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Threat Modelling: What It Is and Why It Matters

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Recognizing the security risks your systems are exposed to is a method to mitigate potential security vulnerabilities in the overall risk management plan. On alone, being aware of security threats isn’t enough to safeguard against attacks.

Security engineers and IT teams should go even further by using threat modeling, which enables them to analyze and protect themselves from the different dangers they face in a planned and proactive manner.

Read on for a detailed overview of the concept behind what threat modeling is and how it functions and the most effective threat modelling tools and frameworks and the best practices to get the most value from threat modelling.

What exactly is a “Threat”?

An actor, or group of players sometimes referred to in the field of Threat Actors who see there may be value in the risk of compromising an option. Different Threat actors will be motivated in different ways and the ability to exploit weaknesses.

The vulnerability’s exploitability will be determined by factors like: knowing its the existence of the vulnerability, the degree of access needed, as well as any mitigations that have been implemented.

To facilitate discussion, we will use the following key Threat Actors:

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) Highly skilled and highly motivated, they have a very high capacity. These include directly state-sponsored organizations or indirectly sponsored by the nation, e.g. certain OCGs.

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

Motivated External People – Variable capabilities, motivations and limited capacity. Different sponsors.

Internal Threats – People that have access direct to creation and implementation, or operation or use of the system.

What is Threat Modeling?

Threat modeling is an engineering-based approach and risk-based method of identifying, evaluating , and managing security risks with the goal of creating and deploying more effective technology and systems that are 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 dangers their systems could be susceptible to.

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

Planning mitigation: After threats are thoroughly evaluated and analyzed, the company decides on what measures it can use to stop each danger from becoming an attack that is successful.

Implementation of mitigation strategies: Strategies for mitigation are then put in place to create an active defense against dangers.

Feedback and improvements: The final stage is to evaluate how the overall threat modeling process performed, then taking steps to enhance it. If the team didn’t recognize certain kinds of threats that could have led to attacks, or did not implement the appropriate measures to mitigate threats This issue are able to be corrected.

Following this procedure, organizations are able to follow a methodical, well-organized approach to identifying potential dangers in the development process of their software. They can also be able to react quickly to threats that could impact their systems, instead of waiting for a real attack to start planning 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 many more.

Threat modelling can be utilized to manage any kind of threat. It can be used to tackle any type of threat. DDoS and ransomware attacks , to insecure threats and accidental leakage of data threats, threat modelling methods are efficient in getting ahead of threats prior to them triggering an active security incident.

The threat modelling 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 for on-prem environments differ in a number of ways from the ones for public cloud due to due to the model of shared responsibility put in the cloud service providers. Cloud Service providers, thereby needing a different mitigation approach.

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

In enabling a systematic and well-organized reaction to threats from security threat modeling offers a myriad of advantages.

Threat Prioritization

Certain threats are more significant than others. For instance, a risk to a test or dev environment might not be as significant as one that can affect the production system. Assessing the severity of each threat can help teams decide which threats to prioritise in mitigation.

Proactive Response

As mentioned above threat modeling allows companies to adopt an proactive approach to threat control. In lieu of waiting until an attack does happen and only responding later by responding, businesses can be an inch ahead of the attackers.

Recognizing New Threat Types

The threat landscape is constantly changing as hackers find new vulnerabilities and come up with new techniques to exploit. In permitting teams to look at their own threats that could be affecting them, threat modeling can help companies stay ahead of new threats they would have not anticipated.

Better Security Posture

Sometimes, the best method to reduce a risk is to alter your system’s design. Perhaps, for instance, you have a resource that is public which could be hidden behind a firewall to reduce the risk of a security threat based on networks. In these instances threat modeling helps companies make steps to improve their security posture in the first place and decrease their vulnerability to attack.

More efficient use of resources

Resources to support IT security are invariably limited. Through allowing a systematic approach to threat management threat modeling helps companies get the greatest security from the assets they have.


Threat modelling makes it much easier for teams to share information about threats in a uniform, central manner. Instead of focusing on threats that might affect the specific system they oversee and manage, every group of engineers and developers can share information about threat assessments and data across the company and work together to prevent the effects of these threats.

Showed Commitment to Security

The mere act of performing threat modeling can show that the company takes security seriously. This can be crucial to audit and for compliance purposes particularly in situations where the compliance requirements include rules that require enterprises to take reasonable precautions to safeguard sensitive data and software.

5 Threat Modelling Best Practices

The most effective and efficient threat modeling strategies 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 one of which is responsible for 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 better utilization of resources. It also giving teams the ability to share information which could result in more effective mitigation of threats.

Evaluate Threats Together

It is also the case that a threat directed at one resource may cause an indirect threat to another resource. For instance the threat to an application may also affect information accessed by the app should attackers break into the application.

This is why it’s essential to look at threats as a whole instead of in isolation. Assess the dangers of each one based not just on the main assets it could threaten as well as the total potential damage it might create for the company.

