The term Zero Day Threat can be confusing to a lot of people. It sounds like an action-packed thriller movie but I can tell you it is definitely not a thrill to be impacted by one. It is definitely a term that originates out of the bowels of cybersecurity but it represents one of the scariest cyber vulnerabilities to computer systems, digital devices and the digital infrastructure that runs our lives is faced with.
A zero-day threat represents a vulnerability in digital technology, most notably software, that is exploited and discovered on the same day. Zero Day represents the age of the exploit, which takes place before or on the first (or “zeroth”) day of a product and/or
So what is a Zero Day Threat, Really?
A zero day threat is an attack vector that is known only to the attackers, so it can work without interruption from the software create or users. It is a flaw in a piece of software, or even sometimes hardware. The typical lifecycle of an attack utilizing zero days to compromise devices:
- A vulnerability or new attack vector is discovered by a malware creator
- The capability is weaponized and proven to work by the hacker
- Zero day vulnerabilities are kept secret and utilized by bad actors
- The vulnerability is discovered by defenders
- The software or hardware manufacturer or application vendor delivers a patch
- The zero day is no longer a zero day
Bad actors are constantly looking for, testing, and seeking vulnerabilities in our digital lives. It is also possible that even regular users discover these vulnerabilities and warn other users and the company who built the technology – often broadcasting the find over the internet. Once the vulnerability is discovered, it is a race for the hackers to exploit the vulnerability and the companies making the product to fix it.
That’s what makes zero-day threats so dangerous for us today. Hackers are very sophisticated and work very fast. Once they discover a vulnerability or one is identified through public forums, say via a user, they can and do move very quickly to exploit it. It’s a constant battle for companies building software and hardware to stay ahead of the criminals.
How to protect yourself from a Zero Day Threat?
While zero-day attacks make us all vulnerable, where they are most dangerous is long after a
- Update your browser, operating system, and applications – applying patches closes the exposures in your software and operating systems, strengthening your resistance to malware.
- Do NOT click on links in unknown emails or download unknown attachments – #1 rule of good cybersecurity hygiene and an effective method to protect against zero-day attacks.
- Use only essential applications– the more apps you have installed, the greater the risk to malware. Reduce the risk to your network by using a minimum of applications.
- Be careful which website sites you visit – Consider using a safe search tool that will warn you of risky sites in your browser search results and prevent you from going to malicious sites.
- Get quality antivirus/antimalware tools – invest in a comprehensive
Stay vigilant and fight against cybercrime.
The first rule of good cybersecurity and digital protection is simply to apply common sense – “check twice, click once”.
By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from EveryDayCyber. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Lock the Door. Bad Passwords: The Greatest Threats to Password Security
Bad passwords are the entry way for hackers to get into your accounts. Learn how to protect your cyber assets by using better passwords now.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall blocks outsiders from gaining unauthorized access to your computer and helps stop malicious software from infecting your computer.
7 ways to secure your home office
People working from home perform most of their tasks online. They are now more exposed to cyber attacks than ever before. Cyber criminals see a great opportunity in the massive growth in working from home and the vulnerabilities of home office security.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is the process of scrambling data – text, audio, video into an unreadable form, known as ciphertext, so only authorized resources can decode/access it.
What is Hacking?
Hacking is an old game in the cyberworld with ever changing players and techniques. It may be done with good intentions or malicious motives. It is growing rapidly because of the proliferation of devices.
What is Shoulder Surfing?
Shoulder surfing is a form of social engineering that enables cybercriminals to gather information just by looking over their victims’ shoulders. The aim of shoulder surfing is to obtain personal data, such as usernames, passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs), bank account numbers or credit card numbers.