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Vulnerability

Vulnerability

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For other uses of the word "Vulnerability", please refer to vulnerability (computing)
Vulnerability (computing)
In computer security, a vulnerability is a weakness which allows an attacker to reduce a system's information assurance.Vulnerability is the intersection of three elements: a system susceptibility or flaw, attacker access to the flaw, and attacker capability to exploit the flaw...

You may also want to refer to natural disaster
Natural disaster
A natural disaster is the effect of a natural hazard . It leads to financial, environmental or human losses...

 and vulnerability index
Vulnerability index
A vulnerability index is a composite of indices, also referred to as integrated indices, which are quantitative indicators similar to scales, which, when entered into a formula, deliver a single numerical result which can be used for triage and policy analysis. Through their use, ““diverse issues...

.

Vulnerability refer to the susceptibility of a person, group, society, sex or system to physical or emotional injury or attack. The term can also refer to a person who lets their guard down, leaving themselves open to censure or criticism. Vulnerability refers to a person's state of being liable to succumb to manipulation
Psychological manipulation
Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at the other's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative,...

, persuasion
Persuasion
Persuasion is a form of social influence. It is the process of guiding or bringing oneself or another toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and symbolic means.- Methods :...

, temptation
Temptation
A temptation is an act that looks appealing to an individual. It is usually used to describe acts with negative connotations and as such, tends to lead a person to regret such actions, for various reasons: legal, social, psychological , health, economic, etc...

 etc.

A window of vulnerability, sometimes abbreviated to wov, is a time frame within which defensive measures are reduced, compromised or lacking.

Common applications


In relation to hazard
Hazard
A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential, with only a theoretical risk of harm; however, once a hazard becomes "active", it can create an emergency situation. A hazard does not exist when it is not...

s and disasters, vulnerability is a concept that links the relationship that people have with their environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

 to social forces and institutions and the cultural values that sustain and contest them. “The concept of vulnerability expresses the multidimensionality of disasters by focusing attention on the totality of relationships in a given social situation which constitute a condition that, in combination with environmental forces, produces a disaster”.

It's also the extent to which changes could harm a system, or to which a community can be affected by the impact of a hazard.

In global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, including climate variability and extremes.

Major research questions


Within the body of literature related to vulnerability, major research streams include questions of methodology
Methodology
Methodology is generally a guideline for solving a problem, with specificcomponents such as phases, tasks, methods, techniques and tools . It can be defined also as follows:...

, such as: measuring and assessing vulnerability, including finding appropriate indicators for various aspects of vulnerability, up- and downscaling methods, and participatory methods (Villagran 2006).

Emerging research


Vulnerability research covers a complex, multidisciplinary field including development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

 and poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 studies, public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

, climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 studies, security
Security
Security is the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Security as a form of protection are structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition. The Institute for Security and Open Methodologies in the OSSTMM 3 defines security as "a form of protection...

 studies, engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

, geography, political ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

, and disaster and risk management
Risk management
Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities...

. This research is of waste importance and interest for organizations trying to reduce vulnerability – especially as related to poverty and other Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015...

. Many institutions are conducting interdisciplinary research on vulnerability. A forum that brings many of the current researchers on vulnerability together is the Expert Working Group (EWG).1 Researchers are currently working to refine definitions of “vulnerability”, measurement and assessment methods, and effective communication of research to decision makers (Birkmann et al. 2006).

A sub-category of vulnerability research is social vulnerability, where increasingly researchers are addressing some of the problems of complex human interactions, vulnerability of specific groups of people, and the impact of shocks from natural hazards, climate change, and other kinds of disruptions upon the human community. The importance of the issue is indicated by the establishment of endowed chairs at university departments to examine social vulnerability.

Vulnerabilities exploited by psychological manipulators

See Vulnerabilities exploited by manipulators


Military vulnerability


In military terminology, vulnerability is a form of survivability
Survivability
Survivability is the ability to remain alive or continue to exist. The term has more specific meaning in certain contexts.-Engineering:In engineering, survivability is the quantified ability of a system, subsystem, equipment, process, or procedure to continue to function during and after a natural...

, the others being susceptibility and recoverability. Vulnerability is defined in various ways depending on the nation and service arm concerned, but in general it refers to the near-instantaneous effects of a weapon attack. In some definitions, recoverability (damage control, firefighting, restoration of capability) is included in vulnerability.

A discussion of warship vulnerability can be found here.

Expert Working Group on Vulnerability


The Expert Working Group on Vulnerability is a group of experts brought together by the United Nations University Institute of Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). The overall goal of the Expert Working Group is to advance the concept of human security regarding vulnerability of societies to hazards of natural origin. The EWG exchanges ideas about the development of methodologies, approaches and indicators to measure vulnerability. This is a key task to build a bridge between the theoretical conceptualization of vulnerability and its practical application in decision-making processes. The Expert Working Group is an exchange platform for experts and practitioners from various scientific backgrounds and world regions dealing with the identification and measurement of vulnerability. Emphasis is given to the identification of the different features and characteristics of vulnerability, coping capacities and adaptation strategies of different social groups, economic sectors and environmental components.

See also

  • Gullibility
    Gullibility
    Gullibility is a failure of social intelligence in which a person is easily tricked or manipulated into an ill-advised course of action. It is closely related to credulity, which is the tendency to believe unlikely propositions that are unsupported by evidence....

  • Social vulnerability
    Social vulnerability
    In its broadest sense, social vulnerability is one dimension of vulnerability to multiple stressors and shocks, including abuse, social exclusion and natural hazards. Social vulnerability refers to the inability of people, organizations, and societies to withstand adverse impacts from multiple...

  • Vulnerability in computing
    Vulnerability (computing)
    In computer security, a vulnerability is a weakness which allows an attacker to reduce a system's information assurance.Vulnerability is the intersection of three elements: a system susceptibility or flaw, attacker access to the flaw, and attacker capability to exploit the flaw...

  • Vulnerability index
    Vulnerability index
    A vulnerability index is a composite of indices, also referred to as integrated indices, which are quantitative indicators similar to scales, which, when entered into a formula, deliver a single numerical result which can be used for triage and policy analysis. Through their use, ““diverse issues...


External links