Threat Modeling and Its Tools

What Is Threat Modeling?

Threat modeling examines the design of system operations and how data flows across subsystem boundaries. It then identifies all points of attack that hackers could exploit and how they could do so.

Last, it designs solutions to keep the system and its data safe.

According to leading expert Adam Shostack, the threat modeling process asks the following questions:

The team then prioritises the threat risks and works them into development.

Threat modeling is a core element of the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL). It’s an engineering technique you can use to help you identify threats, attacks, vulnerabilities, and countermeasures that could affect your application. You can use threat modeling to shape your application’s design, meet your company’s security objectives, and reduce risk.

Fig.1 Threat Modeling Steps

There are five major threat modeling steps:

Threat modeling should be part of your routine development lifecycle, enabling you to progressively refine your threat model and further reduce risk.

What Is a Threat Modeling Tool?

A threat modeling tool enables you to proactively identify and resolve possible security threats to your software, data, or device. It usually begins during the design stage of the product, with regular iterations to keep security up-to-date.

Threat modeling is extremely important in today’s landscape. Hackers thrive on the fact that the world is becoming increasingly online. A 2019 study by Clark School revealed that a hacker attack happens every 39 seconds. If there is a vulnerability in your application, exploitation is just a few seconds away. A sizable attack results in loss of capital, loss of trust for the brand, or worse, both.

Must-Have Features of Threat Modeling Tools

Fig.2 Features of threat modeling tools

Threat Modeling Tools

Cairis Cairis is an open-source threat modeling tool released in 2012. It is one of the most comprehensive open-source tools available.

Platform: Cairns is a web-based tool.

IriusRisk Founded in 2015, IriusRisk has both a community edition and a standard edition.

Platform: IriusRisk is a web-based tool.

Kenna.VM Kenna.VM is a Kenna Security offering that reports an application’s risk posture with empirical metrics.

Platform: Kenna.VM is a cloud-based platform.

Microsoft Threat Modeling Tool Microsoft Threat Modeling Tool is one of the oldest and most tested threat modeling tools in the market. It is an open-source tool that follows the spoofing, tampering, repudiation, information disclosure, denial of service, and elevation of privilege (STRIDE) methodology.

Platform: MTMT is a desktop-based tool that runs on Windows OS

OWASP Threat Dragon The OWASP Threat Dragon is an open-source solution that was released in 2016. It is very similar to MTTM, with less focus on Microsoft-centered services.

Platform: Threat Dragon is a web-based tool, though the older versions are desktop-based.

Data Protection

Data protection and safety are one of the most important things you can do for your company if you regularly process personal data. If it is not already, data protection should be an integral part of your process to ensure compliance with the GDPR as well.

Data Protection Methods


Choosing the right tool for threat modeling is half the battle won. So, make sure you consider the resources at hand, your threat modeling goals, and the amount of capital and time you are willing to invest in the threat modeling process.

Authors: Mohit Lalwani, Aditya Wanjari, Nitesh Sonawane, Anushka Wankhade.




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