In the digital era that we live in today, cyber security is readily becoming a concern for not only individuals but also for businesses all around the world. While the technology is advancing with every passing day, it is also evolving equally rapidly for people with malicious intents such as cyber attacks.
With each advancement in security technologies, cybercriminals adapt and devise new tactics, prompting security providers to continuously innovate and stay one step ahead.
In fact, today, cyber security has turned into a rat race for those providing security and those trying to breach it!
It is important to understand that while the white hats are always hunting for faults and vulnerabilities in software, hackers with malicious intents are busy doing the same. And sometimes, they succeed in finding the software vulnerabilities before the white hats. This gives rise to a plethora of problems. How can we expect to protect against vulnerabilities that we are not even aware of?
As a result, hackers are able to launch serious attacks that severely threaten the security of software users. A zero-day exploit is one such attack.
Zero-Day Cyber Attacks
A zero-day vulnerability, also known as a 0-day exploit, is an advanced form of cyber attacks that targets the software-related vulnerabilities. The catch with this kind of attack is that it targets the vulnerabilities that are still unknown to the antivirus vendors and even the organization that developed the software.
The attacker finds the vulnerability and quickly uses it for cyber attacks before the concerned authorities can detect any issue. Even when they become aware of the attack, there’s less they can do about it instantaneously because they don’t have a mitigation plan to deal with the situation. This buys time for the attacker. As a result, zero-day attacks are mostly successful and highly dangerous.
Anyone can become a victim of this kind of cyber attacks. However, mostly these attacks are used for high-profile targets. Generally, large enterprises and even government departments are targeted through zero-day exploits. In some instances, government bodies use these kinds of attacks to target individuals or organizations that are a threat to national security. But that’s not it – an average everyday user can also be targeted through a zero-day attack.
High-Profile Examples of Zero-Day Cyber Attacks!
A zero-day attack is not new to us. These cyber attacks exploit vulnerabilities in software or systems that are unknown to the developers or security experts, leaving no time for a patch or fix before cybercriminals exploit them. Numerous high-profile examples serve as a stark reminder of the destructive potential of zero-day attacks.
Sony is a renowned brand that became a victim of the zero-day attack. In 2012, the network of Sony Pictures was left crippled after the attack. Moreover, sensitive business data was leaked on multiple file-sharing websites.
While the details of the attack are unknown, the information leaked included business plans and even personal information of senior executives.
A zero-day attack was used to target the data and intellectual property of major enterprises in 2009. The biggest names included Google, Yahoo, Dow Chemicals, and Adobe Systems.
The vulnerability that was exploited by hackers basically existed in Perforce and Internet Explorer.
These attacks pose a serious threat to organizations everywhere. It’s only wise to have an effective protocol in place to safeguard your systems.
So what does this mean for me?
While it is difficult, if not impossible, to protect your self or your organization from zero-day exploits, the best you can do is to remain ever vigilant to their announcements. Connect your self with a trusted IT Partner who will ensure your equipment (not just your end-user devices, but networking devices as well!) are patched properly and on time.