Glossary / Vulnerability

Vulnerability

Weakness in an information system, system security procedures, internal controls, or implementation that could be exploited or triggered by a threat actor.

What is a Vulnerability?

A vulnerability is a weakness in a system, tool, application, or protocol that can be exploited by a threat actor.

How is a vulnerability different from a threat?

A cybersecurity vulnerability is a weakness in a system that attackers could exploit. A threat is something that could harm a company's reputation or business operations. Cybersecurity threats include phishing emails, malware, denial of service attacks, among others.

The difference between these two terms lies in their severity: a security vulnerability may not pose any immediate danger to users; however, if left unaddressed, it can lead to severe consequences such as data loss, theft, fraud, and more. On the other hand, a cybersecurity threat poses a real risk to user safety and business operations. It might result in downtime, data corruption, identity theft, and much more.

It should be noted that there is no clear line between vulnerabilities and threats. For example, some viruses are considered both threats and vulnerabilities because they exploit weaknesses in systems without posing any immediate risks to end-users. However, most people would consider malicious software like Trojans and worms to be threats.

How do you identify vulnerabilities?

The first step in identifying vulnerabilities is to understand what they are. A system vulnerability is any weakness in a computer system that hackers could exploit to gain access to sensitive information. Hackers use these weaknesses to steal data, disrupt operations, or cause damage.

There are many different types of system vulnerabilities, including software bugs, hardware flaws, misconfigurations, and lack of security controls. Software bugs occur when a program does not perform the way it was designed to do so. Hardware flaws include physical problems with the device itself, such as an inadequate power supply or faulty circuit boards. Misconfigurations happen when someone changes settings without understanding the consequences. Lack of security controls means that people don't follow best practices for securing computers and networks.

How to avoid problems that come from vulnerabilities

The steps to reduce the risk of being attacked include ongoing system updates, Additionally, your organization should be using the latest compliance processes as well as improved tools and education for your SOC / DevSecOps / IT teams, as well as for your company-wide staff.

It’s important to keep in mind that reducing vulnerability and the risk of being attacked starts with cyber threat intelligence products and services.

Intel 471’s Titan provides you with a global intelligence capability for human cybersecurity teams and machines. Whether scaling your cybersecurity presence or just starting to build your team, these tools and services can help you fight cyber threats.

In Conclusion

The world has become increasingly connected through technology. As our reliance on this technology grows, we're seeing increased threats against companies and individuals alike. Recent reports have estimated that global losses from cybercrime were $3 trillion in 2015 and that cybercrime costs are expected to skyrocket to more than $10.5 trillion by 2025. With this much money at stake, why haven't organizations taken steps to protect themselves? What can businesses do to prevent attacks before they happen? To help improve your organization's cyber security posture, please be sure to keep the tips outlined above in mind.