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Everything You Need to Know About Threat Modeling in IT

By February 16, 2022No Comments10 min read
Threat Modeling in IT

Security breaches are becoming more common with time. Cybercriminals are always looking for methods to steal business data. No business in this world is free from vulnerabilities. Some organizations are suffering from structural vulnerabilities. Also, many organizations are suffering from an absence of good security controls. The security risk assessment will help you in revealing vulnerabilities present in your network. You need to address these vulnerabilities. It is important to fix these vulnerabilities. Threat modeling will help you in solving this problem. It will help you in protecting your network from attackers. In this article, we are going to talk about Threat modeling in IT.

What is Threat modeling?

Threat modeling will help you in identifying and locating security threats. You can quantify the criticality of these threats. It will also help you in prioritizing the mitigation actions. The main aim of threat modeling is to improve vulnerability management. You can effectively manage vulnerabilities by using threat modeling. It will help you in understanding how attacks work. You can understand the likely attack vectors by threat modeling. It will also help you in finding the systems that can be targeted.

Threat modeling will help you in finding systems that are most vulnerable. It will help you in detecting threats that are relevant to your business. You need to safeguard your business from these threats. Threat modeling generally has these two approaches:

  • Attacker approach: The exposure will be decided according to the threat landscape, attack instances, and attack strategies.
  • Vulnerability approach: The exposure will be determined according to the system vulnerabilities.

Sometimes there can be hundreds of vulnerabilities in a business. Thus, it is impossible to protect your business from all these vulnerabilities. If you are going for the attacker approach, then it will consider various attributes of individual attacks. This will help you in creating strategies according to the vulnerability priority.

Benefits of Threat modeling in IT 

  1. Threat modeling will help you in reducing the attack surface

Attack surface simply means the total number of vulnerabilities that are present in your enterprise environment. Threat modeling will help you in reducing your organization’s attack surface. It can be during the software development phase. Organizations should do a proactive evaluation of their network. Threat modeling can help you in reducing attack surface by:

  • Reducing complexity: Threat modeling will help you in breaking down software or system. You can check different perspectives by threat modeling. Software design can be refined, evaluated, and fixed with time. This will help you in preventing errors before you take your application to the production environment.
  • Creating a list of vulnerabilities: Threat modeling will help you in identifying and maintaining a list of vulnerabilities. This will help security vulnerabilities in taking the necessary steps. Your security professionals can help you in tackling these security vulnerabilities. Risks can be monitored and tracked with time.
  • Lowering risk exposure: You can’t find every risk and mitigate it. Organizations sometimes need to accept risk. They need to focus on controlling the negative effects of these risks. Threat modeling will help you in reducing the area of exposure. It will help you in minimizing the attack surface. You can use additional security features or tools for mitigating vulnerable components.
  1. Threat modeling helps in prioritizing threats

Threat modeling will help you in quantifying vulnerabilities and risks. It will help you in ensuring that you are focusing on the correct resources. Threat modeling will help you in minimizing your attack surface. It will help your organization in evaluating your purchase decision.

If you are thinking about if you should adopt a new tool or system, then threat modeling will help you in quantifying the security risks. It will help you in making an informed and correct decision. You can check if the new tool is worth using. Threat modeling will help you in prioritizing fixes to legacy software. It will help you in finding cost-effective solutions for your business. You can mitigate risks by using threat modeling.

  1. It will help you in eliminating a single point of failure

Defense-in-depth is the best security principle that you can follow. According to this principle, you should use a layer view of security defensive tools. This will help you in protecting your assets from attackers. You can reduce the chance of a cyber-attack by eliminating a single point of failure from your system. Organizations should use different controls for protecting their data.

Threat modeling will help you in identifying entry points where vulnerabilities can exist. It will also provide validation to your current IT security strategy and controls.

  1. It will help you in understanding the cyber kill chain

The cyber kill chain was developed in Lockheed Martin by their incident response team. It outlines the steps that an external attacker will follow for exploiting any network. This strategy will help you in breaking down the individual steps. You will understand the actions that the attacker can take. It will explain all the steps and tactics that you can follow for protecting your organization.

Threat modeling will also help you in breaking down software and systems. You can evaluate the risks. It will help you in identifying and mitigating these risks. Thus, thread modeling is required in every stage of the cyber kill chain strategy. You can use this strategy for protecting your network from attackers.

  1. It will help you in improving your business security posture

The main aim of any cybersecurity strategy is to improve your organization’s security posture. Threat modeling will help you in quantifying your security practices. You can document the important aspects of every IT asset that your organization is using. It will help you in protecting your IT assets. You will know about the available mitigations that you can use for protecting your business.

