There are many types of security vulnerabilities and opportunities for cyberattacks. Businesses are responsible for keeping their organizations protected against these attacks, both to adhere to regulatory compliance and to keep their employees, customers, and proprietary data safe. One of the most common and most difficult flaws to protect against is a zero day vulnerability, but what is a zero day vulnerability, and how can it be exploited?
Software programs often have vulnerabilities. These are unintentional flaws, or holes in software programs that could hypothetically be taken advantage of. For example, there may be a flaw that allows a cybercriminal to gain access to otherwise secure data.
Software programmers are often on the lookout for these vulnerabilities. When they discover a vulnerability, they analyze it, come up with a “patch” to fix the vulnerability, then issue that patch in a new release of the software.
However, this is a process that takes time. When the flaw becomes known, hackers all over the world can begin attempting to exploit it; in other words, developers have zero days to find a fix for the problem, hence the term “zero day vulnerability”.
If a hacker manages to exploit the vulnerability before software developers can find a fix, that exploit becomes known as a zero day attack.
Zero day vulnerabilities can take almost any form, because they can manifest as any type of broader software vulnerability. For example, they could take the form of missing data encryption, SQL injection, buffer overflows, missing authorizations, broken algorithms, URL redirects, bugs, or problems with password security.
This makes zero day vulnerabilities difficult to proactively find—which in some ways is good news, because it also means hackers will have a hard time finding them. But it also means it’s difficult to guard against these vulnerabilities effectively.
It’s difficult to protect yourself from the possibility of a zero day attack, since they can take many forms. Almost any type of security vulnerability could be exploited as a zero day if a patch is not produced in time. Additionally, many software developers intentionally try not to publicly reveal the vulnerability, the hopes that they can issue a patch before any hackers discover that the vulnerability is present.
There are a few strategies that can help you defend your business against zero day attacks:
Are you interested in guarding your organization against the possibility of a zero day attack? Or do you have a need for increased security overall? Contact Check Point Software today for a free consultation.