A security hole, also generally referred to as a computer vulnerability, is a flaw or susceptibility in a system that can be exploited. If discovered, security holes are gateways for hackers to install malicious software and possibly initiate a zero day attack if not discovered and patched by the vendor. A vulnerability can exist if the system has a security flaw, an attacker has access to the flaw, and the attacker has the capability to exploit the flaw. This security hole can also be known as the attack surface. The time period from when a security hole is introduced to when either access was removed, a security fix was implemented, or the attacker was thwarted is known as the window of vulnerability. Security holes can be found in all software and in order to plug these holes, software developers issue security updates, also known as “fixes” or “patches,” in order to immediately repair the problem. Unfortunately, cybercriminals can also reverse engineer these patches to discover what the vulnerability of the system was and create exploits from the intended solution. In order to keep security holes to a minimum on your own system, it is a good idea to keep all of your software up to date either by clicking the “check for updates” button or setting your software to automatically check for updates regularly, if available.
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