Infection Vector is a term computer security professionals use to describe the way a computer gets infected or compromised with malicious software. It is the route used to deliver the malicious payload, usually via the internet.
The infection vector can have many forms including email, removable media like a USB drive, or even social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. As computers become more and more connected to the internet, the risks of infection from malicious source increase dramatically.
In general, infection vectors can be broken down into two main categories – direct and indirect. In direct vectors, an infection is created when a malicious file is directly downloaded and executed. Some examples of direct infection vectors include malicious code hidden in spam emails, malicious websites, or P2P networks.
In indirect vectors, an infection is created when malicious software gains access to a system by exploiting an existing hole in the computer’s security. An example of an indirect vector is a malicious user exploiting an out of date browser plugin.
It is important for computer users to understand how infections can be delivered to their systems so they can protect themselves. Regular security scanning, anti-virus software, and patch management are all important parts of staying safe from malicious infection vectors.