Recognizing the security risks your systems are facing is just one method to mitigate potential weaknesses as part of an overall risk management strategy. On by itself, awareness of security threats isn’t enough to safeguard against attacks.

IT and security teams should go even further by using threat modeling, which allows them to analyze and defend themselves against the many dangers they face in a planned and proactive manner.

Read on for a detailed overview of the concept behind what threat modelling is and how it functions with the top threat modelling tool and frameworks and the best methods to get the most benefit from threat modelling.

What is a “Threat”?

The term “threat” refers to an individual or group of people often referred to by the name Threat Actors who see there may be value in taking on the solution. Different Threat actors will possess different levels of motivation and abilities to exploit vulnerabilities.

The ability to exploit a vulnerability will be determined by factors like: knowing its the vulnerability’s existence, the level of access required , and any mitigations implemented.

For the purposes of discussion, we’ll take the following threat Actors:

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) Highly skilled Highly motivated, with a high capacity. These include directly state-sponsored organizations or indirectly national-sponsored, e.g. certain OCGs.

Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) They have varying capabilities, differing motivations, limited capacity. Non-state-sponsored groups.

Motivated External Individuals – Variable capabilities, motivations and limited capacity. Variable the level of sponsorship.

Internal Threats – People with direct control over the development the implementation, operation, or use or operation.

What is Threat Modeling?

Threat modeling is an approach based on risk and engineering to identifying, evaluating and managing security threats in the hope of implementing and developing better IT and software systems in line with the company’s goals in terms of security and risk. It is possible to break it into distinct phases:

Threat detection: Teams begin threat modeling by asking themselves what potential threats their systems might be susceptible to.

Threat assessment: Once they have identified threats, teams assess each threat to determine if they could be real threats and also what the consequences of such an attack could be.

Plan for mitigation: Once threats are thoroughly evaluated the business decides what actions it should be taking to prevent any risk from becoming an attack that is successful.

Implementation of mitigation strategies: Strategies for mitigation can be put in the place to offer an active defense against dangers.

Feedback and improvements: The final step is to assess how the overall threat modeling process performed, then taking steps to enhance it. If the team was unable to recognize certain kinds of threats that resulted in attacks, or did not implement the appropriate measures to mitigate threats This issue could be rectified.

Following this procedure, organizations are able to adopt a systematic, organized approach to identifying dangers within the development process of their software. They also have the capability to react quickly to threats that could impact their systems, instead of waiting for a real attack to plan the response.

Threat modeling could be used to analyze any kind or IT resource. It is possible to perform threat modeling on servers, applications as well as on-premises systems as well as public cloud, and more.

Threat modelling can be utilized to manage all kinds of threats. It can be used to tackle any type of threat. DDoS and ransomware attacks , to insecure threats and accidental leakage of data Threat modelling is effective in helping to stay ahead of threats before they cause an active security incident.

However, threat modeling methods can differ based on the kind of resource you are using and the threats you are considering. For instance, the techniques for managing threats in on-prem environments are different in a number of ways from those used for public cloud, because sharing responsibility models that is in use with Cloud Service providers, thereby necessitating a different mitigation strategy.

What are the reasons for is it that there is a need for Threat Modelling?

Through enabling a consistent, well-organized reaction to threats from security threat modeling can provide a variety of advantages.

Threat Prioritization

Certain threats are more significant than others. For instance, a threat to a test or dev environment might not be as significant as one that can affect an enterprise system. Analyzing the potential impact of each threat can help teams decide which threats to focus on in mitigation.

Proactive Response

As previously mentioned threat modeling allows companies to adopt an proactive approach to managing threats. instead of having to wait for an attack happen and only responding later to it, they are an inch ahead of the attackers.

Recognizing New Threat Types

The threat landscape evolves constantly as hackers find new vulnerabilities and come up with new methods to exploit. In giving teams the ability to step back and evaluate existing threats that could be affecting their security, threat modeling helps companies stay ahead of new threats they would have not anticipated.

