Software programs are designed in such a way that they continuously function as intended and are protected against malicious attacks. Unfortunately, despite software security, they still often have vulnerabilities programming errors, or improper computer or security configurations. When these hackers discover these unintentional flaws, they take these as opportunities for cyberattacks known as zero-day attacks.
What Are Zero-Day Attacks?
The term “zero-day” refers to recently discovered security vulnerabilities in the software. To address this, the developers have to release updated software patches. However, since they have just learned of the flaws, they have “zero days” to fix the problem and protect the users.
When left unaddressed or when the software vendors fail to release a patch right away, the hackers have a chance to exploit these vulnerabilities. Successfully managing to exploit these security holes is called a zero-day attack.
How Do Zero-Day Attacks Work?
Software developers always look out for vulnerabilities. They then develop a solution in a new update to address them. But when attackers spot these vulnerabilities before the developers do, they create an exploit code that may victimise users.
Afterwards, attackers often utilise email fraud or use a socially engineered email to reach the vulnerable system. Once users perform a certain action, like visiting a malicious website, it downloads malware that infiltrates their files and steals their data.
How Should Businesses Protect Themselves against Zero-Day Attacks?
Stopping a zero-day attack is not easy. It can take days, weeks, or months to identify security vulnerabilities. Additionally, not all users can implement a zero-day patch even after it gets released. To protect themselves against zero-day attacks, businesses should take the following precautions:
- Use a Firewall and Only Essential Applications
A firewall protects the system against zero-day threats by providing maximum protection and allowing only authorised and necessary transactions. It is every business’s must-have. As for applications, only the essential ones must be used. This is because using more software means being exposed to more potential attacks.
- Update Software and Operating Systems Regularly
Security patches are created to address newly discovered security vulnerabilities. These are released in new software updates. Ensure systems and data are secure by keeping the software and operating systems up to date.
- Educate Users
Human error plays a major role in many zero-day attacks. To promote online protection, take the time and effort to educate users within the organisation about good safety and security habits. It involves ensuring they follow cyber security best practices.
- Be Informed
Security vulnerabilities that hackers could potentially exploit are sometimes publicized. For this reason, staying informed about the latest news and paying attention to the newest software releases may provide a clue about which security measures to implement to prevent vulnerabilities from getting exploited.
- Work with Professionals
Zero-day vulnerabilities come in different forms, including bugs, missing data encryption, or problems with password security. They are difficult to find, which makes guarding against security vulnerabilities challenging. By employing additional security measures and hiring security professionals, businesses can get better protection and prevent zero-day attacks and brand abuse.
Businesses are responsible for keeping their organisations and users protected against zero-day attacks. What makes these attacks especially dangerous is only the attackers themselves know when they will attack. To defend your business against them, hire experts like us.