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Difference between Threat and Attack

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Threat is a possible security violation that might exploit the vulnerability of a system or asset. The origin of the threat may be accidental, environmental (natural disaster), human negligence, or human failure. Difference types of security threats are an interruption, interception, fabrication, and modification. Attack is a deliberate unauthorized action on a system or asset. Attacks can be classified as active and passive attacks. An attack will have a motive and will follow a method when the opportunity arises. 

Prerequisite – System Security Threat and attacks are two important events from a security perspective. It is really important to understand the difference between both from the perspective of network security.

The difference between threat and attack are:

Can be intentional or unintentionalIs intentional 
May or may not be maliciousIs malicious 
Circumstance that has the ability to cause damageObjective is to cause damage 
Information may or may not be altered or damagedChance for information alteration and damage is very high 
Comparatively hard to detectComparatively easy to detect 
Can be blocked by control of vulnerabilitiesCannot be blocked by just controlling the vulnerabilities 
Can be initiated by the system itself as well as by outsiderIs always initiated by an outsider (system or user) 

Can be classified into Physical threat, internal threat,

external threat, human threat, and non-physical threat.

Can be classified into Virus, Spyware, Phishing, Worms, Spam, 

Botnets, DoS attacks, Ransomware, Breaches.

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Last Updated : 12 Jul, 2022
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