What’s a Zero-Day Attack?

Boy Programming On Computer With Multiple Monitors And Laptop On Desk

Zero-day attack, as cool as it may sound, is one of the most harmful web attacks because it is invisible. It consists of exploiting a vulnerability of a software that its developers aren’t aware of. It is extremely hard to prevent these attacks and by the time there is a fix, the damage has already been done. The term “zero-day” derives from the concept when a critical system, software or platform vulnerability is discovered and subsequently patched. Usually, the time it takes to correct this vulnerability leaves users open for attacks.

Zero-Day Attack Example

WordPress, the content management system that powers 25% of the whole internet, experienced a major software vulnerability on its version 4.2. The attacks allowed the hacker to obtain admin credentials of a website powered by WordPress. This was done by cross-site scripting (XSS), which consisted of sending code snippets of Javascript to manipulate data stored in the server. Ultimately, the hacker could change the administrator’s password, create new credentials and take over the website completely. After the issue was reported, WordPress recognized the weakness and announced a security patch but wasn’t specific on the patch release date. This left millions of users wondering when a security solution would be implemented. Ever since the attack, WordPress has been fixing their vulnerabilities to assure safety to their users and avoid another major attack.

How to Deal with Zero-Day Attacks

Zero-day attacks can strike at any given time because we don’t know when commonly used programs or software experience security exploitations. This is why users, especially small and medium business owner must be proactive about web security. Cloudbric recommends users to have special safeguards in place in case a zero-day attack can strike. Here are three measures you could use while waiting for a security patch:

1. Inform Yourself

The first step in dealing with a security problem is to be aware of it. Be mindful of what exact software or programs experienced a security exploitation. For example, a great resource to check for security vulnerabilities in commonly used programs or software is the Exploit Database website. This website also provides information on when a security vulnerability may get patched.

2. Web Application Firewall (WAF)

Since users don’t know when zero-day attack may strike and, more importantly, when software might get patched, it is extremely important to have a great insurance plan. This is where a WAF can really help keep your website safe. Choosing the right WAF for your business will be critical. Cloudbric recommends using a WAF that not only detects web attacks at a high accuracy rate but does not incorrectly block innocent users.

3. Antivirus Software

Some antivirus software are very intelligent blocking malicious attacks to your internal network. These days, antivirus software uses heuristic analysis to determine not only if a file is dangerous but reviews its execution and behavior. In case any malicious files make their way into your network and system, you can rest easy knowing that you have proper antivirus protection.

Ultimately, zero-day attacks can be only fixed by the companies who made the software. In the meanwhile, implementing these measures listed above will help minimize any potential damage that can arise. To learn more about web security trends and issues, keep up with Cloudbric blog today!

This blog post was originally featured on cloudbric.com. Visit their blog for more insight, news, and accessible information on web threats and trends. If you would like to learn more about Cloudbric’s logic-based WAF service, please contact info@cloudbric.com.