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What is a Vulnerability, Payload and Exploitation?

What is a Vulnerability?

A vulnerability is a security hole in a piece of software or hardware which can provide a potential vector to attack a system. Thus to compromise a system the first step is to find a vulnerability in that system. In simple words a vulnerability is just the weakness in the software that allows an attacker to gain control.



Exploit : An exploit is the means by which an attacker, or pentester, takes advantage of a flaw within a system, an application, or a service. An attacker uses an exploit to attack a system in a way that results in a particular desired outcome that the developer never intended. In simple words, an exploit is the actual process of leveraging a vulnerability.

Payload: Piece of software that allows an attacker to control the exploited system.

Shell Code : Shell code is a set of instructions used as a payload when exploitation occurs. Shell code is typically written in assembly language.

Overflow: Error caused when a program tries to store data beyond its size. Maybe used by an attacker to execute malicious codes.

There are few common vulnerabilities in web applications:

  • Broken authentication and session management
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Buffer overflow
  • SQL INJECTION
  • Denial of Service
  • Insecure configuration management
We will discuss about each one in other posts. Now you got these points which makes you move easy when we use Kali linux for pentesting.




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