Also, you should make sure you are taking steps to reduce threats on multiple levels. If a breach to your security in the application causes an unintentional threat security of data For instance taking steps in both your application and your data to mitigate the risk. It is possible to have two-factor authentication in the application to limit the possibility of a breach, and also implement off-site backups of your data to ensure that you have a fresh copy in the case of a breach that permits attackers to gain access to the data and then hold the data for ransom.

Consider the Threats in a comprehensive manner.

It’s tempting to concentrate threat modelling on the threats that have been related to recent high-profile incidents or on threats that your company has encountered before. However, the best threat modeling approach is one that requires the identification of every threat that could affect your business, no matter the level of newsworthyness or whether it’s ever resulted in a live attack 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 give insights into the kinds of threats your security team might not have otherwise considered.
Do you use Threat Modeling early in the development lifecycle

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

If you delay until you’ve completed your program and (worse) until it’s been put into production, you’ll probably realize that it’s less easy to apply the most effective security measures. Making changes in your program, meaning you’ll have to rebuildit, redeploy and test again which is an (potentially) lengthy and time-consuming procedure that could be time-consuming and inefficient.

Think Beyond Apps

When you are performing threat modeling it is possible to be focused on the applications rather than the wider environment within which they operate. Since applications typically are at the heart of your user experience. all else is an additional backdrop.

When it is about security, threats at any level of your system and at any phase of your development can lead to an attack. This is why you need to consider not just your apps, but concerning threats to cloud infrastructure or servers which hosts the applications. If you are deploying applications within containers, you’ll need consider security threats to container registry systems containers, images for containers and container orchestration tools, too. Don’t overlook the threats that can affect data, for example, incorrectly installed IAM roles that make your cloud storage containers 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 technique, you can model your threats as a series of pathways (or trees) that define the resources that are affected by the attack that is associated with every threat. Attack trees can be useful when you have a huge and highly interdependent set resources, and you need to determine what threats direct and indirect affect each.

Security cards: The security card technique is an open-ended approach for threat modelling. It’s based upon 42 cards that pose questions regarding the risks an organisation is exposed to. When working through the cards, teams consider the threats they are facing, and also strategies to counter them.

PASTA Short in the form of Process to Identify Threats Simulation as well as Threat Analysis PASTA is a short form for Process for Attack Simulation and Threat Analysis. PASTA technique is designed to help teams analyze threats in terms of their business objectives. It begins by identifying goals for business and the technical resources needed to achieve these objectives. Teams then determine what dangers could be affecting these resources and, in turn they identify dangers that could undermine business goals.

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

Threat Modelling Tools

Threat modelling tools combine the essential tools for analyzing, identifying and reducing the threat of one platform. The most important features you can expect from the threat modelling tools are:

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

Threat visualization: The majority of threat modeling tool provides visualization options, like diagrams that show threats in various parts within the IT environment, which can assist teams in analyzing threats.

Monitoring tools for threat monitoring like dashboards, enable teams to monitor threats they have identified, and confirm that the threat was effectively reduced.

Reporting: By creating reports about threats, businesses can monitor their threat identification and their mitigation effectiveness.

Many software companies provide tools that have features to aid teams with threat modeling. Microsoft Threat Modelling Tool, an online Windows desktop application is a well-known option. ThreatModeler is a comparable threat modelling tool that is web-based . The Threat Dragon and Pytm tools are well-known open-source threat modelling tools.

Threat Modelling Use Cases

To comprehend how to put threat modeling into practice it is helpful to walk through some common instances as well as examples of modeling in the field.

Cloud Threat Modelling

When you transfer your applications from the on-premise to the cloudenvironment, risks that you are exposed to can drastically. The issues related to the physical security deficiencies largely disappear, but new threats such as insecure IAM configurations are created.

Teams can employ threat modeling in the cloud to detect and mitigate the threats that affect workloads both before and after cloud migration. This way, cloud threat modeling helps them identify threats that they might not otherwise be able to tackle when they adhere to the same security strategies they employed on the premises.

Network Threat Modelling

Threats to networks can be extremely diverse in their scope and structure based on the way networks are set up and the amount of exposure they are exposed to the internet in general. Cloud services like virtual networks can add an additional layer of complexity to security threats to networks.

The threat modeling that is focused on networks provides the ability to assess and managing dangers. It can also assist teams to understand the security weaknesses and strengths in their network’s structure, and then take steps to make improvements.

Threat Modeling for Containers

Transferring workloads from virtual machines into containers can also pose new security risks including the possibility for malware to get into containers’ images, or to bypass control of access to registry. Modeling these threats can help teams to recognize, comprehend and then take action to reduce the specific threats that affect containers.


In short, threat modeling can help businesses stay on top of security threats, regardless of what form they take or the types of sources they are addressing. While threat modeling does require an upfront investment but it is a huge payoff by allowing teams to react quickly to risks that, if unchecked, could result in expensive attacks.