It’s a security group that IBM announced today, a team of white-hat hackers who will bombard a network or system to discover vulnerabilities. (IBM has been using the name X-Force for its security research team for a couple of years.)
Services will include penetration testing (attempting to break into an application or network), social engineering attempts, and hardware testing of end devices such as point-of-sale systems. You can interpret the latter as X-Force Red’s Internet of Things (IoT) angle.
The division boasts a cast of hundreds — including experts from industries such as healthcare and manufacturing — scattered in a dozens of locations, IBM says. It’s led by Charles Henderson, who joined IBM about a year ago from Trustwave, where he was vice president of security testing.
IBM is certainly not the only company doing penetration testing, but it’s an obvious direction for the company. IBM already delves into security, and with machine learning becoming a hot security topic, the company can also apply the heft of Watson to that area.
But the key behind X-Force Red is the human factor. As Henderson explains in IBM’s promo video, the group’s specialty is to use human ingenuity to spot the holes that tools wouldn’t find.