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Threat Modeling: Designing for Security by Adam Shostack

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Appendix E

Case Studies

This appendix lays out four example threat models. The first three are presented as fully worked-through examples; the fourth is a classroom exercise presented without answers in order to encourage you to delve in. Each example is a threat model of a hypothetical system, to help you identify the threats without getting bogged down in a debate over what the real threat model or requirements are for the particular product.

The models in this appendix are as follows:

  • The Acme database
  • Acme's operational network
  • Sending login codes over a phone network
  • The iNTegrity classroom exercise

Each model is structured differently because there's more than one way to do it. For example, the Acme database is modeled element by element, which is good if your primary audience is component owners who want to focus their reading on their components; while the Acme network is organized by threat, to enable systems administrators to manage those threats across the business. The login codes model shows how to focus on a particular requirement and consider the threats against it.

The Acme Database

The Acme database is a software product designed to be run on-premises by organizations of all sizes. The currently shipping version is 3.1, and this is the team's first threat model. They have chosen to model what they have and then determine how each new feature interacts with this model as part of the same process in which they do performance and reliability analysis. This ...

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