Nowadays, zero-days are among the most popular topics in the infosec community. Zero-days are unknown vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to access systems or data. These vulnerabilities are usually found in software or hardware and can be used to bypass security controls.
The time when cybercrime was just a hobby for some has long gone. It’s now a well-organized industry, with criminal gangs and nation-states using zero-days to conduct espionage or launch attacks. Today, cybersecurity defenders strive to uncover zero days before the bad guys do. But it’s not an easy task. In this guide, we will understand the whole concept of zero-days, their types, and how they are discovered and patched.
So, let’s get started…
What is a Zero-Day?
A zero-day (also known as 0-day) is a newly discovered software vulnerability that has not yet been publicly disclosed or patched. Attackers can exploit zero-days to gain unauthorized access to systems or data. Zero-days are usually found in popular software applications, operating systems, and hardware devices. They can bypass security controls, such as firewalls and antivirus solutions.
The term “zero-day” comes from the fact that there is zero time between discovering the vulnerability and the first attack. Once a zero-day is made public, it is only a matter of time before someone creates an exploit for it.
Who Discovers Zero-days?
There are three main groups of people who discovers zero-days: independent security researchers, commercial organizations, and nation-states.
Independent Security Researchers: They are usually the first to find zero-days. They do it for fun, earn recognition in the infosec community, or get rewards from bug bounty programs. In some cases, they also sell their findings to the highest bidder.
Commercial Organizations: They are usually next inline for zero-day discovery. These companies employ security researchers who look for vulnerabilities in software and hardware. They do it for profit, either by selling the information to the manufacturer or by using it to gain an advantage over the competition.
Nation-states: They have the most resources and motivation to find zero-days. They use them for espionage or to launch attacks against other nations. In some cases, they sell them to criminal gangs and other interested parties.
How do zero-days affect businesses?
Zero-days can have a devastating effect on businesses. They can lead to data breaches, loss of customer trust, and financial damage.
Data breaches: Zero-days can be used to access sensitive data, such as customer information, trade secrets, and intellectual property.
Loss of Customer Trust: If a business’s systems are breached using a zero-day, its customers will lose trust in the company. They will be less likely to do business with it and may even sue it for negligence.
Financial Damage: A data breach can cost a company millions of dollars in damages, legal fees, and lost business. In some cases, the damage is so severe that the company is forced to close down.
How to proactively prevent zero-days?
The best way to proactively prevent zero-days is to invest in a comprehensive vulnerability management solution. Such a solution should include a vulnerability management program that can help you identify and fix vulnerabilities before being exploited.
It should also include an intrusion detection system (IDS)that detects and blocks attempts to exploit zero-days. And finally, it should have a robust incident response plan to help you contain and recover from an attack.
How to choose a solution for discovery and defense?
When choosing a zero-day discovery and defense solution, you need to consider its effectiveness, cost, and impact on business operations.
· Effectiveness: Try finding a solution with a good track record of finding and preventing zero-days.
· Cost: Consider the cost of the solution, both in terms of money and resources.
· Impact on business operations: Make sure the solution you choose doesn’t negatively impact your business’s operations.
Zero-days are a serious threat to businesses. They can lead to data breaches, loss of customer trust, and financial damage. You need to invest in a comprehensive vulnerability management solution to prevent zero days. And when choosing a solution, you need to consider its effectiveness, cost, and impact on business operations.
The best way to protect your business against zero-days is to be proactive. Vulnerability management solutions helps you identify and fix vulnerabilities, detect and block attempts to exploit zero-days, and contain and recover from an attack. And when choosing a solution, make sure you consider its effectiveness, cost, and impact on business operations.
Strobes Vulnerability Intelligence (VI), a threat intelligence tool that helps ingest vulnerability data from 30 different advisories, Indicator of Compromises (IOCs), and over 100 feeds including trend analysis from Twitter. Strobes VI provides data that helps you to quickly identify whether discovered vulnerabilities have a publicly available exploit, a zero day if a vulnerability is converted into an exploit kit for ransomware, or malware attacks.