Zero Day Exploits – What are they and How can you prevent them?

There are plenty of security threats that have the potential to have a negative impact on your business. One of the most frightening for many business owners and security professionals, however, is the zero-day exploit. Preparing for this type of security threat is critical to protecting your business and keeping it safe from many of the challenges of modern-day cyber attacks. Unfortunately, zero day exploits are often silent until the potential problem takes over your system.

What is a Zero-Day Exploit?

A zero-day exploit occurs when there is a security hole in a piece of new software that is unknown to the developer–that is, for which there is not yet a patch that can help keep your business safe. These exploits don’t just occur in the first days after a release. In some cases, it can take months or even years for developers–who certainly don’t leave security holes intentionally–to learn of the potential for a breach and patch the problem.

Unfortunately, there is no reliable detection in place for zero-day exploits. These security holes exist silently, with no way for developers to test their product ahead of time. Until a cyber criminal decides to go after the specific software, there’s no hint that will let developers know that they’ve left a weakness in place. Not only that, often cyber criminals will exploit a weakness to break into a system, but leave no trace of their presence until they’re ready to take full advantage of their situation to exploit as much of your system as possible. Predicting their behavior is nearly impossible, especially if you don’t have software in place to help prevent those threats.

Protecting Against Zero-Day Exploits

One of the most critical things your business can do is keep your updates up-to-date–especially when you’re using new or untested software. During the early days after a new software release, it may be tempting to turn updates off or put them off until later so you can take care of them all at once instead of constantly feeling as though you’re having to wait for an update to download. Those updates, however, aren’t just fixing flaws with the software’s functionality. They’re also filling in holes that could be devastating for your company’s security. Of course, by the time patches load, it’s no longer considered a zero-day exploit.

The next thing you must do to protect your business is use strong security software. Your security software is the key layer of protection between your business and the potential for a hacker to make it into your system, whether they slip in via a virus or manage to exploit a security hole in your software. Keeping your security software running at all times–and updated regularly as newly developed software to handle developing threats–is the best and easiest way to keep your system protected against malicious traffic. It’s also important that you track traffic in your system. If anything unusual occurs or if you notice that there is malicious traffic on your system, it’s critical that you patch the problem as soon as possible.

As hackers become increasingly advanced, white hat cyber security specialists must become equally advanced to meet them and even stay ahead of them. Thankfully, you’re not alone in figuring out how to deal with the latest potential for cyber crime within your business. Contact us today to learn how we can offer an extra layer of protection to keep your business from being negatively affected by zero day exploits and make sure that all your cyber security is up-to-date and ready to keep you safe.

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