, a Red Team aims to be widespread i.e. everything identified by the Red Team (except anything flagged for exclusion by the organisation).

A Red Team simulates, within the bounds of their engagement, an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). They often take far longer to plan and to execute than a tightly defined Penetration test.

A Red Team exercise challenges the full spectrum of your security operations. It provides a risk-managed approach to the organisation’s attack surface. In addition, the Red Team targets the human elements within a company, often neglected by annual security testing.

How do I know if my New Zealand based organisation is ready for a Red Team engagement?

A good candidate for Red Teaming is typically a larger organisation with a relatively advanced Security operation – providing a baseline to work from. You have most likely conducted traditional internal and external penetration testing and have an understanding of your weak areas. A Red Team engagement will help assess the security measures you already have in place.

What are the key steps in a typical Red Team Engagement?

We start by working with you on a detailed requirements gathering phase where key stakeholders and the Red Team reach a mutual agreement over the key concerns within the business. A standard Tesserent Red Team campaign consists of:

  • Reconnaissance – Collecting as much information as possible about:
    • the target i.e. the identification of external assets, corporate staff the targets of interest through Open Source Intelligence (OSINT),
    • the larger environment i.e. threat modelling, and analysis of current threat actors.
  • Weaponization and Delivery – Establishing a trojanised framework for implant delivery, before deploying this implant within the organisation via an appropriate channel (a phishing campaign, social engineering, or USB dead-drop). This will vary greatly from one engagement to the next. It is highly customised.
  • Establishing command-and-control, and persistence – Gaining a beachhead within the organisation, allowing further attacks targeting internal systems, networks and architecture
  • Meeting objectives – Acting upon pre-determined objectives, emulating the actions of a real attacker as agreed prior to the campaign. This might include exfiltration of critically sensitive data, information, or physical assets.
  • Reporting – Our reports are among the best in the industry. They provide a detailed overview of:
    • the actions of the Red Team,
    • findings and details of your vulnerabilities,
    • the likely risks posed to the organisation,
    • the potential business impact of those risks and
    • prioritised recommendations for remediation.
Contact us

Speak with a Tesserent
Security Specialist

Tesserent is a full-service cybersecurity and secure cloud services provider, partnering with clients from all industries and all levels of government. Let’s talk.

Let's Talk
Tess head 8 min