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What is Zero-Day Vulnerability and How to Recover from Zero-Day Attacks

Zero Day is a software vulnerability that's discovered by an attacker before the developer becomes aware of it. As there are no patches available, developers are unknown to that vulnerability. Zero-day vulnerabilities can be in any form of vulnerabilities, like missing authorizations, broken algorithms, SQL injection, buffer overflows, missing data encryption, URL redirects, bugs, or problems with the password policy. Read this blog to know everything about Zero Day.

What is Zero-Day?

The term “zero-day” refers that the developer or vendor is unaware of the vulnerability which is identified by an attacker in the software or hardware. Patches may not available for the vulnerabilities – which means the attacker can exploit the vulnerability and the developer has “zero days” to resolve it.  Once the developer spots the vulnerability, they will produce patches or advise workarounds to mitigate it.

Zero-day vulnerabilities are not detected immediately. It can occasionally take some days, some weeks, or sometimes months before the developer identifies the undetected vulnerability that causes the attack.

Zero-day refers to two things:

Zero-day vulnerability: A software vulnerability that’s discovered by an attacker before the developer becomes aware of it. Because there are no patches available, developers are unknown to that vulnerability. Same as in operating systems, where developers and antivirus software are unaware of it.

Zero-day vulnerabilities can be in any form of vulnerabilities, like missing authorizations, broken algorithms, SQL injection, buffer overflows, missing data encryption, URL redirects, bugs, or problems with the password policy.

Zero-day exploits: A zero-day attack can be any type of data breach, malware, stealing sensitive data, adware, spyware, or unauthorized access to user information. A Zero-day exploit is like a virus having no vaccination.

The developer must resolve the issue as soon as it’s discovered to minimize the trouble it may cause to users. This is done by creating a software patch.

General Targets of Zero-Day Exploits

Generally, Once the hackers find zero-day exploits, they go deeper, valuable targets similar as:

  • Government agencies
  • Large businesses
  • Individuals with high-value information, such as privileged business data
  • Any Application/Software having large numbers of users such as e-commerce, browsers
  • Large groups of individuals for use in botnets
  • Hardware/IoT devices and their firmware
  • Political targets and national security threats

General Procedure of Zero-Day Attack

This is the general life cycle of a zero-day exploit.

  • Firstly, the software is designed and created by a developer.
  • After that software will be deployed & released, and ultimately hacker finds the vulnerability before the developer finds it.
  • The hacker creates an exploit of a newly found vulnerability to take advantage of it and deploys the vulnerability through an attack while the vulnerability exists in the software source code.
  • The vulnerability is identified by the developer. At that time, they don’t have a patch for it.
  • Generally, the vulnerability is identified by the developer and/ or security researcher, and the public is guided about the hazard.
  • If zero-day malware is being used, the security developer can identify the signature of malware and update the possible mitigation to give protection against it, and then antivirus signatures will be released. Still, there is a chance of alternate ways to exploit the vulnerability, so users should take care of it.
  • The vendor releases a patch of zero-day to resolve the vulnerability. The time can vary based on the criticality of the situation.
  • Once the patch is installed on the user base over time. The speed will count based on the users who will update the patch.

Zero-Day Exploit Diagram

Approach to get recovery against Zero-Day Attacks

Approach to get recovery against Zero-Day Attacks

A zero-day attack happens when an attacker takes advantage of the vulnerability. Then developer’s knowledge of exploited vulnerability happens on the “zeroth” day of exploit.

Since you are unaware of the vulnerability, you can’t hedge yourself against zero-day. There are some ways, by using that we can get early detection or mitigate the possibility of a zero-day attack

  • Keeping your software with the latest updates and patch is important.
  • Not clicking on anonymous attachments and URLs.
  • Use comprehensive antivirus software results.
  • Monitor activity logs on the network.
  • Go for multi-layer protection Web application firewalls.
  • Use vulnerability scanning and patch management process for providing proper Input Validation.
  • Operate sites that use the Secure Socket Layer( SSL) protocol.
  • Use virtual LANs to hide the content of each communication.
  • Web App whitelisting should be used.
  • Use Wi-Fi which is password-protected.
  • Perform regular security tests on the software. This will help you to prevent loopholes in the software and take precautions to fix them.

Most Famous Zero-day Exploits

EternalBlue

The most threatening exploit in history. NASA originally designed it as a counterattack weapon, but it was stolen and disclosed in March 2017 by the Shadow Brokers hacker gang. The EternalBlue also called MS17- 010, is a virus that attacks any machine that uses the Server Message Block version 1 file-sharing protocol. It’s behind some of the most well-known cyberattacks, the same as WannaCry and NotPetya.

Stuxnet

Stuxnet is a popular cyberattack that made major headlines in tabloids. This malware strain was identified in 2010 and quickly acquired notoriety for its ability to render hardware unusable and considerable damage to important targets, such as Iran’s nuclear sites. The Stuxnet malware could be carried on USB drives and spread across Microsoft Windows machines.

Heartbleed

Heartbleed is a serious flaw that enables a hostile person to access 64K of memory, which contains sensitive information, from the server via a client. There is a critical flaw in the widely used OpenSSL cryptographic software library called the Heartbleed Bug. This vulnerability allows the information to be captured that might usually be secured by the TLS encryption used to protect the Internet. Without the use of any privileged knowledge or credentials, attackers were able to acquire the private keys used for X. 509 certificates, login details, quick chats, emails, and other important company documents and communications.

Baby Monitors

Multiple Vulnerabilities were found in baby monitor devices produced by ‘Victure, a Chinese manufacturer’. Attackers can easily get camera feeds and run unauthorized code such as malware by exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities in a baby monitoring system. An attacker may enforce an arbitrary code device by leveraging this vulnerability within the ONVIF element of the device.
Using these flaws, an attacker may corrupt the camera firmware, direct the cameras to broadcast footage to unauthorized third parties, and continually spy on camera owners in their homes.

Conclusion

The importance of security in organization cannot be overstated, Organization needs to be confident about their data security. IoT devices, software, and applications are valuable and the most significant assets of the organization to be protected against the different kinds of security threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities.

Information security in the organization will be able to provide confidentiality and integrity of data. Implementation of software updates, credential security, device authentication, compliance management, Proper encryption, secure internet network, and cloud platforms ensures that minimize the risk of attacks. Performing Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing method provides identification of vulnerabilities and can provide possible remediation of the loopholes.

eInfochips provides end-to-end security solutions by securing different platforms including web applications, mobile applications, IoT devices, Firmware, and cloud infrastructure. Also have high-level knowledge and expertise in threat modeling and Vulnerability Assessment Penetration Testing along with different security industry standards, regulations, and compliance like OWASP, IEC, MITRE, and NIST. To learn more about our cybersecurity expertise, contact our experts.

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