Improvement in Security Posture

Sometimes, the best method to reduce a risk is to alter the design of your system. For instance, perhaps you’ve got a public-facing site that can be hidden behind a firewall to reduce the security risks associated with networks. In such instances threat modeling can help businesses adopt measures to strengthen their security posture in the first place and minimize their threat surface.

Resource Efficiency – More Effective Use of Resources

Resources to support IT security are invariably limited. In enabling a consistent approach to threat management threat modeling helps companies get maximum security from the available resources.

Communication

Threat modelling makes it much easier for teams to discuss threats in a uniform, central manner. Instead of focusing on threats that may affect the specific system they oversee each team of developers and engineers can share information on threat assessment and information across the entire organization and work together to reduce the effects of these threats.

Proudly affirmed their commitment to security

The act of conducting threat modeling can show that the company is taking security seriously. This can be crucial in the context of auditing and compliance particularly when the compliance requirements include rules that require companies to take reasonable steps to safeguard sensitive data and software.

5 Threat Modelling Best Practices

The most effective and efficient methods of threat analysis are based on a variety of core best practices.

Work with other teams

In many organizations, IT organizations are divided into teams that are dispersed each with their own systems and resources.

Instead of allowing each team to build their own threat models and reduce threats as required be sure to work with the entire organization to develop threat models. It’s likely that at the very least certain of the threats one team is confronted with also affect teams in other departments. Collaboration in threat modelling allows the efficient use of resources, as well as providing teams with insights that could lead to more effective mitigation of threats.

Examine Threats in a Collective Way

It is also the case that a threat directed at one resource may cause an indirect threat to an additional resource. For instance threats to an application may also affect the data that the application accesses when attackers breach the application.

This is why it’s essential to look at threats as a whole rather than individually. Consider the possible dangers of each one based not only on the principal assets it could threaten as well as the total harm it may create for the company.

Also, you should make sure you are taking steps to reduce the threat at all levels. If an attack on security in the application causes an unintentional threat the security of your data such as, for instance taking steps within your application as well as your data to mitigate the risk. It is possible to make two-factor authentication mandatory on the application to limit the possibility of a breach, as well as implementing off-site backups of your data, so that you’ll have a backup that is clean in the event of an incident that permits attackers to gain access to the data and then hold the data for ransom.

Consider the Threats in a comprehensive manner.

It is tempting to concentrate threat modelling on the threats that have been that have been the subject of recent, high-profile attacks or on threats which your company has had to face previously. However, the best threat modeling approach is one that requires the identification of every threat that could affect the company, regardless of the level of newsworthyness or whether it’s ever been a live threat previously.

When you identify threats, take a look not just at cybersecurity blogs to find coverage of recent security breaches, but also threat intelligence databases and reports that offer information on the types of threats your security team might not have otherwise considered.
Use Threat Modeling to predict the future early in the development lifecycle

The ideal time to develop threat models is during the initial stages of an application development sprint. It’s quite simple to construct resistance to threats into your system.

If you delay until you’ve completed your program as well (worse) until it’s been put into production, you’ll probably realize that it’s harder to put in place the right security measures. This could require modifications in your program, meaning you’ll need to rebuild, test and redeploy which is which is a (potentially) lengthy and time-consuming process that can be costly and time-consuming.

Think Beyond Apps

When you are performing threat modeling it is possible to be focused on the applications and not consider the larger context within which they operate. Since applications tend to be at the forefront of the user experience. the rest is just an additional backdrop.

When it concerns security, a risk at any level of your infrastructure and at any phase of your development can lead to an attack. It’s the reason you should be thinking not only about your apps, but concerning threats to cloud infrastructure or servers that host the applications. If you’re deploying your applications in containers, you’ll need to consider the threat to container registry services containers, images for containers and container orchestration tools too. Don’t overlook security threats that could affect your data, for example, incorrectly installed IAM roles that open your cloud storage bins to the world at large.

