What Is Threat Modeling in Cybersecurity? A Brief Introduction

What Is Threat Modeling in Cybersecurity

A growing number of enterprises are using threat modeling to improve their applications’ security architecture. But what is threat modeling in cybersecurity? In battling digital attackers, businesses have to gather security intelligence if they hope to defend and counter cybersecurity threats. Threat modeling refers to the process of identifying, understanding, and communicating risks and mitigation to protect something of value.

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Threat modeling basics include looking into your areas of vulnerability and the most probable types of attacks you could encounter. On top of that, it explores things the company could do to safeguard itself against those threats. Threat modeling is most effective in the early stages of the development cycle. The idea is to catch them early and find remedies, preventing costlier fixes later.

Today’s approach to threat modeling has shifted from simply fortifying a company’s defenses to figuring out the potential attacker’s perspective. Understanding your attacker’s mindset can be quite useful in a cybersecurity war.

The Three Threat Modeling Steps

The threat modeling process in cyber security will often include these three steps:

Step #1: Decompose and Diagram

This step involves understanding the basic functionalities of an application, including how it interacts with the system and outside sources. It is similar to using a fortress’ blueprints to map out its surroundings, particularly, every one of its entry points.

Step #2: Identify Common Threats

This stage involves narrowing the list of potential threats to the ones most likely to occur. Microsoft’s STRIDE technique is the most popular of the threat modeling tools. It covers an array of web security threats, including tampering, information disclosure, elevation-of-privilege, denial-of-service, repudiation, and spoofing.

Step #3: Mitigate and Counter

This last step involves a layer-by-layer assessment of the threats. Your security experts address the risks identified, from the most potent to the least likely. This step may also include developing damage control policies like adopting new information policies, revamping asset control, and adding security headers.

Threat Modeling Automation

As your business grows, it may become necessary to automate its threat modeling process. Enterprises with large application portfolios require repeating threat modeling processes more often because they face an ever-growing number of threats. Automation also streamlines threat modeling processes, allowing your cybersecurity team to focus on the threats that require individualized attention.