Coro Secures $100 Million Funding Round to Drive Aggressive Growth to Transform Cybersecurity for SMEs Read more

Watch a Demo
Start a Trial 
Compliance Survey
Become a Partner
Contact Sales
Get Support

Watch a Demo

Explore our collection of recorded product demonstrations to witness Coro in action.

"*" indicates required fields

Hidden
Name
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
See how much time you could save with Coro guarding your business:
Instantly handle 95%+ of email threats
Monitor cloud app security from a single dashboard
Protect devices across the threat landscape
Prevent data loss with a deceivingly simple solution

Start a Free Trial

Try Coro for Free for the Next 30 Days

"*" indicates required fields

Hidden
Name
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Coro Platform

Build Your Compliance Report

Does your business satisfy security regulations? Take the survey to learn how your industry, services, and location can impact your compliance posture.
Take the Compliance Survey

Become a partner today

Turn your cybersecurity business into a revenue center

"*" indicates required fields

Hidden
Name
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Modules

Contact Sales

Receive comprehensive information about our product, pricing, and technical details straight from our specialists.

"*" indicates required fields

Hidden
Name
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Modules

Learn the Differences Between Red vs Blue vs Purple Teams in Cybersecurity

Jul 09, 2024

4 MINUTE READ

Table of Contents

On the heels of some high-profile cyber drills in the US, we thought it would be beneficial to break down how faux-attack exercises unfold.

As part of analyzing a company’s current cyber posture, risk exposure, and system robustness, organizations regularly turn to color-coded team exercises. These multifaceted cybersecurity scenarios test a company’s systems, teams, and processes for weaknesses. 

Most commonly, these teams are labeled as red, blue and purple, although occasionally more teams can be involved. Each team has a part to play in helping to strengthen the overall protection of the one or more participating organizations. 

And while sometimes these teams are assembled for the purpose of a routine exercise—such as an annual security assessment—at certain organizations, cybersecurity teams are divided up by red vs. blue. 

In this article, we’ll run through some of the common roles and responsibilities of these teams—that are either assigned to in-house teams, if possible, or sometimes contracted from the outside for an assessment—to test a system’s might. 

What are Red Teams? 

In a cybersecurity simulation, a red team is a group of ethical hackers or security professionals who pretend to be attackers. Their job is to simulate real-world cyberattacks and try to break through an organization’s defenses. They mimic the tools, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) of real attackers to uncover vulnerabilities, exploit them, and gain access to data. 

The red team approaches security from the attacker’s viewpoint, using various methods like social engineering and exploiting vulnerabilities in systems and networks. Their goal is to identify weaknesses in the organization’s security posture—including people, processes, and technology.

The red team’s “enemy” in these scenarios is the “blue team.” By simulating an attack, they test the blue team’s ability to detect, respond to, and contain the attack.

Differences between red teams and penetration testers

Red teams are occasionally confused with penetration testers. While there is a lot of overlap, there are key differences between the two:

  • Goals: The goal of a pen tester is to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and networks. They aim to find as many weaknesses as possible to create a comprehensive picture of the security posture. A red team has a more targeted approach. Their goal is to achieve a specific objective, often simulating a real-world attack scenario like stealing data or disrupting operations.
  • Scope:  Pen testers operate within a well-defined scope, focusing on specific systems or applications. The organization is aware of the pen test and collaborates with the testers. Red teams have a broader scope and may use social engineering or physical security testing. The red team operation may be kept secret from the organization’s blue team (security team), mimicking a surprise attack.
  • Focus: Pen testers are generally more focused on technical aspects, using various tools and techniques to exploit vulnerabilities. Red teams take a more holistic approach. They don’t just look for technical vulnerabilities but also those caused by human factors and physical security.
  • Resourcing: Pen testers are usually smaller teams focused on technical assessments; red teams are larger with more diverse skill sets, e.g. social engineers, physical security experts, etc.  

Having said that, pen testing will form a big part of red team operations and there may be pen testers on the team.

What are Blue Teams?

A blue team is the proactive, defensive side of the cybersecurity equation. They are the group responsible for defending an organization’s systems and data from cyberattacks during a simulation. Generally, these are the most common types of folks to work in-house at an organization. And it’s not out of the ordinary for a red team to be contracted from outside a company to test a blue team’s responses.

Blue teams act as the organization’s security personnel, constantly monitoring systems for suspicious activity and implementing defensive measures to prevent attacks. It’s the blue team’s job to identify and patch vulnerabilities in systems and networks to minimize the attack surface.

By working with the red team, both teams help organizations strengthen their overall cybersecurity posture.

What are Purple Teams? 

A purple team bridges the gap between red teams (attackers) and blue teams (defenders). It’s a collaborative approach that combines the expertise of both sides to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of an organization’s security posture.

The role of the purple function is to share information, insights, and strategies to identify and address security weaknesses effectively.

Generally, purple teaming is an ongoing process that helps organizations continuously improve their security posture by simulating real-world attack scenarios, identifying vulnerabilities, and implementing better defensive strategies.

The red team shares their attack techniques with the blue team, helping them improve their detection and response capabilities. The blue team’s defensive strategies help the red team refine their attack methods to stay ahead of evolving threats.

For example, if the blue team isn’t familiar with offensive techniques, they may form an incident response group for a period to learn from the red team. That can be considered a purple team exercise. 

Looking ahead

It is possible to have a cybersecurity team without a red, blue and purple function, but when all three teams work together in unison, it strengthens the organization’s defenses considerably. 

Red teams help identify and address security gaps before attackers exploit them. Blue teams implement security measures, monitor systems for threats, and respond to security incidents. Purple teams bridge the gap, creating a holistic understanding of the organization’s security posture and refining defensive strategies based on real-world attack simulations.

Coro Cybersecurity News

Expand knowledge in cybersecurity
Coro was built on a simple principle: Enterprise-grade security should be accessible to every business. We believe the more businesses we protect, the more we protect our entire economic outlook.
Copyright 2023 © Coro Cybersecurity All Rights Reserved
chevron-down