Purple teaming is a cybersecurity technique used by companies, including schools, banks, and businesses that hold sensitive information, to check for security vulnerabilities.
In a world where cyber attacks are always on the rise and potentially financial and reputational damage is huge, the role of services such as purple teaming has become increasingly popular and mainstream.
Using definitions and understandings of purple teaming by cyber experts, Jumpsec, we give a concise overview of purple teaming and its functions.
The role of red team vs blue team
During a purple teaming exercise, there is a combination of a red team and a blue team which is essentially an offensive and defensive way to attack a company’s security.
The “red team” acts like hackers. They try to break into the company’s systems using various methods, just like real hackers might. They look for weaknesses in the company’s defenses, such as outdated software or weak passwords. Their goal is to find as many vulnerabilities as possible.
On the other side, the “blue team” is like the company’s defense team. They’re responsible for protecting the company’s systems from attacks. During a purple team exercise, they work closely with the red team. When the red team tries to break in, the blue team watches closely to see how they do it. This helps the blue team understand the weaknesses in their defenses and learn how to fix them.
Here’s how purple teaming helps different types of companies:
Schools: Schools hold a lot of sensitive information about students and staff, such as personal details and academic records. They also use technology for things like online learning platforms and administrative systems. Purple teaming helps schools identify and fix security vulnerabilities in their IT systems, protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access.
Banks: Banks deal with large amounts of money and sensitive financial information. They’re a prime target for cybercriminals looking to steal money or personal data. Purple teaming helps banks strengthen their cybersecurity defenses, ensuring that customer accounts and financial transactions are secure.
Councils and Governments: Local councils, municipalities and governments hold a lot of data and information about their residents and are often subject to criminal and cyber attacks. Staying on top of any vulnerabilities is crucial to avoid a data breach and maintain faith amongst your local members. See a recent example from Oldham Council.
Companies that Hold Information: Many companies, across various industries, store valuable information, such as customer databases, intellectual property, and trade secrets.
Protecting this information from cyber threats is essential for maintaining trust with customers and staying competitive. Purple teaming helps these companies identify weaknesses in their security measures and improve their overall cybersecurity position.
Purple teaming is beneficial for companies because it provides several advantages:
Realistic Testing: Unlike traditional security assessments, which often involve simulated attacks or hypothetical scenarios, purple teaming simulates real-world cyber threats. This makes it more effective at identifying vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
Collaborative Learning: By bringing together the red and blue teams, purple teaming fosters collaboration and knowledge-sharing between offensive and defensive security experts. This enables both teams to learn from each other’s techniques and improve their skills.
Continuous Improvement: Purple teaming is an iterative process that helps companies continuously improve their security posture. By regularly conducting purple team exercises, companies can stay ahead of evolving cyber threats and adapt their defenses accordingly.
In summary, purple teaming is a collaborative cybersecurity exercise that helps companies identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities. By simulating real-world cyber threats and bringing together offensive and defensive security teams, purple teaming enables companies to strengthen their defenses and protect sensitive information from cyber attacks.