Fortifying Defense with Offense

Detecting and defending against incoming attacks is a key component of a strong blue team, and SIEM capabilities play an important part of the technology stack to achieve this. But, with rapidly evolving cyber threats, it is important to adapt and innovate to stay ahead. Joint activities between red and blue teams, known as purple teaming, allows for easy knowledge sharing and collaboration to enhance defensive capabilities.

Is ‘red teaming’ the same as penetration testing?

Penetration testing is something a red team will do, but the goal of a penetration test is to find as many vulnerabilities as possible, while a red team attack simulation will try to breach the system, access, and exploit as much as possible without being detected. This kind of activity can often include attack points that wouldn’t usually be part of a penetration test, such as social engineering, but are still important for a blue team to detect and prevent.

So, what is ‘purple teaming’?

Purple team exercises have the red and blue teams working closely together, usually in a more focused engagement to provide continuous feedback and knowledge sharing between them. The red team will attempt to exploit vulnerabilities and challenge the blue team’s detection techniques using tools and tactics that are current and used by real-world adversaries. The feedback provided back to the blue team allows them to improve their SIEM capabilities by plugging gaps in detection and enhancing automated and manual response techniques. These activities can highlight additional improvements in overall security posture, training plans and help give organisations insight into future security strategies.

Purple team engagements can have varying timelines, with shorter, more focused engagements, to more long-term engagements where the red team simulates an advanced persistent threat (APT). Regardless of scope, what is important is that the teams are collaborating and working towards the same goal. Generally, the red and blue teams working within an organisation are fairly separate and siloed. Purple teaming gets these teams working together in a more collaborative nature to enhance security capabilities by providing realistic simulations, without impacting budget. Purple team activities can often save an organisation money, as blue teams are able to improve SIEM capabilities more effectively and efficiently than if they were trying to do it on their own.

Overall, these activities can help enhance an organisation’s security posture by opening lines of communication and breaking down barriers, nurturing a more collaborative and integrated culture. Knowledge sharing boosts SIEM capabilities, improving proactivity by closing detection gaps and enhancing automation, which can improve threat hunting and incident response, making security improvements faster and more efficient. Additionally, it allows for more forward-thinking security strategies and long term improvements.