Cyber Range Blue Team Defensive Playbook

December 17, 20233 min read

Playbook Objectives:

  • To enhance the defensive capabilities of the Blue Team against advanced cyber threats.
  • To validate the effectiveness of current security controls and incident response procedures.
  • To identify potential security weaknesses and improve overall cybersecurity posture.
  • To provide hands-on experience in a safe, simulated environment that mimics a real-life cyber attack.
  • To increase team coordination, communication, and reaction time during a security incident.

Difficulty Level:

  • Intermediate to Advanced


Company Profile:
  • Name: FinTech Secure Inc.
  • Industry: Financial Technology
  • Size: 500 employees
  • Network: Consists of an on-premise data center, multiple branch offices connected via VPN, and a cloud deployment using IaaS and SaaS models.
  • Background: FinTech Secure Inc. has recently been the target of multiple phishing attempts and has noticed an uptick in abnormal traffic being picked up by their IDS. They are concerned that they might become victims of a more sophisticated attack, such as an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) or a ransomware campaign designed to breach financial data.
  • The CTO has mandated an exercise to assess the readiness of their security team (the Blue Team) and to fortify their defense against such high-stake threats. This exercise is part of their proactive approach to cybersecurity, ensuring that proper protocols and responses are in place should a real incident occur.


  • Incident Response and Management
  • Threat Detection and Analysis
  • Network Defense
  • Endpoint Protection
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Integration

Exercise Attack Steps:

  1. Reconnaissance:
    • The adversary begins with information gathering on FinTech Secure Inc., looking for public-facing IPs, employee details, and potential vulnerabilities in their web applications.
  2. Initial Compromise:
    • The adversary successfully spear-phishes a high-level employee with access to sensitive databases, gaining initial access to the network.
  3. Establish Foothold:
    • The adversary uses the compromised credentials to log into the employee’s remote VPN account, setting up a backdoor for persistent access.
  4. Escalate Privileges:
    • The adversary exploits an unpatched vulnerability on an internal server to obtain administrative rights.
  5. Internal Reconnaissance:
    • With escalated privileges, the adversary performs internal reconnaissance, mapping out the financial data infrastructure.
  6. Move Laterally:
    • The adversary moves laterally across the network, installing custom malware on critical systems that monitor financial transactions.
  7. Maintain Presence:
    • To maintain presence within the network, the adversary deploys rootkits and schedules tasks to periodically exfiltrate data.
  8. Complete Mission:
    • The ultimate goal of the adversary is to siphon out sensitive financial data and disrupt operations by encrypting critical files for ransom.
  9. Discovery and Response:
    • The Blue Team is alerted by SIEM alerts indicating unusual activity, thereby starting the defensive playbook exercise.
  10. Eradication and Recovery:
    • The Blue Team works to contain and eradicate the threat, performing necessary actions such as isolating compromised systems, revoking access, and deploying patches.
  11. Post-Exercise Analysis:
    • The team gathers for a complete debrief, analyzing the defensive measures taken, their effectiveness, and areas needing improvement. They develop a comprehensive report on the exercise with updated guidelines for future responses.