Denial and Inflation

by Red Team Journal on October 23, 2014

Red teaming is useful for articulating the possible. That said, when something is possible it doesn’t mean it’s likely; it just means it can be done or it could happen. The following questions are among those that still need to be answered.

  • Is it economical, and to whom?
  • Is it feasible, and to whom?
  • Is it preferable, and to whom?
  • How likely is it to be undertaken, and by whom?
  • How likely is it to succeed?
  • What consequences are likely to ensue?
  • How easy is it to counter?
  • How expensive is it to counter?
  • Will the possible responses lead to other advantages or disadvantages, and to whom?

Simply admitting it’s possible, then, is only the first step, but it’s a very important one. Read on …

The Con and the Hypercon

by Mark Mateski on October 18, 2014

For those of you who missed our presentation at BlackHat this year, let me introduce you to three terms I use to characterize deception:

  • Eye-to-eye: A game in which both (all) players see the same game. No players assume that any other player sees anything different.
  • Con: A game in which at least one player holds a perceptual advantage over the others.
  • Hypercon: A game in which at least one player sees through the con and thus holds a perceptual advantage over the “conning” players.

Note that any of these perceptions can be wrong, which can make things very interesting. The potential for the con and hypercon (perceived and misperceived) always exists. Sophisticated strategists and red teamers look to guard against and exploit the possibilities inherent in this potential.

The Will to Win

October 18, 2014

Here’s another post from the RTJ archive, this time from Dec. 2003. It nicely complements my piece on the 2003 decision to go to war. I think the ideas in “The Will to Win” hold up well today, though I have to admit I’ve grown more cynical in the intervening 11 years.       While most observers […]

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On Red Teaming and Leadership

October 17, 2014

If you’ve been reading RTJ lately, you’ll have noticed that we’ve emphasized leadership as a critical aspect of succesful red teaming. Even the most brilliant and inspired red teaming is useless without intrepid leadership. (See, for example, RTJ Red Teaming Law #35.) In fact, we believe it’s better to have mediocre red teaming and outstanding […]

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Sometimes Chicken Little’s Right

October 15, 2014

As everyone now knows, Ebola is a confirmed risk in the United States. Whether you regard the current stream of Ebola news as “Chicken Little” hysterics or not, you’d be foolish to ignore it entirely. Remember, most risk practitioners define risk as the product of likelihood and consequence. In this case, the likelihood is going […]

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The Retrograde Strategy

October 15, 2014

In today’s fast-moving competitive environment, we often suffer from short-term thinking. For example, we tend to leap at the next great thing (with all its proverbial bells and whistles) before we appreciate the cost, performance, and technical risks. Yes, taking risks can pay off, but taking uninformed risks is a formula for down-the-road pain, even […]

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The ‘Guerilla Red Team’

October 15, 2014

Our friends at have introduced an interesting new feature on their site: the “Guerilla Red Team.” They will be collecting and sharing red teaming stories, filtered and edited for OPSEC concerns. Join in the fun here.

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Three New Red Teaming Laws

October 14, 2014

If you haven’t seen them yet, here are our three most recent Red Teaming Laws: Law #35 (“Lion”): Behind every successful red team stands a leader who will not bend to whim, coercion, or fear. We need this sort of leader as much as we need superior red teamers. Card. Law #36 (“The Nap”): Complacency […]

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A Father’s Lament

October 10, 2014

My second daughter was born in 2001. As long as she can remember, the United States has been at war. If she’d been born in, say, August 1941, she might not even remember V-J Day; she’d just be turning four. Now she’s 13. For her, U.S. troops engaged overseas is the norm, and she’s worried […]

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Why You Need a Joe Sutter

October 7, 2014

Joe Sutter was the chief engineer on the Boeing 747. He worked hard; stuck by his guns under fire; and consistently did what he thought was right, even when doing so risked his job. His account of the design and building of the 747 is a must read, not just for engineers but for managers […]

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