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Cyber Security Blue Team: Roles, Exercise, Tools & Skills

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14th Sep, 2023
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    Cyber Security Blue Team: Roles, Exercise, Tools & Skills

    A company's top priority should be protecting its assets from cyberattacks and data breaches. Cybersecurity assessments aim to assess an organization's overall security posture by examining its network infrastructure. In order to offensively test the security safeguards in place on the computer infrastructure, the organization can hire penetration testers.

    In addition to actively defending its infrastructure, the organization will test its procedures, people, and practices by deploying its cybersecurity professionals, including Cybersecurity Analysts. In addition to actively protecting its infrastructure, the organization will test its strategies, people, and techniques by deploying cybersecurity professionals, including Cybersecurity Analysts. "Red Team" refers to the offensive professionals, while "Blue Team" refers to the defensive professionals.

    Throughout this article, we will examine what it's like to be part of a blue team security service.

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    What is Cyber Security Blue Team?

    An expert blue team in cybersecurity defends and protects the security of a business against cyberattacks. In addition, they find ways to improve an organization's security defenses by constantly analyzing its security standing. As a blue team member, one will be responsible for automating security processes, managing incidents, and gathering threat intelligence.

    What is the purpose of a blue team?

    Using the information, they already possess, a blue team analyst identifies weaknesses within an organization. This is accomplished by securing the company's assets and conducting vulnerability scans. In addition, they audit the organization's DNS and perform system audits. Immediately after the requested data is retrieved, any unusual activities are examined.

    In addition to implementing security policies, the blue team teaches employees how to stay safe inside and outside the organization. Security specialists advise businesses on investments and procedures they should implement in order to protect themselves from attacks. In addition, they protect and restore the security of the business if cyberattacks or breaches occur.

    How Does Blue Teamwork?

    The blue teams are responsible for establishing security measures around an organization's key assets. Therefore, the blue team conducts a risk assessment by identifying threats and weaknesses these threats can exploit after obtaining data and documenting what needs to be protected. Blue teams perform risk assessments. They identify critical assets, determine what impact their absence will have on the business, and document the importance of these assets.

    Following that, employees are educated on security procedures, and stricter password policies are implemented to tighten access to the system. A monitoring tool is often installed to log and check access to systems. As part of regular maintenance, blue teams will perform DNS audits, scan internal and external networks for vulnerabilities, and capture network traffic samples.

    Senior management has a crucial role in this stage since only they can accept a risk or implement mitigating controls. As a result, security controls are often selected based on their cost-benefit ratio.

    For instance, it may be determined by the blue team that the network of company XYZ is susceptible to a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack. During this attack, incomplete traffic requests are sent to a server, which makes the network less available to legitimate users. This attack cripples a network severely because each request requires resources. The team calculates the loss after an incident. The blue team would evaluate the costs and benefits of implementing an intrusion detection and prevention system aligned with the business goals in order to minimize the Threat of DDoS attacks. 

    Blue Team Exercise

    Blue team exercises aim to test the effectiveness of blue teams in detecting, blocking, and preventing attacks and breaches. During a blue team exercise, an organization model threats likely to cause a loss event shortly.

    A red team attacks an organization's assets during the blue team exercise, and the blue teams are responsible for responding to attacks and isolating infected assets as more attacks and actions occur across the business environment. 

    A red team session will follow the blue team exercise, in which the teams will discuss the attacking methods and the attacks will be carried out. In order to prevent another similar attack from being successful, the blue team evaluates this information and prioritizes the changes required. Some blue and red teams may interact directly during simulated attacks. They may provide feedback on attack response effectiveness and assistance if a blue team has difficulty dealing with the Threat. Exercises like these are commonly called purple team assessments.

    Scenarios When a Blue Team Exercise Is Needed (Examples) 

    • Auditing domain name servers (DNS) for phishing attacks, stale DNS issues, downtime from DNS record deletions, and reducing DNS and web attacks. 
    • Analyzing users' digital footprints to track their activities and detect known security breaches. 
    • Devices such as laptops, iPads, or smartphones can be protected by installing endpoint security software and maintaining up-to-date antivirus software with adequately configuring firewall access controls. 
    • Logging and ingesting network activity through SIEM solutions.
    • Detecting an attacker's activity by analyzing logs and memory, identifying and pinpointing an attack using these logs, and applying the correct configuration of networks by segregating them.
    • Regularly scanning the system for vulnerabilities with vulnerability scanning software and protecting systems with antivirus or anti-malware software.

    Cyber Blue Team Approaches (Methodology) 

    To prepare against red team attacks, the cyber security blue team also uses an approach. 

    • Analyzing logs and reviewing their contents 
    • An analysis of traffic and data flows is performed.
    • SIEM platforms are used to detect and monitor live intrusions and security events. 
    • Keeping track of real-time alarms
    • In order to prioritize appropriate actions, the latest threat information has to be gathered and evaluated. 

