Zero-Day Attacks: What Are They and How Do You Protect Yourself?
The cybersecurity world is indeed and confusing one. In fact, hacks and breaches occur every year, exposing millions of sensitive records. However, if you are a business or organization with an effective and efficient cybersecurity strategy, you may not notice. Hacks and data breaches can be seen immediately, and they can be blocked, patched, repaired, and learned from so they no longer serve as a threat moving forward.
While there are numerous security flaws and issues found on a daily basis, one of the most serious types of security issues is known as Zero-day attacks. Zero-day attacks are more serious because they are not as easy to detect, and they present a greater risk.
Zero-Day Attack: What is it?
The term zero-day is a reference to a recently discovered software vulnerability. Due to the recent development of the flaw, this also means there is no official update or patch available to repair the issue. The vulnerability was previously unknown or not disclosed by anyone involved in the security environment, including the software vendor.
As Sean Connery of Orbis Solutions Inc. puts it: Once that flaw or software/hardware vulnerability is exploited, and the attackers release any form of malware before a developer is able to create a patch the fix the vulnerability or exploit, it is known as ”zero-day”.
Generally, this term(zero-day) applies to any attack that is taking place, but because a zero-day attack is so time-sensitive, an occurring attack is sometimes referred to as a timeframe. This timeframe is the vulnerability window, and creators must make sure they are able to shrink this window as much as possible.
Why Are Zero-Day Attacks Effective?
Zero-day attacks have the ability to be brutal and merciless. When zero-days are discovered, timing will be pivotal. One of the reasons zero-day attacks have proven to have such a major impact is the measures that are used to employ them. Zero-days are still fairly new in the IT and security worlds.
In the past, the majority of the security tools were dependent on signatures, and this involved building and maintaining the various codes that would be discovered and put to an end in a short period of time. However, as we know in the cybersecurity world, attackers will never stick to one malicious strategy.
Since the exploits and vulnerabilities of zero-day are unknown, taking the reactive approach for zero-day attacks is not effective. Today’s security tools are taking a different approach when it comes to software. Behavior-based security tools are designed to determine the behavior and block anything that may be suspicious.
Are Zero-Day Attacks A Common Occurrence?
Unfortunately, zero-day attacks are a common occurrence. In recent years, there have been zero-day attacks on big names, including the following:
- Microsoft Office, 2017. A malicious HTML application file was disguised as a document created in Microsoft’s RTF (Rich Text Format).
- Adobe Flash Player, 2016. Hackers were able to control read and write memory.
Unfortunately, there are zero-day exploits and vulnerabilities that are still being uncovered. Zero-days are becoming the norm, and non-zero days are going to become less common as time goes on. Since zero-day attacks are becoming so common, security researchers are taking on the difficult task of understanding the vulnerabilities and gaining access to different systems.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
In the year 2000, your business or organization may have been able to fight off some of the biggest cybersecurity challenges on your own. You could use one or more popular antivirus programs, make adjustments to your workplace computer rules, and ensure every device and program was protected with a complex password.
However, in 2021 this is no longer the case. Even startups and businesses that have less than 10 employees will need to have an effective cybersecurity strategy in place to prevent hacks and breaches. Hackers can pose numerous threats to your business or organization, including the following:
- Exploiting confidential and sensitive data
- Stealing funds
- Holding sensitive and confidential information for ransom
If your business or organization uses technology, you are vulnerable to zero-days. Typically, vulnerable targets are those who do not implement effective cybersecurity strategies. If you have a combative patch management program, utilize two-factor authentication, and your most sensitive data is encrypted, you may not be seen as a primary target.
However, you should not make the assumption that you will never be a target. If you become careless or self-satisfied with your current cybersecurity strategy, you can quickly become a target for an attack.
Stopping Zero-Day Threats
As mentioned previously, zero-day attacks are some of the most difficult attacks to put an end to, but by implementing a few practices, you will be able to decrease the chances of your business or organization becoming a target and a victim of a zero-day attack:
- Educate employees and users on best practices and ensure everyone is using good security habits
- Use an email security solution that is advanced and proactive
- Establish a web application firewall that will ensure your business or organization is able to react quickly and in real-time
- Use a network access control tool that will only allow authorized machines to access your internet network
It is important to have ways to detect any type of threat. Unfortunately, many businesses and organizations do not have a strategy in place that will allow them to do so. Unfortunately, many businesses and organizations uncover the threats after they have been exposed and breached.
A professional and experienced Managed Service Provider (MSP) can provide you with the cybersecurity protections your business needs, while also handling other aspects of your IT needs. It is important to invest in high-quality measures to protect your business against zero-day attacks. While there is no way to stop someone from getting into your business or network if they really want to, you can reduce your risks.
There are steps you can take to prevent the destruction that can be caused by a zero-day attack. For more information on zero-day attacks and the steps, you can take to guard your business against the unknown enemy, contact Orbis Solutions Inc. today at (702) 602-2109 for a free consultation.
Orbis Solutions, Inc., in Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin and throughout Nevada, has developed creative, strategic and cost-effective technical solutions for a wide variety of clients. Offering a diverse range of products and services, Orbis provides IT solutions to promote your company’s productivity and profitability, and help you sort through the latest-hyped technology, so you can select the best hardware, software or service for your business needs.