Did you know that last year saw the record for zero-day attacks broken? According to various databases and cyber security consulting companies, there were at least 58 different zero-days that were disclosed in 2021. That’s not only nearly twice as much as 2020, but also a higher figure than ever before.
In this article, you’ll discover exactly what zero-day vulnerabilities, exploits and attacks are and what effect they can have on your business. You’ll also find out what you can do to best protect yourself from potential malicious attacks and keep your business as safe as possible.
What Is A Zero-Day Attack?
Different kinds of software can have particular vulnerabilities which can be exploited by hackers in various ways to cause problems. While the software’s developers do their best to identify any of these vulnerabilities to fix them, there are times when hackers find them first. If this happens, hackers can then develop code (known as exploit code) to implement and take advantage of it.
For the uninitiated, when we talk about zero-day we’re referring to a certain type of security vulnerability that can be used by hackers to attack a system that has only been discovered. Hence, there are ‘zero days’ in which to fix it.
There are three main definitions relating to zero-day that you may come across:
Zero-day vulnerabilities are exposures within security software that relevant parties aren’t aware of yet.
Zero-day exploits are the methods used by hackers to take advantage of unidentified vulnerabilities within software for malicious purposes.
A zero-day attack is when hackers use their zero-day exploit in order to commit a cyber attack, stealing data or damaging the system with the vulnerability.
Impacts Of Zero Day Vulnerability
Implementing the proper protection from zero-day attacks is absolutely essential for every business. Doing so will help to safeguard you from:
Should the zero-day attack be picked up from news outlets, the reputation of your brand as one that has the proper protection protocols in place will be severely damaged. This means internal and external stakeholders as well as customers will think twice before choosing your business over your competitors.
Theft of data
You never want to leave your sensitive data open to be stolen and used in a variety of nefarious ways. If hackers find a zero-day vulnerability and use it to gain access to sensitive employee, customer and even company data, they may hold it for ransom, commit identity theft or otherwise.
Whatever industry your business operates within, work stoppage due to a hacker gaining access to your systems is going to cost you money. In addition, the costs of conducting investigations, undertaking response and recovery actions can also add up rather quickly.
As the famous saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
A zero-day exploit can result in hackers being able to take over a number of very important systems, including machinery used in your production process. If this does happen, they can effectively shut your operations down completely which leads to a total disruption in production.
Unauthorised user control
Once the hacker has control over your systems, they’re essentially able to do whatever they wish. For example, they may decide to send out phishing communications to stakeholders and/or customers or install malware.
Once all the smoke has cleared after a zero-day attack, you’ll need to show that you had all of the proper security measures in place to ensure the highest possible level of protection against such an attack. If you’re unable to do so, you may be liable to pay substantial fines.
One very famous example of a major corporation that suffered from a zero-day attack is Morgan Stanley. In their case, hackers were able to find several vulnerabilities in a software used by Morgan Stanley – third-party file transfer service Accellion FTA. Through these (now patched) vulnerabilities, the hackers created zero-day exploits to attack the company’s systems and steal highly sensitive customer data including names, addresses, social security numbers and more.
Prevent Unknown & Potential Attacks With CSIntelligence
If you want to avoid these major impacts to your business, it’s time to speak with a professional managed security service provider. In Singapore, there are no better cyber security consultants than CS Intelligence.