    In addition to these exercises, there are some additional exercises for the cyber security blue team: 

    • Conducting DNS research 
    • Ensure that all security software is configured, monitored, and reviewed 
    • A firewall, antivirus software, and anti-malware software should all be configured and updated properly as part of perimeter security. 
    • When there is a breach in the network, least-privilege access should be applied, which means that each user or device should have access to the least-privilege access possible. 
    • The blue team also maintains separate access to all parts of the network by utilizing microsegmentation, an approach to security. 

    Cyber Security Blue Team Tools

    In addition to monitoring network traffic, blue team members create specific filters for identifying attacks. These are the top six most effective blue team software tools: 

    (i) Intrusion Detection and Prevention

    Intrusion detection and prevention tools are used to detect and prevent attacks from outside the network. This tool is one of the effective blue team toolkits that help blue teams identify which assets are being targeted and which potential targets. The information could be used later by members of the blue team to determine if the targeted devices were vulnerable. 

    (ii) Packet Analysis

    Wireshark is one of the most used packet analysis tools, allowing blue team members to analyze the Threat. For instance, there is a case of an attack on a network device in XYZ company. According to the situation, blue team members may be able to analyze traffic from company devices, which could assist in identifying the attacker's IP address and gaining insight into the company system and attacker traffic by using packet analysis and a compromised system's command history may be viewed in cases of exploits. 

    (iii) Log and Packet Aggregation

    An attack analysis tool organizes web traffic logs based on log and packet aggregation. Log aggregation assists blue teams in understanding cyber attack conducts by recreating attack chains of events that lead to breaches and attacks. Additionally, it aids in creating firewall rules and custom alert filters for network traffic so future attacks can be prevented and blue teams can be notified immediately of attacks. 

    (iv) Active Endpoint Detection and Response (ActiveEDR)

    Through ActiveEDR, everything on a device is tracked and contextualized to solve EDR problems. Using ActiveEDR, attackers can be identified in real-time, automated responses are executed, and threat hunting is made simple with a single indicator of compromise. 

    Its features are similar to others in the EDR space, but unlike those, ActiveEDR does not rely on the cloud for detection. The result is a shorter stick-around time. AI helps the agent determine a course of action without needing cloud connectivity. ActiveEDR displays continuous information about endpoint activity. As soon as it detects harmful activity, it can mitigate malicious files, operations, and even the entire "storyline." 

    (v) Honeypots

    In addition to helping the blue team learn about new threats and techniques, honeypots also maintain the network's security. In essence, honeypots act as decoy assets by imitating prime targets. By analyzing honeypot machines, the blue team can better understand how attackers gain access to honeypots and how they conduct their attacks following a breach. 

    (vi) Sandboxing

    Sandboxes are similar to honeypots in that they prevent and analyze security threats. It is a technique that allows blue teams and security researchers to test applications by running them in an isolated environment, installing malware, and running potentially malicious code. 

    As a result of sandboxing on dedicated virtual machines on a virtual host, all on separate machines, blue teams can test malware against different operating systems, analyze malware, and verify which anti-malware software flagged malicious files. 

    (vii) Kippo

    Python-based Kippo honeypot is well-known for its medium-interaction SSH (Secure Socket Shel) capabilities. An attacker's shell history is logged along with brute force attacks detected and logged with this tool. 

    As well as offering fake content to attackers, engaging in some trickery with SSH pretending to connect somewhere, and the like, Kippo offers a fake file system that can add and remove files. Kippo_detect is another tool available that detects Kippo honeypots. 

    How to Build an Effective Blue Team?

    Building an effective blue team information security is critical as the organization's safety depends upon the team. As part of the Blue Team, it involves more than technologies and security monitoring, including examining the people and the inside organization's work. Unlike other training courses or traditional penetration tests, this realistic group exercise offers outstanding learning opportunities. 

    Blue Team exercises are tailored to the organization's particular requirements; as such, the blue team assigned work with the organization existing controls to ensure they are effective. The blu team response analysis also considers each industry's Threat and regulatory requirements.

    The Role of Blue Team in Cyber Security

    An internal or external Blue Team operates security elements on behalf of other teams. 

    (i) Response to incidents

    They are identifying and implementing reactive measures in response to security incidents. 

    (ii) Threat Detection and Threat Hunting

    Monitoring of indicators of compromise (IOCs) using SIEMs or EDRs and active threat search with SIEMs or EDRs 

    (iii) Forensic analysis

    They are investigating and evaluating the impact and scale of a security incident. 

    (iv) Early threat detection

    In addition to analyzing CVEs and 0-day vulnerabilities, the team will deploy decoys (deception).

    (v) Bastion host

    Creation and identification of computer security control according to the Bastion guide.

