What is a Zero Day Attack?

There’s ALWAYS a weak spot.

A zero day attack is also commonly known as a zero day exploit and is designed by cybercriminals to take advantage of security holes in software applications. The security vulnerabilities are those that have not been made public by the vendor while they are in the process of designing a security patch for the problem.

In other cases, a zero day attack is defined as an attack on a security hole on the same day the vulnerability is made known to the public, hence the term zero day defines this type of attack.

Software security holes can be discovered by the vendor or they can be identified by the end user or a cybercriminal purposely targeting the software program for vulnerabilities. In the case of the latter, the vulnerability will only be known in the hacker community until the vendor becomes aware of the problem and designs a security patch to fix the vulnerability. This is commonly known as a less than zero day exploit.

Once the vendor is aware of the vulnerability, the developers of the software must race to create a patch to protect the end user.

The main motive for a zero day attack is to insert malware or spyware into your computer or in the case of a large company, an entire network and the attached devices. One of the most dangerous types of attacks involves the infiltration of Ransomware.

HOW DO ZERO DAY ATTACKS WORK?

In a nutshell.

Zero day attacks happen when software vulnerabilities exist as the product is released on the market and before the vendor developers can issue a security patch for protection.

Hackers are clever.

Hackers are sophisticated programmers that can design malicious software which specifically targets a software vulnerability. Knowing the security patch release can take time, the hacker uses the malicious program to locate the security hole and launch a zero day attack. This allows your computer system or applications to be compromised before the problem can be fixed.

HOW CAN YOU PREVENT ZERO DAY ATTACKS?

If the only way to prevent a zero day attack is to wait for the vendor to release a patch, statistics point to the fact you will waste a lot of time and open your computer up to an inevitable threat. Therefore, it is best to implement precautions from the get go that will reduce the chances of a zero day attack while you are waiting for the vendor to release a fix.

  • Use an Enterprise Level Spam and Virus Filter – Many organizations have seen the benefit of implementing an Enterprise level Spam and Virus Filter, which offers a highly effective and preventative way of avoiding a potential Ransomware attack. As mentioned above, most Ransomware accesses your network via email. An Enterprise level Spam & Virus filter scans every email that’s sent to you before it enters your network environment. This preventative approach has proven to be the most effective way help stop any known threats, although it will only protect against known threats.
  • Backup Your Data and Use a Disaster Recovery Solution! – The implementation of a Cloud-based backup or Disaster Recovery solution is a wise investment that’s HIGHLY recommended because sometimes, the only way you can recover your business critical data from a Zero Day/Ransomware attack is to restore your data from backup. 90% of businesses with an IT infrastructure have a backup or DR solution in place. DON’T be one of the 10% that goes out of business because they didnt think it was necessary.
  • Beware of fake emails. – Think before you click. There are a lot of emails that appear to be from your financial institution or companies you routinely do business with. They can look legitimate but are actually fake messages that attempt to get some type of personal or financial information from you. A lot of these emails will have a malicious attachment that will execute the Ransomware when you open it, or, they are geared to install Ransomware or other malicious programs by enticing you to click on a link in the message.
  • Secure your Wireless Access Points. – Most wireless routers have WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2 encryption. Make sure you take advantage of this technology when configuring a wireless access point (you should be doing this anyway!) This will prevent zero day attacks that are designed for wireless connections.
  • Use a properly configured hardware Firewall. – Organizations that are dependent on their IT networks should use a hardware firewall and not just rely on a software firewall that’s installed on their computer. This acts as a traffic light (so to speak) and a barrier that protects your local network from outside threats.
  • Keep your antivirus/antimalware software updated – Make sure automatic updates are engaged, or make it a habit to download the latest signatures first thing each day. Periodically check to make sure that the updates have been applied, and scan your system for possible infections.
  • Have a real Anti-Ransomware solution for your servers – Having a proper solution able to manage Zero Day Attacks is a MUST, be safe and secure your data with a proven solution.

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