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Tech Term: Zero-Day

Tech Term: Zero-Day

You might hear the term “zero-day” when discussing security threats, but do you know what they actually are? A zero-day threat is arguably one of the most devastating and dangerous security issues your business could face, and if you’re not prepared, they could be the end of it.

Before anything else, it’s critical that you understand what makes the concept of a zero-day threat so terrifying. Vulnerabilities are flaws in software that can be used by hackers and cybercriminals to access important information or cause trouble. To do so, malware is used by the hacker, but they generally need an exploitable vulnerability to do so.

Defining Zero-Day Threats
Depending on how long a vulnerability is known by developers, they might have a timeline to resolve the issue by, provided that the attack isn’t currently being used by hackers to cause trouble for businesses. However, a vulnerability that is being used in the wild without a patch or update to resolve the issue means that developers effectively have zero days to respond to the issue without the threat of it being used by hackers.

Zero-day threats are often found by black-hat hackers rather than white-hat cybersecurity researchers who generally report threats to developers, so they can be patched properly. Under the most ideal circumstances, an update can be issued before criminals start to use the vulnerability to their advantage. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and hackers might be able to use these vulnerabilities.

Protecting Against These Threats
It might seem impossible to keep your business secure from zero-day threats, and to an extent, you’re right. The easiest and best way to keep your organization as secure as possible is to take proactive measures. This includes updating your business’ technology solutions as frequently as possible whenever a new patch or update is available. This ensures that you are as protected as possible when the moment does come.

One of the most interesting and notable trends regarding zero-day threats is how they are still successful after they have been turned into an n-day vulnerability. An n-day vulnerability is one that has been discovered and fixed, but if they aren’t resolved in time, a business can still be affected by them before long. The Equifax breach is a perfect example of this, as it was a vulnerability that had been discovered, reported, and patched earlier that year, yet Equifax failed to apply the patch on time.

All businesses need to consider zero-day threats a major problem, and if you don’t take proactive action against them now, you could be putting your business at risk. To learn more about how you can protect your business now, reach out to us at (415) 295-4898.

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