Definition

attack vector

An attack vector is a path or means by which a hacker (or cracker) can gain access to a computer or network server in order to deliver a payload or malicious outcome. Attack vectors enable hackers to exploit system vulnerabilities, including the human element.

Attack vectors include viruses, e-mail attachments, Web pages, pop-up windows, instant messages, chat rooms, and deception. All of these methods involve programming (or, in a few cases, hardware), except deception, in which a human operator is fooled into removing or weakening system defenses.

To some extent, firewalls and anti-virus software can block attack vectors. But no protection method is totally attack-proof. A defense method that is effective today may not remain so for long, because hackers are constantly updating attack vectors, and seeking new ones, in their quest to gain unauthorized access to computers and servers.

The most common malicious payloads are viruses (which can function as their own attack vectors), Trojan horses, worms, and spyware. If an attack vector is thought of as a guided missile, its payload can be compared to the warhead in the tip of the missile.

This was last updated in May 2012

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Is it valid to say that an "Attack vector" is a strategy - how to overcome a defense?

KInd regards, Vilhelm
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Help me I am over stress Ed I can’t believe this is happening to me I’ve been trying to get to move near my son’s now for 16 years I’m a good person and help others all the time this is really fun I can’t take nomore I’m so hurt and deviated with everything I need help somebody out there please one bad thing keeps happening after another please help I all ready paid the price in life for my wrongs please God help me with this probem can’t take much more anyone got a answer please get back to me as soon as possible thank you so DIGITALTECHACKER @ GMAIL COM
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Help me I am over stress Ed I can’t believe this is happening to me I’ve been trying to get to move near my son’s now for 16 years I’m a good person and help others all the time this is really fun I can’t take nomore I’m so hurt and deviated with everything I need help somebody out there please one bad thing keeps happening after another please help I all ready paid the price in life for my wrongs please God help me with this probem can’t take much more anyone got a answer please get back to me as soon as possible thank you so DIGITALTECHACKER @ GMAIL COM
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