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Threat analysis of software systems: A systematic literature review

Journal article
Authors Katja Tuma
Gul Calikli
Riccardo Scandariato
Published in Journal of Systems and Software
Volume 144
Issue October
Pages 275-294
ISSN 0164-1212
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Pages 275-294
Language en
Keywords Threat analysis (modeling), Risk assessment, Security-by-design, Software systems, Systematic literature review (SLR)
Subject categories Software Engineering


Architectural threat analysis has become an important cornerstone for organizations concerned with developing secure software. Due to the large number of existing techniques it is becoming more challenging for practitioners to select an appropriate threat analysis technique. Therefore, we conducted a systematic literature review (SLR) of the existing techniques for threat analysis. In our study we compare 26 methodologies for what concerns their applicability, characteristics of the required input for analysis, characteristics of analysis procedure, characteristics of analysis outcomes and ease of adoption. We also provide insight into the obstacles for adopting the existing approaches and discuss the current state of their adoption in software engineering trends (e.g. Agile, DevOps, etc.). As a summary of our findings we have observed that: the analysis procedure is not precisely defined, there is a lack of quality assurance of analysis outcomes and tool support and validation are limited.

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