threat modeling

Threat modeling is a procedure for optimizing network security by identifying objectives and vulnerabilities, and then defining countermeasures to prevent, or mitigate the effects of, threats to the system. In this context, a threat is a potential or actual adverse event that may be malicious (such as a denial-of-service attack) or incidental (such as the failure of a storage device), and that can compromise the assets of an enterprise.

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The key to threat modeling is to determine where the most effort should be applied to keep a system secure. This is a variable that changes as new factors develop and become known, applications are added, removed, or upgraded, and user requirements evolve. Threat modeling is an iterative process that consists of defining enterprise assets, identifying what each application does with respect to these assets, creating a security profile for each application, identifying potential threats, prioritizing potential threats, and documenting adverse events and the actions taken in each case.

This was last updated in February 2006

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