Pentagon Red Teams: Get a Job Overthrowing the Government
Posted Jul 06, 2007
The Defense Science Board, always a valuable source for info you probably shouldn't have, has a report on Red Teaming in a Department of Defense context which is most tasty. We offer a pdf download of that report at the end of this short, meaningless article.
How do you test the security of your secure systems? You hire someone to break in. This is true for base installations and it's true for networks and communications infrastructure, too. Right now, there are fake terrorists and hackers working for the government to test out vulnerabilities. The logic, clearly, is to locate potential threats and cracks in the system before Someone Else realizes that they're there to exploit. Red Teams need to improvise, move quickly, and be mostly invisible. To me, at least, that sounds like one hell of a fun job.
We argue that red teaming is especially important now for the DoD. Current adversaries are tougher targets for intelligence than was the United State's major cold war foe. Red teaming deepens understanding of options available to adaptive adversaries and both complements and informs intelligence collection and analysis. Aggressive red teams are needed to challenge emerging operational concepts in order to discover weaknesses before real adversaries do. In addition, in the wake of recent military operations, use of red teams can temper the complacency that often follows success.
Of course, if you're going to do some freelance Red Team activity in hopes of getting hired, make damn sure that you're doing it well. Don't get caught until you want to get caught, until you are in total control of the negotiation. They respect balls and expertise just as much as they respect guns. (For quick reference, think of Keven Spacy in Seven.)
Remember the case of poor Gary McKinnon, who got caught snooping around UFO files . Did they think "whoa, what a badass hacker?" Did they hire him? Fuck no, they're sending him to Guantanamo Bay. Prepare thoroughly before diving into shark tanks.
The Defense Science Board is a beautifully frank operation, and you can only respect people who write as well as they do. Even if they're raving fascists, they're still lucid on the laptops:
Red teams and red teaming processes have long been used as tools by the management of both government and commercial enterprises. Their purpose is to reduce an enterprise's risks and increase its opportunities.
Red teams come in many varieties and there are different views about what constitutes a red team. We take an expanded view and include a diversity of activities that, while differing in some ways, share a fundamental feature.
Red teams are established by an enterprise to challenge aspects of that very enterprise's plans, programs, assumptions, etc. It is this aspect of deliberate challenge that distinguishes red teaming from other management tools although the boundary is not a sharp one. (There are many tools used by management for a variety of related purposes: to promulgate visions, foster innovation, promote efficiencies.)
If you're interested in a high-paying job with lots of benefits that you have to break laws in order to apply to, then we recommend you look into this rapid growth area. Think about it: if you can remote view, then you can compile a dossier on 50+ extremely sensitive US secret locations all around the world and get a job. Right? Occult Red Teams probably already exist, so bear in mind you might have some competition.
Filed in: 5GW Project
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