10 Barriers to Good Red Teaming (2003)

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Rough fenceEditor’s note: The following was first published on Red Team Journal in Jan. 2003.

A good red team gets inside the mind of your adversaries and tries to see the world as they do. To run a good red team, you need people who can do this, and–just as important–your team must be free to challenge the way you think. In other words, if you don’t want your adversaries to suprise you, you must first accept some measure of surprise from your red team. Here are 10 reasons why organizations fail to red team well:

  1. Arrogance. They can’t touch us. We won’t admit what we don’t know.
  2. Groupthink. It must be right because we all agree.
  3. Institutional inertia. That’s the way we’ve always done it. That’s someone else’s job.
  4. Mirror imaging. We do it this way, so do they.
  5. Cultural misperceptions. They think just like us. They want the same thing we want.
  6. Credulity. That’s what they say. That’s what our experts say.
  7. Denial. We don’t want to know. We don’t believe it.
  8. Preconceptions. That’s the way they’ve always done it. That’s what we expected to find.
  9. Technocentrism. If it’s not digitized, it doesn’t exist.
  10. Information hoarding. I’ll share, but only if you give me something in return.

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