A zero-day exploit is like a game cheat. The player who discovers a cheat uses this opportunity to have an in-game advantage. That player becomes so overpowered and the game masters or GMs notice this. The GMs will then ban this player to be fair to everyone.
A zero-day exploit happens when someone takes advantage of a software vulnerability. You will know more about zero-day exploits in the next section.
You’ll also know some pro tips on how to prevent zero-day exploits from happening. You’ll also see the importance of using a great product like SecureBox.
What Is A Zero-Day Exploit?
A zero-day exploit happens when someone takes advantage of a software weakness. Cybercriminals continue exploiting this software vulnerability while a fix is unavailable. This vulnerability in software exists because of poor programming practices. Another reason is because of outdated software.
Seeing a zero-day attack example will help you in understanding zero-day exploit examples. Here’s a typical scenario:
Joe found out that by dialing *#187#* on his phone app, it opens up a secret connection to a Swiss bank account login screen. Joe shared this with his best friend Maria. He also informed the local authorities afterward.
Maria exploited this vulnerability and started withdrawing funds from the Swiss bank account. She was later caught by the authorities. She later confessed using brute force cracking attack to gain access. Here is the breakdown of our scenario:
Zero-day vulnerability = Joe discovers the secret connection to the Swiss bank account.
Zero-day attack = Maria using brute force cracking to gain access.
Zero-day exploit = Maria withdrawing funds while a fix to the vulnerability is unavailable.
You now understand what a typical zero-day exploit scenario looks like. You will now see some pro tips on how to prevent zero-day exploits in the next section.
How To Prevent Zero-day Exploits
A cybercriminal is always searching for any sign of vulnerability to take advantage. They will first start looking for existing vulnerabilities and exploits those. They will also look for common programming errors. They have their own vulnerability scanning tools and use it for malicious purposes.
How can you prevent this from happening to you? The following are some professional tips in preventing zero-day exploits:
1. Always update all your applications or programs. Most zero-day exploits target outdated software. This is the primary reason why an exploit exists because there’s no available patch yet. A patch contains the fixes and updates from the software vendor or developer. When a security patch is already available, the zero-day exploit is no longer a threat. This will also prevent it from happening again in the future.
Use Windows’ update feature to patch your system. You can also use a third party application like SecureBox together with it. How will this product help with patching software? SecureBox alerts you with various kinds of reports:
- Malware threat detection reports
- Network IP change reports
- Application upgrade reports
- Remote control detection reports
- Application usage reports
- License usage reports
- Injection detection reports
- Application uninstall/install reports
- Email notifications based on reports
Once you get a notification report from SecureBox, then it’s time to update your copy of Windows. For details on how to check for Windows updates, click here.
2. A zero-day exploit happens because there’s a lack of security monitoring on your network. Using some sort of system activity monitoring application is advisable. A web application firewall or WAF does the job well. SecureBox has web application firewall features. It watches over your system or network for any suspicious activity. This feature of SecureBox also prevents SQL injection and DDoS attacks.
3. A zero-day exploit can also happen if your system is malware infected. Here are the different types of malware:
Using a reliable antimalware software is advisable. SecureBox also has antimalware capabilities. It offers cloud-based malware prevention, detection, and removal. This is a cost-effective security setup. You don’t have to worry about the hardware and software installation as it’s done on the server side. This will not consume your local network resources.
4. You can prevent a zero-day exploit from happening by using a whitelist. This contains the approved programs and websites that are accessible over a network. SecureBox has a whitelisting feature as well.
5. Using a Host Intrusion Protection System or HIPS also stops zero-day exploits. This security technique identifies and prevents network intrusions, as per Comodo. SecureBox is an award-winning product that has this feature as well.
6. A zero-day exploit happens because there’s a vulnerability in the first place. You have to search for these weaknesses before a cybercriminal sees it. SecureBox is an amazing product. It also has cloud-based vulnerability scanning features. It scans your system for security holes on a regular basis. This is a very convenient solution as the equipment and setup will be on SecureBox’s end.
You now have a clear understanding of what a zero-day exploit is. You also now know its difference from a zero-day vulnerability and a zero-day attack. You are now knowledgeable about how to prevent zero-day exploits from happening. Keep yourself protected by using SecureBox. Sign up now for a free demo!