Stop Zero-Day Catastrophes

INTRUSION Team
4 min read
Jun 23, 2021

How common is it to repeatedly hear about cyberattacks? Ransomware attacks and Zero-Day attacks are becoming a massive problem today for businesses regardless of their size. Security researchers are constantly on their toes to identify critical bugs in websites and products.

Unfortunately, not every organization is prepared to defend itself. Zero-Days aren’t the principal cause of the data breach but can harm the organization in numerous ways. They occur without the organization’s knowledge resulting in data loss, system shutdown, password leaks, and loss of reputation.

Understanding Zero-Day

All software, firmware, and hardware run by an organization can be vulnerable to zero-day attacks due to unintentional technological flaws. It is the vendors’ job to identify, patch, and release updates for those vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, malicious actors eagerly wait to take advantage of such flaws to intrude into your organization.

Vendors have Zero-Days to develop a patch until the hackers turn it into an exploit; hence coined ‘Zero-Day’. When the malicious actor exploits the Zero-Day vulnerability, it’s a Zero-Day attack. Since barely anyone is aware of the flaw, there is a considerable chance for the organization to be at risk.

Another component and often confusing term is “Zero Day Malware.” Meaning as malicious actors develop new malware variants, signature-based detection & protection vendors have zero days to produce a signature and incorporate it into their databases in order to protect their clients.

A Zero-Day vulnerability goes undetected even by an updated anti-virus software until the release of a patch. Then, the security researchers discover the exploit and add it to the Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVEs) list. When the patch is released publicly, it’s no more called a Zero-Day vulnerability. As soon as the patch is available, the clock starts ticking as the organization races to update the unpatched systems to keep them secure from threats.

This attack can target all types of businesses, but high-value organizations like government bodies, military research, hardware, and software developers, are their expected targets. By targeting these organizations, attackers can leverage confidential information for their benefit.

Why is patching crucial?

Patching refers to fixing the software flaw to prevent the attackers from exploiting them, usually by releasing an update. Specific organizations regularly discover numerous vulnerabilities, making it challenging to roll out frequent patches as it is difficult to differentiate between critical and irrelevant vulnerability reports. *Project Zero by Google states that it takes nearly 15 days for an organization to patch a vulnerability. Additionally, the exponential rise in remote work has encouraged RDP usage, download of various applications, and rise in phishing scams, making it difficult for IT admins to remotely secure and maintain IT infrastructure.

Unpatched servers enable attackers to carry out ransomware attacks, install spyware, corrupt and steal organizations’ critical data. In addition, account takeover and setting up watering hole attacks are also typical after Zero-Day attacks. Timely patching keeps systems and software up to date and helps to bring down security risks. Nowadays, most organizations are depending on virtual patching due to its flexibility and to avoid unrequired downtime.

Protect yourself from Zero-Day

The world has seen enough impactful Zero-Day attacks that have shaken the cybersecurity industry. Although timely patching and avoiding phishing emails are essential, there are certainly more methods to detect and prevent Zero-Days. Signature and behavioural-based Zero-Day detection models are some of the popular forms. Other protection tips an organization should adopt are:

  1. Consider updating the organization’s infrastructure at regular intervals.
  2. Practice intensive phishing awareness training.
  3. Servers, networks, and email should have secure gateways.
  4. Organization’s defense system should be multi-layered.

Such attacks are only expected to grow in the future. Therefore, it is better to secure your organization before it’s too late. If you are looking to strengthen your organization’s security, schedule a chat with one of our security experts to learn about the INTRUSION Shield that uses real-time AI techniques to protect networks from Zero-Day attacks resulting in devastating potential damage.

Sources:

https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/p/0day.html

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