Transvasive Security

the human factor

Threat Modeling

Recently, I read and commented on a series of posts at The New School blog: Threat Modeling Fails In Practice, On Threat Modeling, and Yet More On Threat Modeling: A Mini-Rant. After reading both sides of the argument, I concluded that while threat modeling can be helpful, but we need to find a better way that doesn’t require us to brainstorm. Imagining the threats begets imaginary threats. I strongly believe that because of our cognitive errors in estimating risk, brainstorming threats is a mistake, and will inevitably lead to guessing what the threats will be, guesses that are at best only slightly better than random chance.

To that end, I believe that some of my recent work in Behavioral Security Modeling (BSM) may be part of the solution. Threat modeling needs to be deconstructed and integrated directly into the software development life cycle (SDLC). Some of the benefits provided by threat modeling in general, and STRIDE specifically include identifying missing requirements and potential quality/safety issues, something that BSM is designed to help with, and I’ve got some ideas on how to address the other elements.

Work is slowly progressing on the BSM white paper that I am using to develop and refine the ideas from my original Behavioral Security Modeling presentation, and I’ve enlisted a collaborator with strong application development experience. We’ve already discussed threat modeling, and if it’s not directly addressed in our white paper or the presentation, (we’ll be speaking at Secure 360!) it certainly will be in the framework we’re building behind the scenes.