Red Teaming Moments

The More Things Change . . .

After more than two decades of red teaming, it’s time to distill some of the random thoughts that emerged along the way. It would be nice to say that things have changed for the better, but the world just doesn’t seem to work that way.

Red Teaming Moment #1: When I first realized that the people serving on the red team knew very little about how the real-world adversary thought, planned, and moved.

Red Teaming Moment #2: When I realized that the respected leader of a pre-9/11 study dismissed as a threat any adversary who didn’t possess an aircraft carrier.

Red Teaming Moment #3: “You’re sure this system isn’t connected to the Internet, right?” “Oh yes, absolutely.” “Do you mind if we look around a bit?” “No, please do.” [a brief interlude while we look around a bit . . .] “What’s this line here? It’s connected to a modem.” “Oh, uh, yeah . . . I forgot about that.”

Red Teaming Moment #4: When I realized that no objective narrative exists; everyone—including red teamers—builds their own.

Red Teaming Moment #5: When I first encountered—much to my surprise— fellow “red teamers” who possessed more hubris than any client I’d ever met.

Red Teaming Moment #6: When I realized that we generally expect our adversary’s decision processes to make more sense than our own.

If you enjoy these, be sure to check out the Red Teaming “Laws” over at Red Team Journal as well as our new Super Quick and Dirty Red Teaming service.