Difference between Threat and Attack

Accidents & DisastersSafe & SecurityNatural Calamities


The threat is a possible security condition/violation to exploit the vulnerability of a system/asset. A threat can arise from any condition for example, accident, fire incident, environmental like natural disaster, human negligence. The following are various types of threats.

  • Interruption

  • Interception

  • Fabrication

  • Modification


The attack is an intended unauthorized action on a system/asset. An attack always has a motivation to misuse system and generally wait for an opportunity to occur.

The following are some of the important differences between Threat and Attack.

Sr. No.KeyThreatAttack
1IntentionalThreats can be intentional like human negligence/failure or unintentional like natural disaster.The attack is a deliberate action. An attacker have a motive and plan the attack accordingly.
2MaliciousThe threat may or may not malicious.The attack is always malicious.
3DefinitionThe threat by definition is a condition/circumstance which can cause damage to the system/asset.Attack by definition, is an intended action to cause damage to system/asset.
4Chance for DamageChance to damage or information alteration varies from low to very high.The chance to damage or information alternation is very high.
5DetectionA threat is difficult to detect.An attack is comparatively easy to detect.
6PreventionA threat can be prevented by controlling the vulnerabilities.An attack cannot be prevented by merely controlling the vulnerabilities. Other measures like backup, detect and act etc are required to handle a cyber-attack.
Published on 16-Apr-2020 09:59:04