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Threat Modeling: Designing for Security by Adam Shostack

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Chapter 14Accounts and Identity

If you don't get account management right, you open the door to a slew of spoofing threats. Your ability to rely on the person behind a keyboard being the person you've authorized falls away. This chapter discusses models of how computers identify and account for their users, and the interaction of those accounts with a variety of security and privacy concerns. Much of the chapter focuses on threat modeling, but some of it delves into thinking about elements of security and the building blocks that are used. The repertoire in this chapter is specialized, but frequently needed, which makes it worth working through these issues in detail.

As the world becomes more digital, we interact not with a person in front of us but with their digital avatars and their data shadows. These avatarsand shadows are models of the person. Remember: All models are wrong, and some models are useful. When the model is a model of a person, he or she may take offense at how they have been represented. The offense may be fair or misplaced, but effective threat modeling when people are involved requires an understanding of the ways in which models are wrong, and the particular ways in which wrong models can impede your security, your business, as well as the well-being, dignity, and happiness of your current or prospective customers, citizens, or visitors.

Despite the term identity being in vogue, I do not use it as a synonym for account. The English word identity has a ...

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