Model Basic Security Threats (Activity)

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Basic Security Threat Modeling


Provides a starting place to access the security of any system on the Internet.


Basic Linux Command line knowledge. If you need this knowledge, please complete the Linux Basic Command line activity.

Learning Objectives After successfully completing this activity, the learner should be able to:
  • Gain a basic understanding of how to start to analyze the vulnerabilities in an open source deployment.
  • Explain the purpose of a threat model.
  • Have basic knowledge of several tools that exist to look for vulnerabilities in an open source deployment.
Process Skills Practiced



Making an open source deployment secure may seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin to look for vulnerabilities and threats in a system? This activity gives a starting place.


Think about where you live and the surrounding areas around your home. For example, your home has doors and windows. Are they all locked? It may have dark outside areas where someone could hide. If you were looking to break in, what would you do? When you think about making your home safer where you feel more secure, you are creating a threat model.

Building a threat model for an online system is very similar. Computers have places of entry just like a home. Are all the ports closed? Is there any data open and exposed without protection? Do any of your users have weak passwords?

To find out more information about the threat modeling process in general, visit The following website:

To help you start to analyze your system, below are three steps to get your started.

1. Network Security: What do others see about my system?

To start analyzing your system, you first need to know the IP address. If it has a domain name you can use that. Start with the Host command and see what you can find out. If you don't know this command, type man host on the command line.

Once you know where the system lives, you can find out many things about the system.

Here are many other tools to deepen your level of understanding about the system.

2. Password Cracking: A major weakness to any system are the passwords chosen by the people who have access to your system. How secure are the passwords? There are several tools you can use to try and crack your passwords.

3. Writing Secure Code: To make your system less vulnerable, it is important to write code securely. The following workshop provides 2.5 hours of training in writing secure code.

Now that you have a basic overview of some tools that will help you, you can dive deeper into each one. Find and fix your vulnerabilities yourself, before someone else takes advantage of them.


  • A list of vulnerabilities found on your system
  • A list of next steps
  • TBD




Disclaimer. The tools used in this assessment are to be used responsibly. lawfully and ethically.

ACM Body of Knowledge
Area & Unit(s)

SP: Security and Privacy

ACM Topic(s)
Level of Difficulty


Estimated Completion Time

4 hours (including the Towson Secure Code activity)

Environment / Materials

Access to a web browser/Internet. Access to the LINUX command line. This activity also works on the iOS command line.


Suzanne Mello-Stark


This is an original activity. The secure coding activity was developed by Towson University.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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Suggestions for the Open Source Project

This activity can be used to begin to access the open source project vulnerabilities.

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