Attack Vector: What Is Attack Vector?

In the complicated realm of cybersecurity, someone not-so-smart decided to complicate the world just a little bit more. How? They decided to name a concept in cyber security “attack vector”. A name like that always leaves everybody wondering, ‘What is attack vector?’. 

Maybe it’s just me, but when I first looked at “attack vector”, I couldn’t even guess what it meant. 

However, the “Attack vector” has become a critical element in cybersecurity that everybody needs to know – and I guess that’s why you’re here!

By understanding what an Attack Vector is, you can recognise and mitigate cyber security risks to your business. 

So, what is attack vector?

An attack vector is a specific pathway or method cyber attackers use to target and compromise a system, network, or organisation. It is the route hackers use to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise systems. 

Understanding the attack vectors common to attack businesses like yours is crucial to mitigating cybersecurity risks your business faces.

Attack Vectors in Cyber Security

Attack vectors in cyber security are the strategies that hackers use to infiltrate, manipulate, or damage your business’s computer systems. 

Due to the constant threat of attack vectors in cyber security, most cybersecurity professionals, such as Jera, invest substantial efforts in understanding and protecting against various attack vectors. 

If you want to improve your team’s understanding of the different attack vectors, contact Jera for six months of free cybersecurity training.

Attack Vector Examples

Attack vectors in cyber security come in many different forms, each with unique characteristics.

attack vector examples

Some of the most common attack vector examples include:

Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks refer to the fraudulent practice of sending emails that appear to be from a trustworthy source but are untrustworthy. They trick individuals into revealing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or financial details. Attackers often impersonate reputable entities to gain the victim’s trust (e.g. your bank). 

Example: Imagine receiving an email seemingly from your bank, urgently requesting you to update your account information by clicking on a link. However, clicking that link doesn’t take you to your bank. Instead, it directs you to a malicious website that captures and steals your personal information. 

Compromised Passwords

Compromised passwords consist of passwords readily available for hackers to use to gain access to password-protected websites and applications. Passwords may be compromised due to an older data breach where credentials were sold on the dark web or to the reuse of passwords in instances where a breach occurred.

Example: An attacker buys a breached password on the Dark Web and can log in to your account. Now, they can access your bank details stored on this account, your address, and more without your knowledge.

Malware Injection

Malware injection involves the unwanted insertion of harmful code or software into a system or network, aiming to compromise said system or network’s functionality or integrity. 

A malware injection can take the form of viruses, worms, or trojans that, once executed, perform unauthorised actions on the affected system.

Example: An attacker identifies a vulnerability in a website’s security and injects malicious code into its pages. Visitors to the compromised site unknowingly click on and download this code, allowing the attacker to gain unauthorised access or steal sensitive data. 

SQL Injection

SQL injection is a form of attack targeting databases in web applications. In this method, attackers insert malicious SQL code into input fields to exploit vulnerabilities. 

The aim of hackers to do this is to manipulate the application’s database and potentially gain unauthorised access or extract sensitive information.

Example: An attacker inputs specific malicious code into the username and password fields on an application’s login page. When an application lacks the proper security measures, the injected code can manipulate the application’s database and provide the attacker with unauthorised access to the system. 

Man in the middle

Man-in-the-middle attacks involve an unauthorised third party intercepting and altering communications between two parties. The attacker secretly positions themselves between you and whoever you communicate with (a person or website), acting as a “middleman.”

Example: Picture what happens when you connect to what you assume to be a legitimate public Wi-Fi network. However, unbeknownst to you, an attacker has set themselves up between you and the Wi-Fi.

By doing this, the hacker can intercept your communications and capture sensitive information like login credentials. 

Threat Vectors Meaning

The threat vector meaning is the same as an attack vector. The threat vector’ and ‘attack vector’ are often interchangeable. 

A threat vector also means a threat’s direction or path hackers use to compromise a system.

Acknowledging attack and threat vectors is essential for constructing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to defend your business. 

Common Attack Vectors

But what are the most common attack vectors? 

Well, you have:

  1. Phishing attacks 
  2. Malware
  3. Social engineering 
  4. SQL injections
  5. Man-in-the-middle attacks
  6. Compromised passwords
  7. Malicious downloads. 
  8. Weak passwords
  9. Zero-day exploits

All of the above are the most common attack vectors that every organisation in Scotland must be vigilant against

If you know the most common attack vectors, you will be empowered to protect yourself and your business from the top risks you face from hackers. 

When your business proactively addresses attack vectors, you will minimise the risk of successful cyber attacks against your business

What you can do

To understand your business’s exact attack vectors, contact us here at Jera

We can talk you through the most common attack vectors your industry faces and what you can do to protect yourself from the threats. 


Overall, having a deep understanding of attack vectors and the harm each can cause, your business is one of your best defences against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. By staying informed about the meaning, examples, and common vectors, you and your team can remain one step ahead in the ongoing battle against malicious entities.