Today’s cyberspace environment is one that’s evolving geometrically and as such, so are the threats that are part and parcel of any ecosystem. While thwarting cyberattacks is at the core of cybersecurity, being proactive rather than being reactive is the need of the hour. This is where threat modeling comes into play.
What Is Threat Modeling?
The process of threat modeling entails the identification of security threats and vulnerabilities. As a preventive tool, IT security specialists can make use of threat modeling to understand the severity of the identified threats and use appropriate techniques to mitigate the attacks. The threat modeling process is a concrete cyber defense methodology as it provides the threat modelers with the necessary avenues to safeguard the organization’s IT infrastructure.
Threat modeling process
The threat modeling process is a long-drawn one, comprised of a host of steps which can be applied to various threat modeling methodologies on a case-to-case basis. The threat modeling process is based on four basic principles from a cybersec professional’s perspective. These are:
- What is the project?
- What can go wrong?
- What steps to take to mitigate situations when they go wrong.
- Validation of the steps in the threat modeling process.
To address the above-mentioned principles, the threat modeling framework is comprised of four broad steps to help achieve the goal of threat identification and mitigation. These four steps include:
- Analyzing the application or the IT infrastructure.
- Threat determination.
- Ascertaining mitigation techniques and countermeasures.
- Threat ranking.
Importance of Threat Modeling
A well planned and implemented threat modeling process can provide an organization’s cybersecurity team a clear picture of the security situation, especially during the software development life cycle (SDLC). Properly executed threat modeling tools offer in-depth and continuous insight into possible threats and how to mitigate them. Threat modeling is the most effective way of preventive security measures, thus empowering cybersec professionals to put in place a robust cybersecurity strategy. Some of the salient threat modeling process advantages are:
- From a software perspective, threat modeling brings greater threat identification and mitigation clarity across the SDLC.
- Security requirements identification.
- Identify knowable threats and create preventive solutions, thus reducing the cost of redeployment.
- Helps identify critical organizational assets, threats posed to them, and take preventive measures to keep the assets secured.
Types of Threat Modeling
Although the threat modeling process seems to be a standalone one, yet there are multiple threat modeling variants that can be applied on a case-to-case basis. Let’s take a brief look at some of the most prominent threat modeling processes:
- STRIDE threat modeling
The STRIDE threat modeling process enables security teams to identify potential threats before an attack is carried out. This threat modeling methodology conforms to the CIA triad security directives (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability), while also considering Authentication, Authorization, and Non-Repudiation. Being a predictive threat modelling process, the STRIDE focuses on the ever-baffling question of “What can go wrong?”.
- PASTA threat modelling
Short for Process for Attack Simulation and Threat Analysis, PASTA threat modeling entails the implementation of security countermeasures against identified and known threats, security vulnerabilities, and attack vectors. PASTA play a sort of “profiling” role, thus enabling the security teams to delve into a cyber attacker’s perspective towards an organization’s IT infrastructure and online applications.
- DREAD threat modeling
The DREAD threat modeling process provides IT security professionals with a qualitative risk assessment tool that enables them to create a threat rating system based on threat analysis and risk probabilities. Unlike the previous threat modeling methodologies, DREAD gives a unique insight into the damage borne by an organization post-attack, thus enabling the teams to create damage assessments and contingency plans in the event of a similar attack in the future. The DREAD threat model helps in creating a threat severity rating index, from low and medium to high-risk categories.
- OCTAVE threat modeling
Developed at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in collaboration with CERT for the U.S. Department of Defense, the OCTAVE threat modeling process provides a self-operated risk assessment tool. This enables security professionals to understand the active state of organizational security, while identifying risks to critical operational assets.
Cyber threat modeling tools
While knowledge and experience play a key role in the threat modeling process, yet no amount of experience can replace the some of the most preferred threat modeling tools. These tools help to streamline the threat modeling process, while significantly reducing the resources required to build a high-impact threat modeling process. Let’s look at five of the most banked upon threat modeling tools.
Threat intelligence: One of the most essential tools for threat modeling, threat intelligence, essentially provides cybersec experts with a vast database of potential and existing threats that might pose a danger to an organization’s IT infrastructure. The threat intelligence database is created after a tedious collection effort for vulnerabilities and threats to similar systems across domains.
Threat dashboard: Staying one step ahead of the attackers is the key to a sound cybersecurity strategy and that’s where the threat dashboard comes into play. A threat dashboard offers a comprehensive overview of the data gathered via threat intelligence and enables the security teams to create preventive techniques.
EC-Council’s Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) Program
The Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) Program by EC-Council provides aspiring and current cybersecurity professionals looking to climb the ladder an expansive threat intelligence course that’s inclusive of the latest tactics and techniques to identify cyber threats and create adequate countermeasures. The cyber threat intelligence training certification course helps you transform into an integral part of a hunter-killer team, keeping your organization secure.