April 13, 2024

Do you ever play laptop video games corresponding to Halo or Gears of Battle? In that case, you’ve undoubtedly seen a sport mode known as Seize the Flag that pits two groups towards one another – one that’s accountable for defending the flag from adversaries who try to steal it.

This sort of train can be utilized by organizations to gauge their capacity to detect, reply to, and mitigate a cyberattack. Certainly, these simulations are key for pinpointing weaknesses in organizations’ techniques, folks and processes earlier than attackers make the most of them. By emulating lifelike cyberthreats, these workouts let safety practitioners additionally finetune incident response procedures and beef up their defenses towards evolving safety challenges. 

On this article, we’ve have a look at, in broad brush phrases, how the 2 groups duke it out and which open-source instruments the defensive facet could use. First off, a super-quick refresher on the roles of the 2 groups:

  • The purple crew performs the function of the attacker and leverages ways that mirror these of real-world risk actors. By figuring out and exploiting vulnerabilities, bypassing the group’s defenses and compromising its techniques, this adversarial simulation supplies organizations with priceless insights into chinks of their cyber-armors.
  • The blue crew, in the meantime, takes on the defensive function because it goals to detect and thwart the opponent’s incursions. This includes, amongst different issues, deploying numerous cybersecurity instruments, preserving tabs on community site visitors for any anomalies or suspicious patterns, reviewing logs generated by totally different techniques and functions, monitoring and accumulating knowledge from particular person endpoints, and swiftly responding to any indicators of unauthorized entry or suspicious conduct. 

As a facet notice, there’s additionally a purple crew that depends on a collaborative strategy and brings collectively each offensive and defensive actions. By fostering communication and cooperation between the offensive and defensive groups, this joint effort permits organizations to establish vulnerabilities, take a look at safety controls, and enhance their general safety posture by an much more complete and unified strategy.

Now, going again to the blue crew, the defensive facet makes use of a wide range of open-source and proprietary instruments to meet its mission. Let’s now have a look at a number of such instruments from the previous class.

Community evaluation instruments


Designed for effectively dealing with and analyzing community site visitors knowledge, Arkime is a large-scale packet search and seize (PCAP) system. It options an intuitive net interface for shopping, trying to find, and exporting PCAP information whereas its API means that you can straight obtain and use the PCAP and JSON-formatted session knowledge. In so doing, it permits for integrating the info with specialised site visitors seize instruments corresponding to Wireshark through the evaluation stage.

Arkime is constructed to be deployed on many techniques without delay and may scale to deal with tens of gigabits/second of site visitors. PCAP’s dealing with of huge quantities of knowledge is predicated on the sensor’s obtainable disk house and the size of the Elasticsearch cluster. Each of those options may be scaled up as wanted and are underneath the administrator’s full management.



Snort is an open-source intrusion prevention system (IPS) that displays and analyzes community site visitors to detect and stop potential safety threats. Used extensively for real-time site visitors evaluation and packet logging, it makes use of a collection of guidelines that assist outline malicious exercise on the community and permits it to search out packets that match such suspicious or malicious conduct and generates alerts for directors.

As per its homepage, Snort has three foremost use instances:

  • packet tracing
  • packet logging (helpful for community site visitors debugging)
  • community Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

For the detection of intrusions and malicious exercise on the community, Snort has three units of world guidelines:

  • guidelines for group customers: these which might be obtainable to any person with none value and registration.
  • guidelines for registered customers: By registering with Snort the person can entry a algorithm optimized to establish far more particular threats.
  • guidelines for subscribers: This algorithm not solely permits for extra correct risk identification and optimization, but in addition comes with the flexibility to obtain risk updates.

