£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 14 November 2022 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more
The Attacker’s Objective
Skip main navigation

The Attacker’s Objective


When developing a red team versus blue team exercise it is important to specify the red team’s objective. The objective is the overall aim of the exercise and red teams may have more than one objective in an exercise. When organizations are starting out with red team/blue team exercises, they should limit objectives so that the exercise does not become overly complicated. Once the red team/blue team exercises become more established, the outcome of exercises with more complex and difficult objectives will become clearer. If both the red team and blue team are inexperienced and the red team is pursuing a set of complex objectives, it will be difficult to conclude whether the organizational infrastructure is indeed secure, or if the red team wasn’t organized or capable enough to be able to exploit vulnerabilities.

Attackers, and red teams, can have more than one objective in an exercise. When engaging red teams as penetration testers from outside the organization ensure that the objectives are clearly stated before the exercise begins. A red team/blue team exercise is different from a security audit, where an external group of penetration testers examines an organization’s configuration and generates a report detailing vulnerabilities and problems.

There are a set of common objectives that attackers pursue:

  • Persist presence
  • Steal data
  • Hackstortion
  • Ransomware
  • Coin miners
  • Destroy systems

We will define these common objectives below.

This article is from the free online

Microsoft Future Ready: Fundamentals of Enterprise Security

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education