No business likes to hear that it has vulnerabilities, but most do. In reality, there are very few information security systems that are impenetrable. However, by staying informed to the various types of cybersecurity weaknesses, business owners can strengthen their defenses. One cyberthreat business leaders should be aware of is the zero day vulnerability.
As part of a collaboration with the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the National Cybersecurity Institute is hosting a series of podcasts to educate people about information security. One of this week’s topics focuses on zero day vulnerabilities.
No business likes to hear that it has vulnerabilities, but most do. In reality, there are very few information security systems that are impenetrable. However, by staying informed to the various types of cybersecurity weaknesses, business owners can strengthen their defenses.
Understanding the threat
So, what exactly is a zero day vulnerability? James Antonakos of the National Cybersecurity Institute explains that this type of cyberthreat is a malware attack that was created so recently that most protection software cannot detect it. The term “zero day” refers to the number of days the system manager has been aware of the particular bug or virus. Therefore, since zero day attacks are done with brand new infiltration software, they are said to have occurred on the “zeroith” day of a cybersecurity strategists’ awareness, according to Techopedia.
Why zero day attacks are so dangerous
These cyberattacks expose system vulnerabilities that software developers have yet to recognize. By the time cybersecurity specialists realize the systems have been infiltrated, the hackers have already gained access to protected data. Zero day attacks can be costly. According to McAfee, the typical reason a hacker uses a zero day attack is to steal data and either hold it hostage for a profit or resell it to a competitor.
Hackers look for system weaknesses to launch a zero day attack that might put your company’s data at risk.
Common types of zero day attacks
While most cyberattacks use social engineering, zero day attacks exploit system vulnerability as opposed to human error. PC Tools reported that web browsers are most vulnerable to zero day attacks because the majority of people use them. Attacks through email are another way hackers try to implement zero day attacks.
Protecting yourself from zero day attacks
It is difficult to protect yourself from an unknown threat, and no cybersecurity developer can foresee the future. However, there are steps businesses can take to prevent zero day attacks. The most important thing to do is to continually update your systems and software. Patches that are created to fix zero day vulnerabilities are often included in these updates. McAfee also recommended that you should avoid installing unnecessary programs on your computer, as more software generally means more risk of infiltration. Additionally, take caution with the websites you visit and use your best judgment when responding to any call to actions from unknown parties.
Listen to the National Cybersecurity Institute’s podcast on zero day attacks listed below to learn more. You can also visit NCI’s website for more information regarding cybersecurity best practices, news and education. NCI offers many degree programs and certifications in the field of cybersecurity. These courses can help train you to be on the front lines of an information security career. Explore NCI’s options to find the best match for your goals.