Zero-day Vulnerability: What It Is, And How to Protect Your Device


Nowadays, cyber-attacks are not a novelty. Therefore, it never hurts to learn how cyber criminals take advantage of vulnerabilities, what the consequences are, and how to protect yourself against possible attacks.

Vulnerabilities are the flaws of the operating systems or software. If a vulnerability is called zero-day, it means it hasn’t been noticed yet or has only been discovered recently. Software developers hasn’t fixed it yet. Meanwhile, hackers may discover the security flaw and make use of it. Unaddressed vulnerable spot works the same way the slow bomb does.

Zero-Day Vulnerability and Zero-Day Exploit Definitions

When we talk about a zero-day, it is worthy to distinguish between a zero-day vulnerability and a zero-day exploit. While both refer to the same problem, the two are like a cause and a consequence.

The first term refers to a security hole in an OS or app. As for the exploits, these are the attacks that make use of zero-day vulnerabilities.  Security flaws allow hackers to set up malicious software on the vulnerable device.

Zero-day exploits

In most cases, the general public will never learn about zero-day vulnerability. As soon as the flaw is discovered, developers do their best to release a patch before hackers learn about the weakness and take advantage of it.

However, they may fail to win the race. Moreover, sometimes the threat remains undiscovered by software designers for a while. In both cases, malefactors manage to build an exploit kit to spread malware.

Zero-Day Attack Examples

To imagine an approximate amount of the digital attacks today, think about the number of the vulnerable object in the web. Dozens of zero-day exploits arise annually. These are the attacks discovered by vendors, while there are others which remain undiscovered. Some of the most notorious attacks include Heartbleed, Aurora, RSA Hack, and Stuxnet.

Whether you are interested in the technologies or not, you may have heard about the Struts vulnerability. The mentioned hole was used precisely when the data breach in Equifax happened. Although the developers managed to fix the vulnerability, Equifax failed to apply the update. As a result, it became a zero-day attack.

How to protect your devices from zero-day vulnerabilities?

Protection from zero-days

The safety of your devices should be one of your top priorities as there is nothing pleasant in the leak of data. Moreover, leaving a zero-day vulnerability untouched may lead to the attacks and, eventually, to some severe damage of either device or private information. Naturally, you would like to know what are the ways to protect the devices from this sort of issue.

Below, are a few easy-to-follow tips to secure your system and devices:

  • Keep your software up-to-date and always check for the latest patches. It may be a good idea to install software that would automatically update all your essential apps.
  • Develop personal online security habits such to never download files from unknown sources or to never open suspicious attachments.
  • Get a reliable security software that will take care of all the vulnerabilities. Top antivirus solutions use behavior-tracking algorithms to identify zero-day threats. They will protect you from all kinds of malware that may infect your device because of a zero-day vulnerability.

The point is that it is better to apply more security measures at once to ensure the protection of the devices.

Bottom Line

It is always easier to foresee the issue and prevent it than to solve it. In case of the bugs, attacks, and holes, the statement proves its relevance. Prevention means a lot when it comes to digital safety. Therefore, consider investing some time and money to keep your device safe.