  1. It will help you in improving your application security

Threat modeling will help you in improving your application security. Most security tools will focus on controlling and monitoring risks. This will provide operational visibility to your business. Threat modeling can be used by developers for increasing visibility. They can protect the business from the most important cyber threats.

You can pair this strategy with QA practices. Threat modeling will help developers in gaining extra clarity into security issues. They can solve vulnerabilities before software goes to production. You can also follow key threat mitigation strategies for protecting your applications.

When should your business perform threat modeling? 

There are various opinions on when you should use threat modeling. According to some security experts, you should do it during the software design life cycle only. However, some believe that you can include it in the design stage activity. Some experts think that this should be an optional exercise. Many people still think that it is a substitute for penetration testing or code review.

You can use threat modeling at any phase you want. It will help you in assessing your security postures. Threat modeling will help you in uncovering design flaws. You can use it for discovering flaws in your environments and systems also.

If you want to find potential threats to your environment or systems, then you should go with threat modeling. It will also help you in understanding the current issues in your security posture, strategy, or architecture. You can use it for finding gaps in your security strategy.

Threat modeling methodologies 

There are various threat modeling methodologies available that you can use. Some of the common methodologies are:

  1. Stride

Stride is heavily used by Microsoft. It is a developer-focused methodology. STRIDE stands for Spoofing, tampering with data, repudiation, information disclosure, dos, and elevation of privilege. You need to try all these scenarios. Thus, you need to try to tamper with your data and do a dummy DOS attack on your server. You also need to deal with access control.

  1. PASTA

This method mainly focuses on risks. There are seven steps in this method. The main aim of this methodology is to develop an asset-centric migration strategy. It will keep the attack-centric view of infrastructure, applications, and systems.

  1. TRIKE

In this methodology, you can use thread models as a tool that manages risk. You can use this methodology for satisfying the security audit process. It will help you in accurately and completely describing your system security characteristic. This is perfect for companies that are looking for a compliance-focused methodology.

  1. CVSS

The main aim of this framework is to provide a numerical score to vulnerabilities present in your network. It will help you in understanding the severity of these vulnerabilities. CVSS will help you in assigning a severity to your vulnerabilities. This will simplify the vulnerability management processes.

Steps of Threat modeling 

  1. Define your security requirements

You should understand what you want from the end of the threat modeling process. It is important to properly define your security requirements. You should know the assets that you want to protect. Also, you should have a rough estimate of the resources and time you have. You should have a clear understanding of your CIA triad goals. If your company has a specific compliance requirement, then you must keep it in your mind.

  1. Create visualization

It is important to document your system components. The main aim is to create a visual representation of your environment. This will help you in simplifying the entire thread modeling process. For example, you should have a diagram of your major system components. This will include things like database, data warehouse, and application server. You also need to identify your security controls, assets, and threat agents. Make sure that you are mentioning their location in the diagram.

  1. Identify the security threats

You need to find the potential attackers. Also, it is important to identify the security threats that attackers can use for compromising your IT assets. You can do this by analyzing your diagrams. The diagrams prepared in the old steps will help you in understanding the real or actual threats. You need to follow the threat agents. This will help you in visualizing how attackers can pass through your security controls. It will also help you in determining if your controls can stop the attacks. You can locate security gaps by doing this step.

  1. Mitigate the threats

The previous steps will help you in generating a list of threats. It will also give you access to a list of possible attacker profiles for every asset. You can understand the impact and likelihood of every threat. This will help you in arriving at your risk score. This risk score will help you in prioritizing threats. You can use your security controls after you have prioritized threats. If you have found new threats, then you can implement new security controls for dealing with them.

  1. Check if you have mitigated the threats

You also need to validate if you have properly mitigated the threats. If you find any new or residual threats, then you should identify and document them. Also, you should think about the next steps that will be required.

Conclusion 

Threat modeling can be applied in every area like home automation, vehicle safety, and IT security. It is a perfect tool that will help you in risk mitigation and vulnerability management. Threat modeling seems like an intimidating process in starting. However, you can break this process into small tasks. This will help you in simplifying the entire process. You should start with basics first and then improve with time.

The threat landscape will keep changing with time. Thus, threat modeling is important for you. Your security posture should change according to the threat landscape. The best way to improve your security posture is by working with a good MSP. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire will help you in protecting your business from attackers. They will create a unique IT security strategy for your business. Thus, you don’t need to worry about managing your own IT security. They will help you in following the threat modeling strategy for protecting your business. You don’t need to worry about manually performing threat modeling. If you need more information regarding IT security services, then you can contact Bleuwire.

Contact us today to learn about Bleuwire™  services and solutions in how we can help your business.

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