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ENTRUST and Threat Modeling: Understanding Risks Using Threat Modelling

One of the main objectives of ENTRUST is to secure Connected Medical Devices (CMDs). The first step in developing a security strategy is to understand the threat landscape and the associated risks. To achieve this, threat modeling can help by providing information regarding the security threats of specific systems. This blog post aims to offer an overview of threat modeling and how it can help you develop a defense strategy against cyber-attacks.




What is Threat Modeling?


Threat modeling is a systematic process aimed at identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential security threats in a proactive manner. It is an essential practice for understanding the vulnerabilities and risks in a system, which helps in developing effective security protocols and defense strategies against cyber-attacks.


Importance of Threat Modeling


In an era where cyber threats are continually evolving, threat modeling is crucial for various reasons:

  • Proactive Security: It allows organizations to identify and address security threats proactively, rather than reacting after an attack has occurred.

  • Risk Management: By understanding the potential risks, organizations can prioritize their security efforts and allocate resources more effectively.

  • Informed Decision-Making: With a clear understanding of the threat landscape, decision-makers can make informed choices regarding security policies and procedures.


Threat Modeling Methodologies


Various threat modeling methodologies exist to help organizations identify and mitigate potential security risks. In this section we present three of the most popular strategies regarding threat modeling.


STRIDE is a prominent methodology, categorizing threats into:

  • Spoofing: This refers to unauthorized access and use of valid identities. Spoofing attacks aim to gain access to a system by impersonating a legitimate user, which could lead to unauthorized access to sensitive data and system functionalities.

  • Tampering: Tampering involves unauthorized alterations made to data or code. Attackers might manipulate data in transit or alter the code within an application to compromise its integrity and functionality, leading to misleading or harmful outcomes.

  • Repudiation: Repudiation threats are those where an action or transaction cannot be verified. In such cases, an attacker could deny the authenticity of their actions, making it challenging to hold them accountable or trace malicious activities.

  • Information Disclosure: This pertains to the exposure of confidential or sensitive information without authorization. Information disclosure threats often lead to data breaches, where attackers gain access to and possibly exploit sensitive data for malicious purposes.

  • Denial of Service (DoS): DoS attacks aim to disrupt the normal functioning of a system or application, making it unavailable to legitimate users. These attacks often overload the system with excessive requests, causing it to crash or become unresponsive.

  • Elevation of Privilege: This type of threat involves an attacker gaining elevated access or privileges within a system, often allowing them to execute actions that are typically restricted. Elevation of privilege can lead to significant system compromise as it provides attackers with greater control and access to sensitive functionalities.


Threat Assessment and Remediation Analysis (TARA) is a methodology developed for identifying and analyzing potential threats to a system, as well as planning mitigation strategies for those threats. It is a risk-driven methodology designed to be adaptable to various types of systems and organizations.


The key components of TARA are:

  • Threat Identification

  • Threat Agent Identification

  • Risk Determination

  • Risk Evaluation

  • Countermeasure Development


In comparison with STRIDE, TARA focuses on the attacker.


Process for Attack Simulation and Threat Analysis (P.A.S.T.A.) is a systematic threat modeling methodology designed for comprehensively identifying, analyzing, and mitigating security threats in systems. The seven steps for P.A.S.T.A. are:

  1. Defining Objectives

  2. Scoping

  3. Application Decomposition

  4. Threat Analysis

  5. Vulnerability Analysis

  6. Attack Modeling

  7. Risk and Impact Analysis


Conclusion


Threat modeling is an indispensable tool for understanding and mitigating security risks in any system. It provides a structured approach to identifying vulnerabilities, assessing risks, and developing effective defense strategies.


By understanding the threat vectors for a specific CMD, you can create a better strategy for defending not only the medical device but also the entire network. The identification of CMDs vulnerabilities and the creation of a prevention strategy can lead your organization to protect sensitive patient data.


With a commitment to proactive security, informed decision-making, and continuous improvement, ENTRUST leverages threat modeling to navigate the complex landscape of cyber threats effectively and efficiently.

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