Threat Modelling Methodologies

There are a variety of methods readily available to help teams build their threat modelling procedures:

Attack trees: Using this method, you represent your threats as a series of pathways (or trees) that determine the resources that are affected by the attack that is associated with every threat. Attack trees can be useful for when you have an extensive and highly interdependent set resources and want to determine what threats direct and indirect affect each.

Security cards: The security card method is an open-ended approach for threat modelling. It’s based upon the 42 cards that pose questions about the threats that an company is facing. Through the use of cards, teams can think about the threats they are facing, and also strategies to mitigate them.

PASTA Short in the form of Process to Identify Threats Simulation as well as Threat Analysis The PASTA technique is designed to help teams evaluate threats in the context of their business objectives. It begins with identifying objectives of the business and the technological resources required to meet these objectives. Teams then determine what dangers could be affecting these resources and, in turn they discover risks that could jeopardize business goals.

STRIDE: STRIDE is a reference to Spoofing, Tamperingand Repudiation and Information Disclosure Denial of Service, and Privilege Escalation. Each term refers to a specific type of threat that is broadly defined. The fundamental idea behind the STRIDE strategy is to separate threats into different types and then react to each threat in accordance with the category it is in.

Threat Modelling Tools

Threat modelling tools incorporate the essential tools for analyzing, identifying and reducing the threat of one platform. Some of the key features you should expect from an application for threat modelling include:

Threat intelligence data: Threat intelligence contains data about threats that are known to exist. It’s usually gathered from large vulnerability databases, like the NIST National Vulnerability Database and MITRE’s Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification (CAPEC).

Threat visualization: Many threat modeling tools have visualization tools, for example, diagrams that show threats in various parts in the IT environment, which can aid teams in understanding threats.

Monitoring of threats: Features like dashboards, enable teams to keep track of threats they have identified, and confirm that the threats have been successfully managed.

Reporting: Through the creation of reports about threats, businesses can monitor their threat identification and their mitigation effectiveness.

Numerous software providers offer tools that are designed to aid teams with threat modeling. Microsoft Threat Modelling Tool, an online Windows desktop application is a popular choice. ThreatModeler is a comparable threat modeling platform that’s web-based . The Threat Dragon and Pytm tools are popular open-source threat modelling tools.

Threat Modelling Use Cases

To better understand how to apply threat modeling into practice it is helpful to walk through some common instances and examples of modeling in practice.

Cloud Threat Modelling

When you transfer your applications from the on-premise to clouds, security threats that you are exposed to can drastically. Problems related to a security issues with physical security generally disappear, but new threats, such as unsecure IAM configurations are created.

Teams can employ threat modeling for cloud environments to determine and address the threats that affect the workloads after and during cloud migration. This way, cloud threat modeling can help them anticipate threats that they might not otherwise be able to tackle in the event that they follow the same security approach they had on their own.

Network Threat Modelling

Network-borne threats vary greatly in terms of scope and nature based on the way networks are set up and the amount of exposure they are exposed to the internet’s public. Cloud-based services such as virtual networks adds an additional layer of complexity to security threats to networks.

The threat modeling that is focused on the network is an approach to assessing and addressing these dangers. It can also assist teams to understand the security weaknesses and strengths of their network’s architecture and then take steps to make improvements.

Threat Modeling for Containers

Transferring workloads away from virtual machines and into containers also poses new risks like the possibility for malware to infiltrate containers’ images or bypass security controls for accessing registry. Modeling these threats can help teams to recognize, comprehend and mitigate the specific threats that could be a threat to containers.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, threat modelling helps businesses stay ahead of security threats, regardless of how many forms the risks take or what sources they are addressing. Although threat modeling requires an upfront investment but it is a huge payoff by allowing teams to be proactive in responding to threats that, if unchecked, can lead to expensive attacks.