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    Blue Team Analyst skills

    Despite their technical focus on defense, the blue team plays an active role in prevention. Risks and threats are identified and neutralized by this team before they cause damage to the organization. Even the most skilled cybersecurity professionals cannot keep up with the increasing sophistication of attacks and adversaries.

    Detection, prevention, and remediation are all the blue team's responsibilities. A blue team member should have the following skills:

    • Risk assessment: An assessment of risk helps you identify and prioritize protection resources for key assets in danger of exploitation.
    • Strengthening techniques: Making your organization's security stronger requires knowing how to fix vulnerability weaknesses.
    • Defending against threats requires knowledge. An attacker's move has to be anticipated by blue teams.
    • Monitoring and detection systems: When working for the blue team, you will need to know how to use packet sniffing devices, SIEM systems, IDS, and IPS.

    Benefits of Blue Team in Cyber Security

    The blue team exercises offer various benefits for maintaining cyber security, such as

    • Identifying security vulnerabilities
    • A reduction in breakout times and an improvement in network security
    • The organization's staff has become more aware of cybersecurity issues
    • The development and implementation of effective cybersecurity measures

    How Does a Blue Team Identify and Prevent Attacks?

    In addition to vulnerability scans and blue team penetration testing, the teams are often used to gather threat intelligence. Typically, these activities aim to identify vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them. Employees from various departments within an organization are usually part of blue teams. It includes information technology personnel, human resources, finance, legal, sales, marketing, and external partners such as law enforcement or intelligence agencies. As part of the blue team investigation, you will seek to find out how attackers gained access to your network, their motivations, and whether any malicious activity took place on your part.

    Blue Team Careers

    There are many new blue team job roles in the cybersecurity industry that require unique skills and capabilities. The three most sought-after blue team security jobs are:

    (i) Cyber Security Engineer

    The role of a cyber security engineer involves designing and implementing solutions to ensure that networks are secure against hackers, cyberattacks, and other persistent threats. These systems are continuously tested and monitored to ensure that all defenses are effective and current.

    (ii) Cyber Security Analyst

    Security analysts are trained cyber professionals who specialize in securing networks and IT infrastructure. By actively anticipating and preventing cyberattacks, cybersecurity analysts deeply understand cyberattacks, malware, and cybercriminals.

    (iii) Incident Response Manager

    In the course of detecting, analyzing, and containing an incident, the incident response manager is responsible for overseeing and prioritizing actions. Furthermore, they must communicate the company's special requirements for incidents of extreme severity.

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    Conclusion

    Keeping the company's crucial information safe from outside threats is the responsibility of the blue team. The cyber security blue team plays a pivotal role in defending organizational data. Security evaluations, data collection, documentation, and electronic and physical security policies all fall under their remit. The blue team may also be responsible for completing audits, conducting risk assessments, and analyzing network traffic using vulnerability scans.

    Any role on a blue team requires creativity and attention to detail. By identifying potential vulnerabilities, the blue team ensures no cyber crooks will be able to break through the company. Take a look at KnowledgeHut best cybersecurity course to upskill yourself.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Is Threat hunting a blue team?

    No. A Threat Hunting role is specialized within the purple team and focused on detecting advanced threats that have already penetrated the network and remained undetected. A purple team consists of members from both blue and red teams. A Threat Hunter searches the network and systems for malicious artifacts using manual and automated methods.

    2What is a blue team analyst?

    A blue team analyst is a group responsible for identifying security weaknesses, verifying security measures' effectiveness, and ensuring that all security measures remain effective after implementation.

    3What is the Average Salary of a Blue Team Analyst?

    In the United States, a Blue Team Analyst earns an average salary of US$ 63,419 per annum.

    4What is the difference between blue teams and red teams?

    A red team member infiltrates a target organization by pretending to be a cyber crook. In this case, the intruder could slip into the room undetected and quietly install the malware in order to gain access to the network. As part of the Blue Team's evaluation of the network environment and its current security readiness, they determine security threats and risks in the operating environment.

    5What is the value of blue team testing?

    Using the latest tools, software, and techniques, a cyber security blue team can contribute to developing a comprehensive defense plan for an organization. The blue team conducts training in a safe, low-risk environment to establish the organization's security capabilities, skills, and maturity.

    Profile

    Shweta Lakhwani

    Author

    Shweta Lakhwani runs a travel business - "Voyage Planner" based in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), India. In addition, she is a freelance writer and wins her clients with her creative writing skill. She creates content on various topics such as travel, entertainment, self-help, science, education, information technology (IT), cryptocurrency, insurance, medical, real estate, personal growth, business development, health care, and lifestyle. She is also a Brand Ambassador at the Isla Ida Bracelet and a partner at the Eden Reforestation Projects. She advocates free and life-changing travel experiences while positively influencing the planet.

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