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What is a Vulnerability?
Security holes/bugs are faults, defects, or programming errors. These may be exploited by unauthorized users to access computer networks or web servers from the Internet. As these vulnerabilities become known, software publishers develop "patches", "fixes" or "updates" that you can download to fix the problems.
In the security community, the word "vulnerability" describes a problem (such as a programming bug or common configuration error) that allows a system to be attacked or broken into. Indeed, finding vulnerabilities is a big part of the hacker/information security culture.
Searching for vulnerabilities is a way of proving that you are "elite". This subculture is similar to the scientific community. For example, there are a number of people (usually commercial companies) that are "research whores"; they take existing research and add their own small contribution, but then publish the result in such a way that leads people to believe that they are responsible for all the research leading up to that discovery.
Words like "exploit" and "vulnerability" are tightly bound together. Often, a script/program will exploit a specific vulnerability. Since most vulnerabilities are exploited by script kiddies, the vulnerability is often known by the name of the most popular script that exploits it. In any case, there are broad-spectrum vulnerability scanners/assessment tools that will scan a system and look for common vulnerabilities. These are often used in order to toughen up a computer system.
In computer security, the term vulnerability is applied to a weakness in a system that allows an attacker to violate the integrity of that system. Vulnerabilities may result from weak passwords, software bugs, a computer virus or a script code injection, and a SQL injection.
A security hole may exist only in theory, or may have a known instance of an exploit. Constructs in programming languages that are difficult to use properly can be a large source of vulnerabilities.
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