Cybersecurity has become a major concern today, given the speedy growth of security breaches and data-motivated technologies. Leading industry analysts predict that this trend will persist for a long time considering the current state of cybersecurity. As such, threat modeling is needed to prevent malicious attacks and protect your valuable data from being stolen.
Through constantly threat modeling applications, the cyber threat analyst and other security teams can better safeguard crucial applications while training the development team and promoting a security awareness culture throughout the organization. Threat modeling can also be applied to various applications, including software components, networks, systems, business processes, and IOTs.
What is Threat Modeling?
Threat modeling is the method of prioritizing your network security by identifying high-risk threats or vulnerabilities and creating security mitigations that protect sensitive data and intellectual property and prevent cyberattacks’ negative influences against your system.
Depending on the type of data that is breached, the sensitivity of the assets being compromised, or the number of records exfiltrated, cyberattacks can easily cost your organization millions of dollars in business loss, legal costs, and mitigation—this why you need to include several processes and aspects into your threat modeling scheme.
Without including one of these components into your threat modeling process, you’ll have incomplete models, which will prevent you from effectively addressing those threats. These components include cyber threat intelligence, mitigation capabilities, threat mapping, risk assessment, and asset identification.
How to perform threat modeling?
The following are the steps that will help you build a scalable and repeatable threat modeling process that can easily be applied across your organization at any scale.
Identify, prioritize, and focus on high-risk threats
The first step to an effective threat modeling is identifying the risks potential threats pose to your organization. You need to build a threat library that is exclusive to your organization. This will allow the certified threat intelligence analyst to prioritize and direct mitigation resources on high-risk software components, vulnerabilities, and threats.
Identify mitigation approach
The next step is to recognize how to mitigate the threat. You can either apply relevant security requirements in the code, thus tackling the issue at its source. Or you can include a security control to mitigate the threat before it gets to the source by using firewalls, WAF, SSO, and so on. Security requirements have been the basis for building security in the system, and these requirements specify what must not be permitted to happen and the system’s course of action.
From the viewpoint of security, it is crucial to identify the risks and threats to the organization; however, the core interest is the security requirements needed to mitigate a certain threat from the developer’s viewpoint.
Identify potential adversaries and threats
A cyber intelligence analyst must be able to identify potential threats and assess unanticipated events to competently implement the security and establish the validity of the system they develop. You need to create an adversary-based threat model that can help you recognize possible threats and malicious attackers trying to compromise your device.
The best practice to understand the mind of a malicious actor is to build abuse cases. The purpose of this is to develop mitigating regulators and offer developers with accurate knowledge regarding the system’s behavior.
Reporting and operationalizing
After you have collected all the relevant information necessary to establish your system’s security requirements, you should create a report that accurately captures the leading threats, either from an enterprise or application perspective. Both the decision-makers and stakeholders should gather to review the effectiveness of threat modeling.
Reporting offers an accountable and measurable state of application security monitoring, which allows the smooth observation of trends in the application security profile. Additionally, threat modeling should be assessed from an operationalization perspective. This suggests that the threat modeling process be designed to tackle thousands, hundreds, and even tens of applications. Also, they must be updated continuously rationally.
Threat Modeling Methodologies
There are different methodologies available for performing threat modeling. The type of threat you’re trying to model and its purpose would determine the right methodology to use. Some of the popular threat modeling methodologies include:
This is applied as part of the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) with the Threat modeling Tool. STRIDE is an acronym for Spoofing, Tampering, Repudiation, Information Disclosure, Denial of Service (DoS), and Elevation of Privilege.
This is an attacker-focused methodology built to correlate technical requirements with business objectives. PASTA stands for Process for Attack Simulation and Threat Analysis
This is a risk-centric approach with exceptional execution and risk-management tool. Its complete version is implemented to build a risk model based on actions, assets, calculated risk exposure, and roles.
The Visual, Agile, and Simple Threat (VAST) Modeling method is based on ThreatModeler, an automated threat-modeling platform.
The DREAD methodology is a quantitative risk analysis that rates, compares, and prioritizes a cyber threat’s severity.
The Operationally Critical Threat, Asset, and Vulnerability Evaluation (OCTAVE) model is a risk-based strategic assessment and planning method for cybersecurity.
Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is a standardized threat scoring model developed by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and applied to known vulnerabilities.
- Security Cards
- Quantitative TMM
- Attack trees
Threat modeling tools
Different software tools are available to assist with threat modeling. The best threat modeling tool permits key stakeholders to visualize, design, plan for, and predict potential internal and external threats to the organization. Threat modeling tools have been developed to meet the ever-shifting demands of the threat environment.
The following are the three most popular tools used to perform threat modeling
Microsoft threat modeling tool
Microsoft initially launched its first threat modeling tool in 2008 called Microsoft SDL, which was later replaced with Microsoft TMT. This tool is a DFD-Based approach that identifies threats based on the STRIDE threat categorization model (a Microsoft model for identifying potential threats).
Microsoft threat modeling tool adopts data flow diagrams, which is a tactic initially implemented for threat modeling in 1970. However, this method oversimplifies the complex nature of modern security requirements for data since the world has adopted cloud technologies, microservices architecture, and API ecosystems.
This tool is based on the VAST threat modeling methodology. ThreatModeler is developed for current DevOps teams by means of advanced technologies and agile methodologies, which is so unlike Microsoft TMT. Likewise, unlike Microsoft TMT, which overlooks operational threat modeling, ThreatModeler supports this feature.
The purpose of operational threat modeling is to build a rounded assessment of the whole IT infrastructure by the operations teams. Moreover, each threat model can be bound together in a way that makes recommending priority to your threat model applications more accurate and simpler.
Furthermore, ThreatModeler gives room for several departments to work together with the cyber intelligence analyst, CISOs, and other security experts to produce an all-inclusive threat scheme that integrates various views.
OWASP Threat Dragon
This is a free, open-source threat modeling web-based application that includes a rule engine and system diagramming to auto-generate threats and mitigations.
About EC-Council’s Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) Program
The Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) Program offered by EC-Council is a method-driven Threat Intelligence course that applies a holistic tactic, including concepts from planning the threat intelligence project and building a report to distributing threat intelligence. CTIA is an extremely interactive, standards-based, comprehensive, and intensive 3-day training program that imparts information security professionals with the knowledge needed to design and implement a professional threat intelligence. For more information, visit our course page now.