Threat, Vulnerability & Risk: Difference & Examples

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  • 0:04 Introductory Example
  • 0:56 Vulnerability
  • 1:33 Threat
  • 2:09 Risk
  • 2:45 Connection
  • 3:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Risk is a factor in all businesses. In this lesson, you'll learn how you can't have risk without vulnerability and threat. You'll also learn how risk can be assessed and evaluated.

Introductory Example

Imagine that you have a home business where you make and sell homemade essential oil soaps. People love your soaps, not only because they smell awesome but because they have health benefits, too. Because it's a home business, you have all your supplies and materials in your home, too. Well, actually, you have a whole room dedicated to this business, so that's where all your supplies and materials are stored. This room is also the room where all your soaps are made. You walk in and it smells just wonderful! You love it! But you know what? There's also some not-so-nice people that also want it. This is why you have to keep your home and home office secured at all times. But, there's only so much you can do.

Try as you might, there are just some things you can't fully protect. These gaps in your protection efforts are called your vulnerability. In this lesson, you'll learn about the differences between a vulnerability, a threat, and a risk. You'll also see how they're connected.


For your home, your vulnerability is that you don't have bars or security screens on your windows. This is a vulnerability, as unscrupulous people can easily break the window and gain entry into your home. It's a gap in your protection.

Other examples of vulnerability include these:

  • A weakness in a firewall that lets hackers get into a computer network
  • Unlocked doors at businesses, and/or
  • Lack of security cameras

All of these represent a weakness that can be used by others to hurt a business or any other asset that you care about. Actually, your business is considered one of your assets. All of your supplies, materials, and finished products for your business are all assets, too.


Vulnerabilities wouldn't be a big deal unless there's a threat. A threat is the presence of anything that can do harm to your business or asset. For your soap business, the threat you have is those not so nice people that want to come and steal your soap, so they can make money off of your hard work. Yes, your soap is that popular that others are willing to steal it!

Other examples of threat include these:

  • Bank robbers for banks
  • Car thieves for cars
  • Fake money
  • False checks, and/or
  • Computer viruses

Threats don't always have to be a person. As you can see from the list, a computer virus is a threat as the presence of the virus in a computer can harm the computer, an asset for most people.

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