• Ayisha Niba

The Ever Dangerous Zero-Day (0-day) Vulnerability | WICS

Yes, zero-days since the vulnerability has been found and zero-days before you patch them!

These vulnerabilities may have already been exploited by the hackers, if not, you are on the lucky side, and you have won yourself some time to fix things.

Essentially, zero-day vulnerabilities are nothing but any software vulnerability that is unknown to the ones who should necessarily mitigate the vulnerability. It may be a newly discovered vulnerability that currently has no remedy.

Understanding with Examples:

  • One of the most infamous zero-day attack which targeted Sony Pictures in 2014 released highly confidential data including personal information about employees, information regarding executive salaries, forthcoming Sony films, and future plans of Sony films, along with other information.

  • Stuxnet, one among the most notorious malware discovered ever, is believed to have caused significant damage to the nuclear program of Iran. This malware exploited 4 different zero-day vulnerabilities in one package in the Microsoft Windows operating system.

  • Recently Zoom confirmed a zero-day vulnerability for users running Windows 7 or older versions of the operating system. This vulnerability has now been patched. The vulnerability could have allowed attackers to use remote code execution (RCE) on affected machines. To keep themselves safe and secure, Zoom users are advised to apply the latest patch or download the latest Zoom software from the official website.

Defenses against Zero-Day Attacks:

It may be a difficult task to eradicate zero-day attacks, but nevertheless there are still several ways to defend and protect yourself from previously unknown vulnerabilities.

  • Updates and Patch Management: Always keep applications up to date because updates contain essential security patches that should not be ignored. Also, software vendors should release patches at the earliest for newly discovered software vulnerabilities.

  • Monitor: Continuous monitoring of networks, systems, and web applications- looking for any pattern or activities that could indicate a zero-day attack is essential.

  • Multi-Feature Security Software: Installing security software with multiple properties including Internet security, virus protection, spyware removal and protection from other kinds of malware will help minimize the attacks from various known and unknown vulnerabilities.

  • Web Application Firewall: Deploying a web application firewall (WAF) on the network edge helps in reviewing all incoming traffic and blocking malicious traffic that might target security vulnerabilities.

  • Practice safe online security habits: Impose stringent internet and software use policies and, educate and train users to recognize phishing attacks and other security risks.

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