Difference among threat, vulnerability and risk

Updated 15 April 2024

In today’s world, information and protecting that information are one of the critical tasks for the companies. Because every customer wants to ensure that you are keeping their information safe, if you can’t keep their information safe you might lose your business.

So, to handle information security issues that may impact your business, you should understand the relationship between 3 components- Threat, vulnerability, and risk.

Let’s start with the things that we are going to protect, called Assets. Assets are what we are going to protect, it includes- people, property, and data.

People may include employees and customers of the company. Property may include tangible and intangible items. Data includes software code, company records, and other intangible items.


Threat refers to an event that can lead to an undesired outcome such as damage or loss of an asset. Threats may be uncontrollable and are difficult or impossible to identify in advance.

To understand threats, we should try to understand relevant agents and their mindset, assets to be affected, and possible actions against assets.

Some common examples of threats are:-

  • Fire in the office
  • Employees of the organization leaking information to its competitors
  • Change in government policies
  • Market influences


Vulnerability can be defined as the weakness or loophole in our systems. It is a weakness of any program that can be exploited by threats to gain unauthorized access to the assets.

In other words, an application vulnerability can lead to a successful attack.

For example, this leaves your business open to intentional and unintentional threats when a team member resigns and you forget to disable their access to external accounts, change logins or remove their names from company records.


Risk can be defined as the potential for damage or harm when a threat exploits a vulnerability. It may include financial losses, privacy losses, reputation damage, and any other kind of loss.

The risk to your company would be information loss or a business interruption due to failing to address your vulnerabilities.

In other words,

we can say Assets + Threats + Vulnerability = Risk

Besides that, looking for a security audit service? That identifies vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting, guessable credentials, unattended application security flaws, and other misconfiguration in your e-commerce store, check out the Webkul basic security module.

Check out this Magento 2-based e-commerce store security extension which can also be customized.

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