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Definition: attack vector

The approach used to assault a computer system or network. A fancy way of saying "method or type of attack," the term may refer to a variety of vulnerabilities. For example, an operating system or Web browser may have a flaw that is exploited by a website. Human shortcomings are also used to engineer attack vectors. For example, a novice user may open an email attachment that contains a virus, and most everyone can be persuaded at least once in their life to reveal a password for some seemingly relevant reason. See cyberattack, vulnerability and social engineering.