Rich’s good-natured attitude may be concealing a trace of exasperation as he closes, wondering if securing a PC is even possible. It is possible, of course, and not even terribly difficult, but there’s a good deal more to it than antivirus software and firewalls. He seems to have learned the conventional wisdom well enough, yet his computer is still getting infected with malware. Although we may use security products conscientiously, malicious programs still find their way onto our systems in large numbers. How does this happen? Blame it on software bugs, system vulnerabilities, malware, and the vectors that deliver them to us. Vector comes from the Latin vehere, to carry. Our computers are in constant contact with vectors, or carriers, of infection and exploitation. Generally speaking
  • A bug is any programming error that causes unforeseen and undesirable conditions, including, but not limited to, vulnerabilities.

  • A vulnerability is any security weakness that can be attacked deliberately, either with software or with a series of commands, to cause undesirable system behavior or impede desired behavior.

  • An exploit is any command or any sequence of commands that can leverage a bug or a vulnerability (and when the command sequence is designed to be executed automatically, we call this a scripted exploit).

  • Malware is any software program or any component such as a plugin or an ActiveX control that can exploit a bug or a vulnerability, or cause undesirable system behavior or impede desired behavior in and of itself.

  • A vector is any mechanism or agent that spreads, or enables the spread of, malware and scripted exploits.


Malicious Code User Account Simple Network Management Protocol Remote Procedure Call Home User 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Thomas C. Greene 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas C. Greene
    • 1
  1. 1.Elsevier ScienceUK

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