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Red Teaming and the origins of anonymous hacking

Posted by Taylor Cheetham on Oct 30, 2020 4:13:21 PM
Taylor Cheetham
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Red Teaming and the origins of anonymous hacking

Red Teaming allows you to test your security, with zero fallout and is becoming an increasingly common strategy in organisations that really want to solidify their cyber security.

Red Teaming involves a series of challenges where experienced, ethical hackers can emulate scenarios that could compromise your security. Through Red Teaming, you can:

  • Discover new attack techniques while learning how professional hackers’ work
  • Test the effectiveness of your security technology, people and processes
  • Identify and address weaknesses in your detection and response capabilities
  • Improve strategies and update policies for the future
  • Gain insights on future security investments

Essentially, Red Team exercises allow you to assess your ability to thwart real attacks, identify gaps in your defences, and understand security risks accurately and in context.

So, where did this strategy start, and how did a mask from a movie become the symbol for anonymous hacking worldwide?

 

The (failed) gunpowder plot

Remember, remember, the 5th of November… the opening line of a famous poem which relates to Guy Fawkes – and is a famous phrase relating to bonfire night – a.k.a. Guy Fawkes night!

In some countries, Guy Fawkes Night is also known as Bonfire Night. Local communities to host bonfire parties and firework displays. These traditions are becoming more popular here in Australia too. And it all originated on 5th of November, 1605 with the failure of the Gunpowder Plot by a gang of Roman Catholic activists.

The group felt persecuted because of their religion. So, they plotted to blow up the Palace of Westminster and assassinate the King and his ministers, hoping this would lead to the freedom to practice their religion.

Guy (Guido) Fawkes was part of the group which smuggled 36 barrels of gunpowder into a cellar of the House of Lords. However, their plans were thwarted by an anonymous letter which was sent to William Parker, the 4th Baron Monteagle, warning him to avoid the House of Lords.

Authorities were called in, and poor old conspirator Guy Fawkes was found in the cellars preparing to set off the fuse. Fawkes was arrested, sent to the Tower of London and tortured until he gave up the names of his fellow plotters.

Phew… that’s quite a story!

 

Anonymous hacking

How is this related to Anonymous and Red Team hacking?

“Anonymous” is widely accepted as a ‘hacktivist’ group. Considering the group prides themselves on being just that – anonymous – they have a very recognisable and unique identifying feature!

Their symbol is a Guy Fawkes mask, made famous by the graphic novel and subsequent movie “V for Vendetta” and “The Watchman” series. The mask soon became common on online message boards and incognito forums.

As activists, they target those they accuse of misusing power, and they do so in very public ways, such as hijacking websites or forcing them offline. Some of their most well-known hacks include; Bank of America, Sony, Paypal, AAPT, and government websites. 

 

Test your security with our ethical hackers

Here at The Missing Link, we have award-winning ethical hackers that provide the ultimate security test for your organisation. Much like the anonymous group, they use a series of customised stealth-like physical and cyber manoeuvres to gain access to your most valuable assets without being detected.

If you’re interested in our holistic approach to assessing your organisation’s defences, then get in touch with us or learn more about our Red Teaming service here. 

 

If you liked this article, you may also like:

Should you outsource your Red Team operations?

Red Teaming: getting down to basics

Red Teaming and Penetration Testing: what’s the difference?

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Taylor Cheetham

Marketing Coordinator

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