5 Things to Do Before You Threat Model

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Threat modeling is vital for businesses trying to become proactive and deliberate in SDLC and CDLC with adequate application security. Security teams have started the new year planning ahead and discussing potential security risks to their organizations. To secure applications and systems, DevOps teams are turning to threat modeling. The activity enables them to identify security threats and set security controls to mitigate threats in the early stages of the design phase.

Dangers of Security Threats

Threats can generate from outside or within an organization, and they can have damaging, even devastating outcomes. Once a hacker has found a way to infiltrate an attack surface, they can compromise a system even further by targeting specific data objects. Cyberattacks can result in restricted IT systems, public disclosure of sensitive data, and added cost for remediation and fines by external regulating bodies. A data breach can also cause a loss of consumer trust in the organization.

Threat Modeling Helps to Inform Organizations About Security Threats

Threat modeling enables organizations to gain insights on security threats and help business stakeholders to make proactive decisions on how to mitigate these threats.

Modern-day threat modeling, such as with ThreatModeler, is automated and collaborative, closing the gap between security and other teams. Threat modeling is also important in streamlining security and making it as reliable as possible. In this article, you’ll discover what threat modeling is, how it relates to your organization, and the main steps to follow before you even start threat modeling.

Subtitle: What is Threat Modeling?

Previously, we defined threat modeling as a practice that helps to identify, prioritize and proactively prevent threats. Threat modeling is a process that organizations can apply to software and application development projects, IT ecosystems, cloud environments and virtually any system where cyber threats can exist. Additional examples include IoT embedded devices, and mobile and web applications.

Threat modeling encourages users to think like a cybercriminal. It empowers organizations to know the ins and outs of their attack surface, and develop software with security factors, rather than tackling security after it has been hacked. There are some common misappropriations that can instigate corporations to fail around the threat modeling process. Therefore, here are five things security teams need to consider before starting their next successful threat model.

Subtitle: 5 Things to Do Before You Threat Model

  1. Think like an attacker

When you threat model an application, the first thing you should consider is putting yourself in the attacker’s shoes. It is important to guess what an attacker might be thinking about or how they are planning to break into your system. The threat modeling process assesses an application from the standpoint of an attacker trying to obtain access to the system. This is a completely different scenario from code reviews and other procedures that take a cautious approach to gauging vulnerabilities.

  1. Gather relevant data

Utilize items such as verified use cases, data flow diagrams, architecture diagrams, and other design documentation. Bring any documented whiteboarding to the planning table. If you didn’t generate these pieces during the software’s development, provide what you’ve inherited. It is always advantageous to provide top-level architecture diagrams or data flow diagrams and a thorough interpretation to execute a systematic and complete evaluation. ThreatModeler will help to speed the process along, with its Library of components that describe IT systems and applications.

  1. Visualize the process

The practice of identifying and deciphering flaws in an architecture works best when organizations oversee processes due to the high level of understanding of their security teams. Not having trained IT departments can be a risk that organizations should not be willing to make. Once the threat modeling process has been reviewed, it is important to to not only bring in security professionals to perform a threat model that will strengthen the company’s system, but to ensure that DevOps teams can learn from it. An organization’s objective should be to have less reliance on security experts as all personnel keep drive security into the SDLC.

  1. Review “what if” scenarios

Identifying possible “what if” scenarios that are out of reach is probably one of the hardest activities when you threat model applications. What if an attacker hacks the company’s database? What if a ransomware attack takes place? How might a hacker infiltrate the system through vulnerabilities? These and many other questions arise when trying to research for a methodical threat modeling process. It might have been tough, but you’ve created a list of things that can go wrong in a system you haven’t built yet. It screams progress!

  1. Prioritize business-oriented benefits

It is important to make sure the results of a threat modeling process are business-oriented to better manage security risk within an organization. Prioritizing these benefits can also offer personalized guidance for mitigating the risks. Thanks to threat modeling, organizations can achieve a quantifiable understanding of their return on security investment (ROSI). Improve downstream cybersecurity activities, prioritize training and ensure bug fixes are made in places where it is needed.

Subtitle: Threat Model to Ensure Data Security

Threat Modeling can help organizations to prevent irregularities or errors in data management, while preventing liabilities that may occur. Threat modeling helps organizations to better understand their attack surface, and the performance of data storage security. ThreatModeler has taken the estimation out of the equation with its innovative, automated platform.

ThreatModeler enables security teams to build threat models out of the box with content libraries that pull updated content from credible resources including OWASP, CAPEC, the NVD, AWS and Azure. To learn how ThreatModeler can help your organization to achieve data with security and integrity, schedule a live demo. You can also contact us to speak with a threat modeling expert.

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