Incident administration instruments


TheHive is a scalable safety incident response platform that gives a collaborative and customizable house for incident dealing with, investigation, and response actions. It’s tightly built-in with MISP (Malware Info Sharing Platform) and eases the duties of Safety Operations Middle (SOCs), Laptop Safety Incident Response Group (CSIRTs), Laptop Emergency Response Group (CERTs) and every other safety professionals who face safety incidents that must be analyzed and acted upon rapidly. As such, it helps organizations handle and reply to safety incidents successfully

There are three options that make it so helpful:

  • Collaboration: The platform promotes real-time collaboration amongst (SOC) and Laptop Emergency Response Group (CERT) analysts. It facilitates the combination of ongoing investigations into instances, duties, and observables. Members can entry related data, and particular notifications for brand new MISP occasions, alerts, electronic mail stories, and SIEM integrations additional improve communication.
  • Elaboration: The software simplifies the creation of instances and related duties by an environment friendly template engine. You possibly can customise metrics and fields by way of a dashboard, and the platform helps the tagging of important information containing malware or suspicious knowledge.
  • Efficiency: Add wherever from one to hundreds of observables to every case created, together with the choice to import them straight from an MISP occasion or any alert despatched to the platform, in addition to customizable classification and filters.

GRR Speedy Response

GRR Rapid Response is an incident response framework that permits reside distant forensic evaluation. It remotely collects and analyzes forensic knowledge from techniques with a purpose to facilitate cybersecurity investigations and incident response actions. GRR helps the gathering of assorted varieties of forensic knowledge, together with file system metadata, reminiscence content material, registry data, and different artifacts which might be essential for incident evaluation. It’s constructed to deal with large-scale deployments, making it notably appropriate for enterprises with various and intensive IT infrastructures. 

It consists of two elements, a consumer and a server.

The GRR consumer is deployed on techniques that you just need to examine. On every of those techniques, as soon as deployed, the GRR consumer periodically polls the GRR frontend servers to confirm if they’re working. By “working”, we imply executing a selected motion: obtain a file, enumerate a listing, and so forth.

The GRR server infrastructure consists of a number of elements (frontends, employees, UI servers, Fleetspeak) and supplies a web-based GUI and an API endpoint that permits analysts to schedule actions on shoppers and to view and course of the collected knowledge.


Analyzing working techniques 


HELK, or The Searching ELK, is designed to offer a complete atmosphere for safety professionals to conduct proactive risk searching, analyze safety occasions, and reply to incidents. It leverages the ability of the ELK stack together with extra instruments to create a flexible and extensible safety analytics platform.

It combines numerous cybersecurity instruments right into a unified platform for risk searching and safety analytics. Its major elements are Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (ELK stack), that are extensively used for log and knowledge evaluation. HELK extends the ELK stack by integrating extra safety instruments and knowledge sources to reinforce its capabilities for risk detection and incident response.

Its function is for analysis, however as a consequence of its versatile design and core elements, it may be deployed in bigger environments with the correct configurations and scalable infrastructure.



The Volatility Framework is a group of instruments and libraries for the extraction of digital artifacts from, you guessed it, the unstable reminiscence (RAM) of a system. It’s, subsequently, extensively utilized in digital forensics and incident response to investigate reminiscence dumps from compromised techniques and extract invaluable data associated to ongoing or previous safety incidents. 

Because it’s platform-independent, it helps reminiscence dumps from a wide range of working techniques, together with Home windows, Linux and macOS. Certainly, Volatility can even analyze reminiscence dumps from virtualized environments, corresponding to these created by VMware or VirtualBox, and so present insights into each bodily and digital system states.

Volatility has a plugin-based structure – it comes with a wealthy set of built-in plugins that cowl a variety of forensic evaluation, but in addition permits customers to increase its performance by including customized plugins.



So there you may have it. It goes with out saying that blue/purple crew workouts are important for assessing the preparedness of a company’s defenses and as such are very important for a sturdy and efficient safety technique. The wealth of data collected all through this train supplies organizations with a holistic view of their safety posture and permits them to evaluate the effectiveness of their safety protocols.

As well as, blue groups play a key function in cybersecurity compliance and regulation, which is very crucial in extremely regulated industries, corresponding to healthcare and finance. The blue/purple crew workouts additionally present lifelike coaching eventualities for safety professionals, and this hands-on expertise helps them hone their abilities in precise incident response.

Which crew will you join?