Zero-Day Attacks- How Safe Are You?

This is a guest post by Meenakshi Nagri.
In the past couple of years, there has been a rise in cyber-attacks which has eventually pushed for more reliable and better security capabilities such as protection, code security, encryption, authorization, so on and so forth. Moreover, it is imperative to protect global business and critical infrastructure from such cyber-attacks.

An average user or even a web-savvy user has a little knowledge about which application has better security standards. It is imperative to evaluate the safety of applications. There are some security protocols which should be maintained without deviating from the end goal.
Zero Day Cyber Attack
Both organisations and individuals should strive to meet all the necessary security protocols and most importantly evaluate and meet all the security requirements and be assured that they meet the baseline for data security.

Vulnerability Timeline

A study reveals that about 20% of the global organisations rank cyber espionage as the most pressing concern, therefore, making it a significant threat to their business. The number of zero days is continually rising and with each attack being more severe. The primary targets under the radar have been government institutions, organisations from various sectors, individuals and so on.

The basic fundamental of cyber espionage is to expose the private information of the concerned person or company. Cyber espionage tops the list of security concerns as it repercussions can be felt even after eliminating the threat as it damages trade and creates a dent in the global economy.
Ransomware, malware attack, phishing, etc. are some common cyber-attacks. In particular, as recent has been the case with WannaCry ransomware attack. It was reported that it had infected more than 230,000 computers worldwide. Many organisations were hit in over 150 countries. The common tactic is to take advantage of the gaps left in the networks that have businesses partnerships and government agencies. Simply put, through these networks, these entities share valuable information that hackers can penetrate into thus easily getting access to useful information.

The question that arises next is why these entities get affected by cyber-attacks? The reason being, the lack of proper security implementation of protocols. Organizations, enterprises, individuals need to be informed of cyber-attack activities, so they better recognize the risk of exposure before it is unsolicited exposed.

Threats are Constantly Evolving

While recently catching up with news, you may have heard terms like ‘zero day’ and ‘cyber conflict’ over and over again. The technology has bestowed us with new exciting security protocols. This implies that with each advancement, we are better at adding an extra layer of security; however, as these approaches become obsolete, they can be bypassed quickly thus leaving a void for the cyber-attacks.

A zero-day vulnerability refers to such voids left in software which is unknown to the developers. This flaw is then exploited by the attackers with malicious intent even before the developers become aware of it. To counter the vulnerabilities, a software patch is released to fix the issue. Once such example is of Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday i.e. Microsoft releases security patches on every second or fourth Tuesday of each month for its products.
One of the reasons of the cyber espionage is the lack of applying these tactics i.e. to update their system with recently security updates. Systems running under unsupported operating systems or older versions were substantially exposed.

Simply put, developers create software that contains some voids and attackers spot the vulnerability before developers can act and exploits it. Once the patches are released, the exploits are no longer a threat.

The Role of Security Standard

As attackers look for advanced ways to exploit the vulnerabilities, new procedures and techniques are being adopted by them. They use hacking methods such as watering hole attacks, spear phishing attack, Whaling, Port scanning, to name a few.

Cyber security is a bigger challenge as one needs to implement advanced protocols and meet safety standards when required. Even though organizations may fulfill all the criteria or the developers checklist everything on the standards of security, there’s always room for enhancing the basic security capabilities. The fast evolving tactics and unpredictable threats used by cyber criminals have pushed for advanced evaluation and monitoring of services.

As the attackers adopt the latest technology, the security community is pushing for other defensive stances as well. They have started putting steps in place to guard against cyber- attack. Struggling to keep up with the security standards means to put the critical information and infrastructure at risk.

Adopting techniques to protect the cyber environment is the need of the hour. The primary objective is to mitigate and prevent any potential for cyber-attacks and for that, more and more companies are implementing various security safeguards, risk management approaches, guidelines, policies, technologies, investing in data recovery services, so on and so forth.

A Helping Hand

Zero-day, cyber conflict and cyber espionage all are a broader picture of cyber-attack, and nonetheless, make up for most of the cyber security challenge. The users need not be security experts to protect themselves against the attacks.
  1. Use a top antivirus that will ensure that you are protected against both known & unknown vulnerability.
  2. Time again IT experts ask users to update their software’s, the Update may include protection from a recently discovered bug.
  3. Upgrade the browsers, push out an automatic update of the browsers regularly.
Stellar Data Recovery is one such name which is capable of countering such cyber-attacks; thereby, it presents itself as a reliable partner when it comes to data security.

The Final Word

We will always be wooed by the latest technological advancement which also means that the old ones will become obsolete; thereby, adopting new security approaches is equally essential. Cyber-attacks expose valuable assets gaining unauthorized access; therefore, businesses need to defend themselves against it and incorporate security protocols to mitigate the risk.

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