Continuous Automated Red Teaming: Security Testing for Threat Landscape

Brenda Gratas February 15, 2022
- 5 min read

Traditional security measures are no longer sufficient to protect organizations from sophisticated attacks. That's why many businesses are turning to Continuous Automated Red Teaming (CART) to stay ahead of potential threats. CART is a proactive approach to security testing that involves constantly assessing an organization's defenses to identify and address vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.

CART combines the benefits of continuous testing and automation to provide an effective defense against the constantly changing tactics of cybercriminals. By continuously simulating real-world attacks, CART helps organizations stay one step ahead of attackers and reduces the risk of a successful breach.

With it, security teams can identify and prioritize vulnerabilities, test their incident response capabilities, and ensure that their defenses are always up-to-date. But what exactly is Continuous Automated Red Teaming, and how does it work? Keep reading to find out!

What is Continuous automated red teaming?

Continuous automated red teaming is a comprehensive approach to testing an organization's security posture by continuously simulating attacks and identifying vulnerabilities. It involves using automated tools to scan for vulnerabilities, exploit them to gain access to systems and data, and emulate real-world attack scenarios.

The goal of continuous automated red teaming is to provide organizations with a constant, comprehensive, and realistic view of their security posture, allowing them to proactively identify and address vulnerabilities and improve their overall security posture.

Benefits of continuous automated red teaming

CART provides numerous benefits to organizations looking to strengthen their security posture. Some of them include the following:

  • Real-time threat detection: CART provides real-time threat detection and identification by continuously testing an organization's defenses against simulated attacks. As a result, organizations can identify and address vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.
  • Reduced risk of successful breaches: By proactively testing their defenses, organizations can reduce the risk of successful breaches and minimize the impact of any potential security incidents.
  • Improved incident response capabilities: CART enables organizations to test their incident response capabilities and identify areas for improvement. It helps companies to be better prepared to respond to any security incidents that may occur.
  • Cost-effective security testing: CART is a cost-effective way to test an organization's defenses continuously. Organizations can reduce the cost and time required for security testing by automating the testing process.
  • Compliance: CART helps organizations meet compliance requirements by continuously testing and documenting their security controls.
  • Improved security awareness: CART can also help improve the overall security awareness of an organization by providing regular security testing and training for employees.

How continuous automated red teaming works

To make CART work effectively, organizations need to take a few key steps:

  1. Identify critical assets and infrastructure: Before starting a CART program, organizations need to identify the systems, applications, and data that are most critical to their business operations. It will help them focus their testing efforts and ensure that they are testing the right areas of their infrastructure.
  2. Develop realistic attack scenarios: CART programs must use different tactics and techniques to simulate a real-world attack. These tactics might include social engineering, phishing, and other methods to trick employees into divulging sensitive information.
  3. Deploy automated testing tools: CART programs use automated testing tools to simulate attacks and identify vulnerabilities. These tools need to be carefully selected and configured to ensure that they are testing the right areas of an organization's infrastructure.
  4. Monitor and respond to alerts: CART programs generate a large amount of data, including alerts and notifications about potential vulnerabilities and attacks. Organizations need to have processes to monitor these alerts and respond to them quickly to prevent damage.

Choosing a CART tool

Choosing the right CART tool is critical to the success of a CART program. CART tools come in many different shapes and sizes, with varying levels of sophistication and functionality. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a CART tool:

  1. Coverage: CART tools should be able to cover a wide range of attack vectors and testing scenarios, including web applications, mobile devices, and network infrastructure. Look for tools that comprehensively cover your organization's assets and infrastructure.
  2. Integration: CART tools should be able to integrate with your organization's existing security tools and systems, such as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions, and vulnerability management platforms.
  3. Automation: CART tools should be highly automated and able to run tests automatically and continuously. It will help to ensure that testing is comprehensive and ongoing without putting too much strain on IT resources.
  4. Customization: CART tools should allow the customization of test scenarios, attack vectors, and testing frequency. It will enable organizations to tailor testing to their specific needs and business processes.
  5. Reporting: CART tools should provide detailed reporting and analytics, including vulnerability identification, remediation recommendations, and risk scoring. Look for tools with customizable dashboards and visualizations to help track progress and identify trends.
  6. Support: CART tools should provide adequate support, including documentation, training, and technical support. Ensure that the tool vendor offers ongoing support and maintenance, as well as updates and patches to address new vulnerabilities and attack vectors.
  7. Cost: CART tools vary widely in price, depending on their features and capabilities. Consider your organization's budget and resources when choosing a CART tool, and look for the ones that offer good value for money.

Continuous automated red teaming best practices

There are several best practices that organizations should follow to get the most out of a continuous automated red teaming program. Here are some of them:

  1. Define clear objectives: Before starting a CART program, it's crucial to define clear objectives and goals. Doing so will help to ensure that testing is focused and relevant and that the results are actionable.
  2. Involve stakeholders: CART programs should involve stakeholders from across the organization, including IT, security, and business teams. Participation will help ensure that testing aligns with business goals and that the team appropriately prioritizes remediation efforts.
  3. Conduct regular risk assessments: CART programs should include regular risk assessments, which can help identify areas of the infrastructure most vulnerable to attack. The team should conduct risk assessments continuously to keep up with changing threat landscapes.
  4. Use real-world attack scenarios: CART programs should use realistic attack scenarios that simulate the tactics and techniques of real-world attackers. Doing so will help ensure that testing is relevant and the team identifies vulnerabilities before real attackers can exploit them.
  5. Implement remediation processes: CART programs should incorporate robust remediation processes based on the severity of identified vulnerabilities. The team should track remediation efforts to ensure that vulnerabilities are addressed promptly.
  6. Monitor and analyze results: CART programs generate a large amount of data, including alerts and notifications about potential vulnerabilities and attacks. It's essential to have processes in place to monitor these results and analyze them for trends and insights.
  7. Conduct ongoing training: CART programs should be accompanied by continuing training and awareness programs for employees. It can help to reduce the risk of human error and improve overall security posture.


Continuous automated red teaming is a powerful approach to security testing that can help organizations stay ahead of emerging threats and proactively identify and address vulnerabilities. By continuously simulating attacks and testing defenses, organizations can improve their security posture, enhance their incident response capabilities, and reduce the risk of a successful attack. However, implementing a successful continuous automated red teaming program requires careful planning, the right tools and resources, and a commitment to ongoing improvement and evolution.

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