What Is A Zero Day Threat, And How Can You Combat It?

Like many other smart business leaders, you’re probably already well aware of the many cyber threats that could put your organisation in danger. From phishing emails, to malware attacks and ransomware, the modern cyber-criminal is keen to exploit any weaknesses in a company’s IT infrastructure in order to profit. And the tendency of the IT industry to rely on complicated, opaque jargon such as defragging, clearing cache and so forth makes it even harder for non-specialists to understand how to combat the myriad threats out there. The latest of these, known as a Zero Day attack or 0-Day threat, is the latest in a long line of challenges that business leaders must get to grips with, if they hope to overcome them.

What Is A Zero Day Threat?

In simple terms, a Zero Day threat or attack is a cyber-attack that exploits a recently discovered IT vulnerability. It has earned the name 0-Day or Zero Day because the vulnerability has been found by hackers before the organisation, leaving the targeted company no time to remedy it. Indeed, the loophole in cyber security is often so new that there has not yet been a patch or other fix developed to correct it. Hackers will make use of the vulnerability in order to invade an IT system and steal or corrupt valuable data. This approach is also being seen in corporate espionage and by countries looking to spy on another nation’s cyber infrastructure. Commonly affected systems include web browsers, office applications, open-source elements, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and computing hardware.

How It Can Happen

Criminals are selling information about new software vulnerabilities (often called “exploits”) on the dark web. A hacker will often send an email to personnel within the target organisation which appears to be from a trusted source and includes a link to a malicious website or a request to download files. Once this request is carried out, the target organisation will have allowed sophisticated malware to enter its network, yet will be unable to identify the flaw in its security protocols.

Detecting an attack is itself a challenge, but key signs include an increased volume in traffic from a client or service, or suspicious scanning activity.

Combatting The Threat

It’s little wonder, then, that this type of cyber-attack is proving considerable cause for concern. Yet there are ways in which you can help to prevent your business from becoming a victim. Early detection is the best way to minimise damage, and software tools are available to help monitor system activity, together with machine learning-powered software which can develop a baseline for normal system activity.

Automated patch management and vulnerability management services can help to mitigate the risk of zero day attacks. Patch management involves automatically installing updates and security patches as soon as they are released. This can help to close any newly discovered vulnerabilities before they can be exploited

It’s also important to educate all employees so that they practise safe online behaviours. Keep all software and operating systems up to date (including essential anti-virus software), Maintain a firewall and if possible, limit the transactions it permits. It’s also wise to minimise the range of software applications used by your company, making them easier to keep track of and also limiting the chance of developing vulnerabilities.

Feel Secure With Reflective IT

A great way to protect your business is to work with an IT security partner. Reflective IT provides both patch management and vulnerability management services to help our clients protect their systems against zero day attacks and other threats.

The IT experts at Reflective IT are equipped to handle all of your cyber security concerns, helping you to create a robust defence against an ever-evolving threat landscape. Our specialists can handle the protection of your vital IT systems and networks, leaving you free to take care of business.

Why not get in touch today, on 0207 317 4535 or at [email protected], and discover how Reflective IT can deliver your ideal cyber security solution?

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