In the dynamic world of cyber security, it is crucial to stay ahead of the threats. One of the strategies that many organizations have adopted is the concept of ‘teams’ – specifically, Red, Blue, and Purple teams. In this blog, we delve into the details of these teams, their roles, operations, and outcomes, with a specific emphasis on the Purple and blue teaming.
Cybersecurity is a continuously evolving field, as new threats emerge and existing ones evolve. It is no longer enough to react to these threats; proactive measures and security controls are now the norm. This is where the concept of cyber security teams comes into play.
The teams – Red, Blue, and our own Purple team – each play a crucial role in an organization’s cybersecurity framework. But what exactly does each team do? And how do they work together to enhance an organization’s overall security posture? Let’s find out.
What is the Purple Team in Cyber Security
According to the Cybersecurity Ventures 2021 Annual Cybercrime Report, cybercrime is expected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. This highlights the increasing frequency and impact of cyber attacks.
The Purple Team in cyber security refers to a group of three security professionals, whose primary role is to ensure that the Red (offensive) and Blue (defensive) teams work together effectively.
They act as a bridge between the two teams, facilitating communication, and ensuring that both teams learn from each other’s activities and findings. Their ultimate goal is to enhance the organization’s security posture by integrating the knowledge and skills of both the Red and Blue teams.
Understanding Cyber Security
To fully understand the role and significance of blue team members of the Purple Team, it is essential to first grasp the basics of cyber security and why it is of paramount importance today.
Basics of Cyber Security
Cyber security refers to the practice of protecting computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from digital attacks. These attacks often involve unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of information, such log data, usually for financial gain or to cause disruption.
A robust cyber security approach uses multiple layers of protection spread across all computers, networks, programs, or data that one such security team intends to keep safe.
Importance of Cyber Security in Today’s Digital Age
In today’s digital age, cyber security has become more critical than ever. With the rise in digital transactions, cloud computing, and remote work setups, the potential for cyber-attacks has significantly increased.
Cyber criminals are continually developing new ways to breach systems, steal data, and disrupt operations, causing substantial financial and reputational damage. As such, strong cyber security practices are no longer an option but a necessity for organizations of all sizes and across all sectors.
A report by RiskBased Security reveals that the number of records exposed in data breaches reached a staggering 36 billion in the first half of 2021 alone, indicating the severity of cyber threats faced by organizations.
The Concept of Teams in Cyber Security
The number of ransomware incidents has been on the rise. A report by Emsisoft estimates that in 2021, there were 2,354 reported cases of governments, schools, and health care providers being impacted by ransomware.
One of the key strategies that organizations adopt to bolster their cyber security capabilities is the concept of ‘teams.’ These teams operate in unique yet complementary ways to ensure that every possible threat is identified, analyzed, and addressed in a coordinated, efficient manner.
The Red Team
The Red Team, often referred to as the ‘attack team,’ is responsible for simulating real-world cyber-attacks on an organization’s IT infrastructure. Their objective is to uncover weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the system that could potentially be exploited by actual cybercriminals. By doing so, they provide valuable insights into the areas that need strengthening.
The Blue Team
On the other hand, the Blue Team, also known as the ‘defense team,’ works to thwart the simulated attacks carried out by the Red Team and blue others. They are responsible for detecting, analyzing, and responding to these attacks, thereby strengthening the organization’s defensive measures. Their main goal is to ensure that the organization’s systems and data remain secure at all times.
The Purple Team
The Purple Team, as mentioned before, plays a vital intermediary role. They ensure that the Red and Blue teams work in harmony, facilitating effective communication between the two, and ensuring that both teams learn from each other’s activities. Their primary objective is to improve the organization’s security posture by leveraging the strengths of both the Red and purple team engagement, and Blue teams.
Detailed Look at the Purple Team
Now that we have a basic understanding of what a Purple Team is, let us delve a little deeper into purple team exercise their role, how they operate, and the advantages of having such a team in place.
