Red team support of SOF in the war on terrorism - part 2

The trip to the infil point was uneventful. The blacked-out Hilux took the rocks on the road pretty well, however the operators on the back of the small pickup truck felt every one of them.

Once they reached the infil point, the vehicle slowed down just enough for them to jump out and seek cover by the side of the road. There they stayed for half an hour, completely still. Hearing. Smelling. Sensing.

The point man signaled with his hand to the other two that it was time to move. He consulted his GPS and made a note on his map. Then the three rose and began moving slowing. Each step carefully taken, sensing the ground underneath. They needed to recover the laptop, the antenna and the solar battery. The gear was placed there the night before by the same team. One of the members of the group was a red team member. His team was tasked with gathering electronic and digital intelligence on a suspected enemy building. Once the intelligence was collected and analyzed, the red team members would then create a support digital package for the SOF unit they were attached to, and would ultimately provide real-time digital support for an attack.

At the TOC, the rest of the red team members were already dissecting the information uploaded only minutes ago from the laptop. The system was preprogrammed to capture information about RF signals, paying attention to WiFi and Bluetooth connections, for 24 hours, then it would compress everything and send it back to the TOC. This would allow the team to not only learn what was being leaked from the building, but in some cases it could allow them to break the Wireless security of any access point they might have.

The lead analyst, a very experienced hacker and cryptographer, was sorting through the information when the call from the field team was heard over the comm: Laptop retrieved, en route to TOC. The four men red team was composed of a mix of talents with different backgrounds. There was the leader, the team member on the field, a former sniper turned infosec professional. The main analyst, an MIT hacker with a talent for finding loopholes on everything. The surveillance expert, a late 50′s former LE officer with no computer experience. And finally, the young 18 year old programming genius, able to code programs for everything, from a unix box to a complete reprogramming of a PSC-5. The only members of the team going to the field were the team leader and the surveillance expert. The rest had no experience in field work and could be a liability to the SOF unit they were attached to.

When the field team arrived, they headed straight for the TOC to unload the laptop and other digital and surveillance gear there. The three men group was soaked from head to toe. It was a cold and wet night, with a combination of rain and snow falling constantly. Not a fun environment to be working on, however it suited the team, chances where the enemy were nice and dry inside their building and not paying attention to what was going on around them. They were dressed with the latest in hybrid technology, a mix of soft and hard shell clothing.

Over the next 48 hours, the red team would get no sleep. While a small team of operators maintained eyes on the target, the digital operators analyzed all the intel gathered. They checked the wireless signals and found it breakable, they carefully review guards and patrols patterns, the analyzed the radio calls intercepted during the digital recon. A plan was drafted. Once that included a digital disruption of operations at the enemy site and full control over their systems. These were not top of the line servers and network devices, yet they were sophisticated enough that could be trusted by the bad guys.

That was about to change.

After a couple hours of sleep and a good coffee, the red team leader grabbed his laptop and headed toward the CO tent. He fired up the presentation and carefully walked the CO and his top sergeants through the whole plan. Slide by slide. Some of the sergeants poke holes in the plan and a new one was drafted. At the end of the 90 minutes long meeting the CO was smiling.

The red team was assembled and the leader explained the plan. Each member now was tasked with a specific action. Each action has to be performed at the exact moment for the plan to work.

To simplify, the plan called for the complete take over of the building’s network and servers, and the main comms. These were found to be linked to one of their servers. This would start immediately. Once this was achieved, the attacking SOF team would insert and make its way towards the site. The attack would commence by ensuring complete disruption of both the terrorists comms and their network capabilities. At that moment the two different field teams would attack from two sides. The red team, controlling the digital aspects of the site, would issue orders over the comms to the enemy sending them over to the wrong side of the compound.

The raid was successful.

(Note: the post appears also on SOFREP)