Threat Modeling for Cyber Warfare Against Less Cyber-Dependent Adversaries




Cyber Warfare, Threat Modeling, Vulnerability Assessment, Incident Response, International Cooperation, Cyber Infrastructures,


Cyber warfare poses a substantial threat in today's interconnected world, where digital attacks can transcend physical boundaries and affect targets globally. Technologically, less advanced adversaries, such as smaller nations or organizations with limited resources, face unique challenges in defending against sophisticated cyber attacks from more advanced entities. This paper explores the threat landscape for these adversaries and proposes a tailored threat modeling framework to address their specific vulnerabilities and needs. By examining the evolution of cyber warfare, including historical incidents and the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks, the study highlights the limitations of existing threat modeling approaches like the Cyber Kill Chain, MITRE ATT&CK Framework, and SWOT analysis when applied to less advanced adversaries. A comprehensive literature review underscores the gaps in current research, particularly the necessity for frameworks tailored to asymmetric technological capabilities. Employing a mixed methods approach, the research combines qualitative and quantitative data from primary sources, such as interviews with cybersecurity experts, and secondary sources, including existing literature and case studies. The proposed framework focuses on asset identification and classification, vulnerability assessment, threat analysis, and risk assessment. Proactive measures, such as basic cyber hygiene practices, advanced threat detection systems, and collaboration with technologically advanced allies, are recommended alongside reactive measures like incident response planning and disaster recovery. The importance of international cooperation and information sharing is also emphasized. Case studies of cyber incidents involving less advanced adversaries, such as the attacks on Estonia, Georgia, and Ukraine, validate the framework and demonstrate its practical application. The findings indicate that the tailored threat modeling framework effectively addresses the unique challenges faced by less advanced adversaries, enhancing their ability to mitigate risks and improve their cybersecurity posture. This study provides valuable insights and offers a practical framework to bolster defenses against cyber warfare, with future research needed to explore emerging threats and technologies further.