Role of the Purple Team
The Purple Team’s objectives and duties include working alongside the Red and Blue teams, analyzing purple team testing how they work together, and recommending any necessary adjustments to the current exercise or noting them for future improvements.
In essence, the Purple Team ensures that the Red teams and Blue teams are not functioning in silos but are instead sharing their research, reporting data, and insights to collectively strengthen the organization’s security posture.
How the Purple Team Operates
Purple Team operations typically involve conducting regular meetings with the Red and Blue teams, reviewing their findings, continuous feedback, facilitating dialogues, and promoting shared learning.
They may also conduct joint exercises, where the Red and Blue teams work together under the guidance of the Purple Team to address a simulated threat scenario. Through these operations, the Purple Team fosters a culture of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and continuous improvement within the organization.
Advantages of Having a Purple Team
Having a Purple Team offers several advantages. They promote better communication and collaboration between the Red and Blue team teams, leading to more effective security practices. They ensure that all findings, whether related to vulnerabilities or defensive measures, are shared, discussed, and acted upon.
This leads to a more comprehensive and holistic approach to cyber security, enhancing the organization’s ability to defend against both known and emerging threats. Additionally, the Purple Team acts as a catalyst for continuous improvement, identifying areas for enhancement and providing recommendations for future training and technical requirements.
Purple Team Operations
The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study reported that the global cybersecurity workforce shortage has reached 3.12 million professionals. This shortage highlights the need for innovative approaches like Purple Teaming to address security challenges effectively.
Now that we understand the role and benefits of the Purple Team, let’s explore how they operate in practice.
Coordination Between Red and Blue Teams
The Purple Team acts as an intermediary, facilitating communication and coordination between the Red and Blue teams. They ensure that both blue and red teams are aware of each other’s activities, findings, and insights. This coordination allows for better collaboration, alignment, and shared learning, ultimately leading to a more robust and effective cyber security strategy.
Typical Scenarios for Purple Team Intervention
The Purple Team often intervenes in specific security incidents or scenarios where their expertise is required. These scenarios may include simulated cyber-attacks, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, or incident response exercises. By participating in these scenarios, the Purple Team can provide valuable guidance, feedback, and recommendations to enhance the organization’s overall security posture.
Tools Used by the Purple Team
In order to carry out their operations effectively, the Purple Team utilizes a variety of tools and technologies. These tools may include vulnerability scanners, penetration testing frameworks, threat intelligence platforms, and incident response systems. The exact tools used may vary depending on the organization’s specific needs and requirements.
The IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 found that it took an average of 287 days to identify and contain a data breach. This emphasizes the importance of proactive security measures like those employed by Purple Teams.
The Impact of the Purple Team on Cyber Security
The presence of a dedicated Purple Team within an organization can have a significant impact on its cyber security capabilities. Let’s examine how Purple Teaming enhances security.
How Purple Teaming Enhances Security
Purple Teaming enhances security in multiple ways. Firstly, it facilitates better communication and collaboration between the Red and Blue teams, ensuring that both teams are working together towards a common goal.
This leads to more effective threat detection and response, response, and remediation. Secondly, Purple Teaming allows for the identification of gaps and weaknesses in the organization’s security posture.
By simulating real-world attack scenarios, the Purple Team can uncover vulnerabilities that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Finally, Purple Teaming promotes continuous improvement internal security team by providing valuable insights and recommendations for enhancing the organization’s cyber security strategy.
According to a survey by Deloitte, 72% of organizations expect their cybersecurity budgets to increase in 2021. This reflects the growing recognition of the significance of cybersecurity in the face of evolving threats.
In conclusion, the Purple Team plays a crucial role in an organization’s cyber security framework. By facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing between the Red and Blue teams, they enhance the overall security posture and effectiveness of the organization’s defense mechanisms against threat actors.
Through their coordinated efforts, organizations can stay one step ahead of cyber threats and ensure the safety of their systems, data, and operations. It is clear that the Purple Team is a vital component in the ever-evolving landscape of cyber security.