The STRIDE Threat Model was developed in the 1990s by Loren Kohnfelder and Praerit Garg, two engineers from Microsoft. Today, it remains a widely utilized approach by security experts seeking to proactively identify and respond to vulnerabilities. This framework offers a systematic method for evaluating security risks throughout the entire development process, providing valuable insights at every stage to inform more effective decision-making. This blog aims to give a comprehensive understanding of what is STRIDE Threat Model, its classification, and its benefits.
What is STRIDE Threat Model?
The STRIDE threat model is a developer-focused model to identify and classify threats under 6 types of attacks – Spoofing, Tampering, Repudiation, Information Disclosure, Denial of Service DoS, and Elevation of privilege. This model is one of the most commonly used threat modeling methodologies as its model provides important insights to be proactive in recognizing and defending important system infrastructure, devices, and networks that are susceptible to attacks.
STRIDE steps include: finding the threats inherent in the design of the system and implementing contingencies to cover those gaps.
Moreover, The STRIDE threat model ensures that software products maintain the CIA triad. That is confidentiality, integrity, and availability. In fact, STRIDE’s designers- Microsoft, developed this framework because the developers were ignorant. And the company wanted them to think about security and threats while designing and developing their software.
Understanding Threat Classification in the STRIDE Threat Model
The STRIDE Threat methodology puts forward a framework that demands to identify and classify threats or vulnerabilities in the following classification:
- Spoofing Identity
- Information Disclosure
- Denial of Service DoS
- Elevation of Privilege
Spoofing identity involves a hacker pretending to be another person with the intention of theft of important data or gaining access to highly encrypted portals. An easy example of spoofing identity for amateurs in STRIDE and threat modeling is an email sent from a false email address pretending to be from someone else and manipulating the recipient to trust the sender with its data and authentication.
Spoofing by an attacker can come in the forms of DNS spoofing, ARP spoofing, DNS compromise, and IP spoofing.
Tampering involves the attacker or hacker manipulating, removing, or modifying important data to attack a system or network. In fact, tampering is an attack on the integrity of the information system. This helps a malicious third-party hacker to enter and modify systems that are encrypted or authenticated only for a few authorized persons in an organization.
Example: Some of the common examples of tampering that can cost hugely include tampering with a configuration file to gain system control, making threatening changes, or removing a log file and inserting a malicious file.
A repudiation threat involves a bad actor attacking the system without accepting their involvement in such malicious activity. Mostly in Repudiation attacks, the system does not have the ability to identify the actor or attacker. To summarize, a repudiation attack happens when software, network, or a system does not take the necessary controls.
Example: An attack to change the data provides authorization that enables to log of wrong data to log files.
Information disclosure refers to the unauthorized release of confidential information. This security vulnerability can have significant repercussions on the processes, data, and storage of information within a website or application. And In addition, can potentially compromise sensitive information.
Example: Some common examples of information disclosure threats include the exposure of source code files through temporary backups, error messages, and the accidental revelation of background information.
Denial of Service ( DoS)
Denial of Service (DoS) attacks aim to overload and disrupt the normal functioning of a targeted system by overwhelming it with excessive traffic. These attacks result in costly downtime and significant losses for the victims. Dos attacks can occur at both the application and network layers. Besides, they are becoming increasingly frequent and sophisticated. To mitigate the impact of these attacks, firewalls are commonly employed as a defense mechanism.
Example: Flooding a website with excessive traffic to cause downtime.
Elevation of Privilege
Elevation of Privilege occurs when an unprivileged or unauthorized attacker gains access by getting through every defense mechanism against such access. This is usually done by exploiting vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. Through this, the attacker compromises the system to gain illegal access to privileged access enough to get data, manipulate and exploit the system for their merits.
Example: An easy example to comprehend this attack is that of an attacker who has only access to read a file, maliciously penetrating or manipulating the system to gain access to read and edit the file
Top 5 Benefits of the STRIDE Threat Model
STRIDE threat modeling methodology is a very useful methodology that helps to decrease the chances of vulnerabilities and threats to exploit a system or network. Following are the top 5 benefits of the STRIDE threat model.
- The STRIDE Threat Model lays strong insights and vision for a larger security program.
- Helps to avoid vulnerabilities and threats from an early stage
- Cost-effective compared implementation to alternative threat modeling methodologies.
- The STRIDE Threat Model provides a brilliant checklist for a secure software development lifecycle.
- It Is an effective model for exercising threat modeling methodology at regular intervals and its outcome can combine with the DREAD risk assessment model which helps to prioritize and tackle action against different threats and vulnerabilities.
Also read, Why DevSecOps is a promising career option?
How STRIDE Helps in Cloud Security?
STRIDE methodology helps to counter emerging threats to cloud computing. There is a need to assess systems to avoid cyber attacks constantly. In fact, Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate world. And On-premises computing is now free from many vulnerabilities and threats when cloud computing is combined with needed security.
In order to fight malicious behavior, you must use strategies like the STRIDE threat model. This helps to improve awareness of different threats. For example, it will uncover the need for monitoring, logging, and alerts. Also, you should eliminate the threats by strengthening authentication and developing data protection safeguards. And it is important to ensure Confidentiality and availability and protect against cyber attacks. Moreover, STRIDE helps to rank the emerging threats in priority. They also help to analyze how easily threats can reproduce, their overall impact, etc.
You can use IoT devices to identify threats and existing vulnerabilities in your systems. However, by using a STRIDE threat model to identify risks, you can continue protecting IoT devices from security flaws.
Also read, Why Should You Learn Kubernetes Security
Stride Threat Model is one of the best threat modeling methodologies available. It puts forward a framework that is most widely used to access cybersecurity. It also demands to identify and classify threats by nature of their attack under 6 heads namely – Spoofing, Tampering, Repudiation, Information Disclosure, Denial of Service DoS, and Elevation of privilege. Cyber experts choose the STRIDE threat model above many other threat modeling approaches because of its many benefits.
Read more about other Threat Modeling Methodologies.
STRIDE threat modeling will help you better prepare for future threats. It can organize many possible threats.
Threat modeling is a complex process that requires real-time data collection and analysis and a quick (if not real-time) response.
The Certified Threat Modeling Professional (CTMP) is a vendor-neutral course and certification program. In fact, the course curriculum will also focus on Security requirements in agile environments, Agile Threat modeling, Threat Modeling as Code, and Secure Design Principles to help you ensure security in the design phase.