Penetration Tester

What is Red Teaming?

in Cybersecurity
Red Teaming

Teaming is a practice in cybersecurity aimed at simulating real-life cyberattacks on a company’s system, network, or workforce. The idea is to determine the impenetrability of the company’s defense against cyber threats. There are two types of teaming in cybersecurity: blue teaming and red teaming.

This guide will focus on red teaming and how it differs from penetration testing.

Blue Teaming

A blue team comprises individuals in the internal security team of an organization that defends it against real-life attackers and the red team.

Cybersecurity solutions typically defend against a wide array of cyberattacks. But the job of the blue team is to spot and neutralize more covert attacks that these technologies cannot detect.

The blue team closely monitors an organization’s system to detect suspicious traffic patterns. It also identifies indicators of compromise, which they shut down immediately.

Red Teaming

Red Teams are the attacking group, comprised of security experts who test the effectiveness of a security infrastructure by mimicking the techniques of hackers as realistically as possible.

Their job is to stealthily try to break the defenses of the company’s cybersecurity. They identify and exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses while striving to remain undetectable. While a red team can consist of individuals that work for the company, the usual practice is to employ the services of external cyber experts that will look at the defenses with fresh eyes.

In doing their jobs, the red team employs any means possible that a real cyber attacker would to penetrate both the systems and physical premises of the company. This could involve creating malware and employing social engineering tactics on the employees.

Difference Between Red Teaming and Penetration Testing

Red teaming is similar to penetration testing but there are some clear differences. They are both used to determine how solid the cybersecurity of a company is and how well cyber defenses will fare in the face of an attack.

Goals of Red Teaming vs Pen-testing

However, pen-testing only revolves around identifying the flaws in the systems of an organization. It notices easy penetration points for hackers and exploits these flaws to see the potential destructiveness of a security breach. The goals in pen-testing are not specific.

Red teaming, on the other hand, is multi-leveled and targeted. It looks to achieve specific goals such as gaining access to a specific server that carries sensitive information. It not only finds and exploits vulnerabilities but also tests the ability to detect and respond to breaches.

Red teaming provides a more holistic answer to the question of how well a company can handle possible future cyber threats. It simulates real-life attacks using any means available to break both cybersecurity and physical barriers.

Length of Execution of Red Teaming vs Pen-testing

Also, red teaming typically lasts longer than pen-testing. It could go on for about 3 – 4 weeks, though it depends on the kind of attack. Conversely, pen-testing typically lasts for a week or two.

Red teaming is indispensable for big companies that store sensitive information since they are susceptible to hackers.

Red teaming does not stop at just staging an attack. Following the test attack, they work with the blue team to evaluate the effectiveness of the barriers they encountered. The red team shows the blue team the flaws they exploited and how they were able to penetrate the security system.

The blue team, armed with this valuable information, devises and implements tactics to remove the flaws to protect the organization against real future attacks.

How to Become a Penetration Tester

in Cybersecurity
How to Become a Penetration Tester

You are probably reading this because you want to become a pentester. But what do you need to obtain this well-paying cybersecurity job? In this guide, you will learn how to become a penetration tester and what qualifications you need. 

What is Penetration Testing?

Hackers are always looking for new ways to exploit systems and networks. Even the most secure organizations are usually not that secure. This is where penetration testing – also known as pentesting – comes in!

A penetration tester executes an ethical hack to exploit the vulnerabilities of a system to find out if an attack is possible. The results of this simulated attack are then used to increase the system’s security. Therefore, a penetration tester has to think like an attacker to improve an organization’s security.

A pentester earns between $75,000 and $130,000 a year.

How to Become a Penetration Tester

penetration tester

Most people begin their journeys in other IT-related jobs such as programming and system administration and later take a certified course in pentesting. This means that you should take Computer Science or IT degree courses that have some cybersecurity programs. Also, you need a good understanding of coding, networks, and operating systems to become a pentester. 

However, some ethical hackers are self-taught pentesters or reformed criminal hackers that now want to use their skills for good.

If you are already in the cybersecurity field, follow these steps to become a pentester.

  • Do your research: read as much as you can on penetration testing and cybersecurity to understand the subjects better. Since you need prerequisite knowledge in networks, hardware, databases, and data analysis, refresh your memory if you need to.
  • Get practical: practice what you have learned by using penetration toolkits like Security Onion. This toolkit offers tools to help you practice pentesting on your own. Also, familiarize yourself with the Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES) and OWASP.
  • Get certified: take certification courses in penetration testing, ethical hacking, networking, and security. These certificates will increase your employment chances.
  • Look for a pentesting job: as a penetration tester, you can work within an organization or as a consultant.

Roles of a Pentester

When you get a job as a penetration tester, you can expect to take up the tasks below.

  • Testing networks and applications: this entails running simulation attacks and keeping existing tests up to date. Employers will also expect you to know how to apply penetration testing tools.
  • Testing physical security: your new role will include checking that servers can withstand non-cyber threats such as vandalism and climate effects. 
  • Carrying out security audits: this is another important role for every pentester. Your organization will expect you to examine networks and systems and write audit reports.
  • Writing security reports: you will have to write security reports with metrics and strategies to show your test results and recommendations.
  • Participate in security policy reviews: you will work with the larger security team in handling security policy reviews.

Your role as a pentester will involve reporting your findings and recommendations. Therefore, you need good communication and presentation skills to carry out this role effectively. Project management, problem-solving, and people management skills will also come in handy. 

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