Threats and Countermeasures

Threats and Countermeasures: S.T.R.I.D.E

STRIDE

Threats faced by the application can be categorized based on the goals and purposes of the attacks. A working knowledge of these categories of threats can help you organize a security strategy so that you have planned responses to threats. STRIDE is the acronym used to categorize different threat types. STRIDE stands for:

● Spoofing

Spoofing is attempting to gain access to a system by using a false identity. This can be accomplished using stolen user credentials or a false IP address. After the attacker successfully gains access as a legitimate user or host, elevation of privileges or abuse using authorization can begin.

Countermeasure(s):

  • Use strong authentication.
  • Do not store secrets (for example, passwords) in plaintext.
  • Do not pass credentials in plaintext over the wire.
  • Protect authentication cookies with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

● Tampering

Tampering is the unauthorized modification of data, for example as it flows over a network between two computers.

Countermeasure(s):

  • Use data hashing and signing.
  • Use digital signatures.
  • Use strong authorization.
  • Use tamper-resistant protocols across communication links.
  • Secure communication links with protocols that provide message integrity.

● Repudiation

Repudiation is the ability of users (legitimate or otherwise) to deny that they performed specific actions or transactions. Without adequate auditing, repudiation attacks are difficult to prove.

Countermeasure(s):

  • Create secure audit trails.
  • Use digital signatures.

● Information disclosure

Information disclosure is the unwanted exposure of private data. For example, a user views the contents of a table or file he or she is not authorized to open, or monitors data passed in plaintext over a network. Some examples of information disclosure vulnerabilities include the use of hidden form fields, comments embedded in Web pages that contain database connection strings and connection details, and weak exception handling that can lead to internal system level details being revealed to the client. Any of this information can be very useful to the attacker.

Countermeasure(s):

  • Use strong authorization.
  • Use strong encryption.
  • Secure communication links with protocols that provide message confidentiality.
  • Do not store secrets (for example, passwords) in plaintext.

● Denial of service

Denial of service is the process of making a system or application unavailable. For example, a denial of service attack might be accomplished by bombarding a server with requests to consume all available system resources or by passing it malformed input data that can crash an application process.

Countermeasure(s):

  • Use resource and bandwidth throttling techniques.
  • Validate and filter input.

● Elevation of privilege

Elevation of privilege occurs when a user with limited privileges assumes the identity of a privileged user to gain privileged access to an application. For example, an attacker with limited privileges might elevate his or her privilege level to compromise and take control of a highly privileged and trusted process or account.

Countermeasure(s):

  • Follow the principle of least privilege and use least privileged service accounts to run processes and access resources.
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