What Are Red Teams And Why Should I Care?

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In wargaming, the opposing force in a simulated military conflict is known as the Red Team, and is used to reveal weaknesses in current military readiness. The approach and the value is depicted in the film The Dirty Dozen, where a small team of Red Team infiltrators is able to capture the generals in the Blue Team command post.

More generally, Red Teaming can refer to an independent peer review of existing practices, or future proposals. Normally this is accomplished internally amongst government agencies. However, some private investigation companies provide this service to corporations.

The US DOD maintains an elite group of Federal Agents and Specialists who are tasked to conduct red team exercises. (Wikipedia: Red_Team)

If you've seen PBS FRONTLINE's "Cyber War!", then you know Red Teams were able to access military and civil systems using publicly purchased computer equipment.

Red Teams can spot weaknesses within systems, networks and operating policies before a black hat breach occurs, such as the 45.7 million credit and debit cards stolen from T.J. Maxx and Marshalls in 2007 (due to a wireless network breach) or the massive theft of credit card numbers (over 100 million processed per month) from Heartland in 2008 (spyware stole payment card information).

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