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An attempt to exploit a weakness in a system, either for nefarious or research reasons. Questions with this tag should be about designing, carrying out, or defending against the attack itself, rather than about the underlying weakness.

A threat may be thought of as a person or group of people who wish to damage, disable, or extract value from a target system. A weakness is a component of a system which requires less effort to compromise than the rest of the system.

An attack differs from a weakness / vulnerability in that:

  • An attack is a specific instance of exploiting a weakness,
  • launched at a specific time,
  • against a specific target,
  • often using custom tools or payloads designed to exploit one or more vulnerabilities
  • to accomplish a specific goal.