Unveiling Effective Threat Modeling in Cyber Security: Mastering the STRIDE

Microsoft created the STRIDE model as a methodical framework for classifying various security threats frequently found in software systems. The acronym “STRIDE” consists of letters that stand for different danger categories, making it possible to analyze potential risks in great detail.

Comprehending Every Threat Type:

Spoofing is the practice of pretending to be someone else to obtain access without authorization. Spoofing is a broad word for the type of conduct in which a cybercriminal impersonates a trustworthy entity or device to trick you into doing something valuable to the hacker — but destructive to you. Spoofing occurs when an online scammer disguises their true identity as something else.

Tampering is the unlawful manipulation of data or systems. This could involve changing configuration settings, editing code, or interfering with data integrity to jeopardize the system’s functioning or integrity. Data tampering is the intentional or unintentional alteration, deletion, or addition of data without adequate authority or validation. This can occur in software systems, databases, network communications, and any digital storage device. Data tampering is particularly harmful since even a tiny amount of altered data can significantly influence decisional precision. Preventing data tampering is therefore critical for ensuring the security and integrity of digital information.

You could also see a tampering schema for a 3-D printer

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Repudiation threats entail the ability to deny that specific actions or occurrences occurred. For example, a user may deny carrying out a particular transaction, making it difficult to hold them accountable for their conduct. The concept of repudiation is also known as its opposite, the non-repudiation attribute, which is also listed in one of the pillars of information assurance. Repudiation threats occur when a threat actor engages in an illegal or malicious action in a system and denies any involvement in the attack. In these attacks, the system cannot trace the destructive activity and identify the attacker. Repudiation attacks are generally simple on e-mail systems since very few systems verify outbound mail for legitimacy. The majority of these attacks begin as access attacks.

Information disclosure, aka information leakage, refers to illegally disseminating sensitive data. Attackers may use weaknesses to get access to sensitive data such as personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets, or financial records. 

Sensitive Data Exposure

This vulnerability arises when sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or personally identifiable information (PII) is made available to unauthorized persons. It can happen when sensitive data is stored, transmitted, or processed insecurely.

Directory Listing Vulnerabilities

Directory Listing Vulnerabilities arise when web servers or file systems unintentionally disclose directory contents to users. Attackers can use this vulnerability to obtain access to the web application’s structure and contents, allowing them to launch additional assaults.

Error Messages

Improper handling of error messages can unintentionally reveal important information to consumers. Error messages that reveal system details, database queries, or stack traces might provide vital information to attackers and help them exploit vulnerabilities.

Information Leakage via Comments

Developers may accidentally include sensitive information or internal system details within code comments, configuration files, or HTML source code. Attackers can use this information leak to learn more about the system and find potential attack vectors.

Metadata Exposure

Metadata in files or documents may contain sensitive information such as author identities, document changes, or system information. Failure to clean or delete metadata before posting documents online can result in the unintended publication of sensitive information.

Information Disclosure via Headers

HTTP response headers can mistakenly divulge critical information about a web application or server setup. Attackers can use information such as server versions, technologies, and internal IP addresses to find weaknesses and perform targeted attacks.

Leakage of Session Tokens or Credentials

Insecure handling of session tokens, authentication cookies, or credentials might result in their disclosure to unauthorized persons. Attackers can intercept or steal session tokens using session fixation, session hijacking, or cross-site scripting (XSS) assaults.

Predictable Resource Locations

Attackers can gain access to sensitive data by using predictable URLs or file directories. Enumerating resources in predictable ways allows attackers to identify and access sensitive information or functionality within the program.

Caching methods

When caching methods are not correctly configured, sensitive data may be cached in proxy servers, CDN caches, or browser caches. Cached answers containing sensitive information may remain available to unauthorized users long after the material is removed from the server.

Backup files, temporary files or Log files

Backup files, temporary files, or log files holding sensitive information may become mistakenly accessible on the server file system. Attackers can locate and access these files using directory traversal or improper permissions, resulting in information leak.

Denial of Service, aka DoS attacks, attempts to interrupt the availability of services, making them inaccessible to legitimate users. Attackers may flood networks, overload servers, or exploit vulnerabilities to deplete system resources and interrupt services.  
Elevation of Privilege threat involves getting unauthorized access to greater rights or permissions. By exploiting vulnerabilities, attackers can elevate their privileges and obtain control of systems, applications, or data beyond their allowed access level. 

Techniques for Effective Application of the STRIDE Model

Systematic Analysis conduct a thorough study of your system or application to discover potential threats. Consider the system’s many components, interfaces, and interactions to identify vulnerabilities and possible attack vectors.

Risk prioritization is a methodology that prioritizes risks according to their severity and probable influence on the system. Prioritize resolving high-priority threats first to properly allocate resources and reduce the most severe dangers to system security.

Mitigation Strategy creates mitigation techniques specific to each identified threat type. Implement security controls such as access controls, encryption, authentication procedures, and intrusion detection systems to reduce potential risks effectively.

Continuous Enhancement is a critical process. The process of modeling threats is iterative. As your system develops and new threats appear, keep an eye on it and tweak your threat model. Keep up with the most recent security trends, flaws, and attack methods to improve your threat modeling over time.

By comprehending the intricacies of each threat category and employing effective techniques for threat modeling, organizations can enhance their cyber security posture and better protect their systems and applications against threats.