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Security Dictionary
Can't tell 'smtp' from 'snmp'? Find the precise meaning of these and hundreds of other security-related terms in our convenient and up-to-date Security Dictionary.
attack
(I) An assault on system security that derives from an intelligent threat, i.e., an intelligent act that is a deliberate attempt (especially in the sense of a method or technique) to evade security services and violate the security policy of a system. (See: penetration, violation, vulnerability.) - Active vs. passive: An "active attack" attempts to alter system resources or affect their operation. A "passive attack" attempts to learn or make use of information from the system but does not affect system resources. (E.g., see: wiretapping.) - Insider vs. outsider: An "inside attack" is an attack initiated by an entity inside the security perimeter (an "insider"), i.e., an entity that is authorized to access system resources but uses them in a way not approved by those who granted the authorization. An "outside attack" is initiated from outside the perimeter, by an unauthorized or illegitimate user of the system (an "outsider"). In the Internet, potential outside attackers range from amateur pranksters to organized criminals, international terrorists, and hostile governments.

(C) The term "attack" relates to some other basic security terms as shown in the following diagram: + - - - - - - - - - - - - + + - - - - + + - - - - - - - - - - -+ | An Attack: | |Counter- | | A System Resource: | | i.e., A Threat Action | | measure | | Target of the Attack | | +----------+ | | | | +-----------------+ | | | Attacker |<==================||<========= | | | | i.e., | Passive | | | | | Vulnerability | | | | A Threat |<=================>||<========> | | | | Agent | or Active | | | | +-------|||-------+ | | +----------+ Attack | | | | VVV | | | | | | Threat Consequences | + - - - - - - - - - - - - + + - - - - + + - - - - - - - - - - -+

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