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A weakness in a computing system that can result in harm to the system or its operations, especially when this weakness is exploited by a hostile person or organization or when it is present in conjunction with particular events or circumstances.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Vulgarity (See COARSENESS.)Achilles
warrior vulnerable only in his heel. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 4]
only vulnerable if not touching ground. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Hall, 151]
conquerable only with mistletoe. [Norse Myth.: Walsh Classical, 43]
Irish Achilles, killed through cunning Fionn’s deceit. [Irish Myth.: Jobes, 443; Parrinder, 79]
French fortification zone along German border; thought impregnable before WWII. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 1658]
strength derived from his hair; betrayed by Delilah. [O.T.: Judges 16]
vulnerable in only one spot on his back. [Ger. Opera: Wagner, Götterdämmerung, Westerman, 245]
German fortification zone opposite the Maginot Line between Germany and France. [Ger. Hist.: WB, 17: 370]
invulnerable except for Kryptonite. [TV: “The Adventures of Superman” in Terrace, I, 38; Comics: Horn, 642]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
vulnerabilityA security exposure in an operating system or other system software or application software component. Before the Internet became mainstream and exposed every organization in the world to every attacker on the planet, vulnerabilities surely existed, but were not as often exploited.
In light of this madness, mostly perpetrated against Microsoft products, the architecture of future operating systems has changed. Designing software to be bulletproof against attacks is like building a house where every square inch is fortified with steel and sensors that detect intrusions. Patching an existing operating system written by hundreds of programmers who were not dwelling on this issue when they wrote the code is an onerous job.
Security firms maintain databases of vulnerabilities based on version number of the software. If exploited, each vulnerability can potentially compromise the system or network. To search for vulnerabilities and exposures in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), visit http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/search?cid=1. See network security scanner and vulnerability disclosure.
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