I want to say in a formal way that protecting something without changing it in a bad way is difficult.

I tried to use the word encroaching but I am unsure about how to use it. Is this the correct way?

Protecting a program from attackers without encroaching on its behavior is notoriously difficult.

  • You want a word somewhere between 'make worse' (accurate, but sounds weak) and 'cripple' (sounds strong, but the meaning is far too severe). 'Attenuate' and 'diminish' don't really work. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 29 at 11:35
  • without encroaching on its behavior sounds fine to me. The figurative use of "encroach" is very common. – Greybeard Apr 29 at 11:41
  • I think encroach generally carries strong allusions to both "trespassing" and "trampling over the right of others", so perhaps le mot juste here is actually impinge (with connotations of impact, adversely affect). See Merriam-Webster's exploration of the difference. – FumbleFingers Apr 29 at 12:13
  • @FumbleFingers: I think trespassing and trampling is what is intended in a figurative sense: The OP does not want the program affected adversely.by something "trespassing and trampling". – Greybeard Apr 29 at 12:25
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    'Behavior' here is a broadened sense that could be argued to be metaphorical. Not that I feel that that's an argument against using it here, but perhaps 'performance' fits better (though originally, again, human-orientated). – Edwin Ashworth Apr 29 at 12:58

The verb "to impair" confers the idea of damaging or simply making less effective and can be used.

(SOED) 1 v.t. Make less effective or weaker; devalue; damage, injure. [from] Middle English.

  • Protecting a program from attackers without impairing its behavior is notoriously difficult.
| improve this answer | |
  • It's certainly the mot juste. But even here, a dictionary definition would make the answer look more polished. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 29 at 13:02

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