What Is Zero Day Vulnerability?

Despite the fast pace at which technological innovations are coming forth, security is, sometimes still a matter of concern. Our computers, software programs, hardware and trading HBSwiss data are still vulnerable to many security issues and threats.

Zero Day vulnerability defined

When a programmer designs a software program, and a flaw or vulnerability is exposed by a hacker, even before the programmer gets to know, is called zero day vulnerability. There is no time for the programmer to realize that there is a security threat and that the software program is under vulnerability.

So, essentially these are nothing but majorly, software flaws. On many occasions, there is no time to release a software patch to rectify it. And hence the name Zero day vulnerability. The time available to the programmer or the company is literally nil. In fact, there are instances when only the hacker has exposed the vulnerability. The programmer or the company gets to know about this software flaw much later when the damage has already been done.

What happens?

This undisclosed computer-software vulnerability is used by hackers to exploit and adversely affect many critical computer programs, data, additional computers or networks. These are also called as Zero Day threats and they are very dangerous and pose a major security issue.

Hackers and attackers use different attack vectors to exploit the vulnerabilities. Criminals use these methods to steal many confidential data from various websites. Sometimes, it is through the web browsers or through email attachments, or different file types that are disguised to exploit and get information and data.

Zero day attacks are not known to public

Since the time window in a zero-day vulnerability is very less, the public in most cases does not get to know about these attacks. In general, situations, whenavulnerability is exposed, the software vendor or the firm sends patches to correct this security issue. But here, there is absolutely no time, because it is only the hacker who has discovered this and the vendor does not know about it. And hence defending against Zero day vulnerability is a difficult task.

The fall out of Zero–day vulnerability

Exposing sensitive data and critical information using the zero day vulnerability of some of the popular software products is the major fallout of a Zero day attack. A case in example is the Cable gate’s claim that the Central Intelligence agency (CIA) exploits many popular software products to spy on the citizens of the world. In fact, WikiLeaks has released close to 8,761 documents detailing this.

All thanks to the cascading effect of Cable gate, many major corporations took steps to ensure that security breaches do not happen due to zero day vulnerability. Some of these corporations include Microsoft, Mozilla, Twitter, etc.

A recent case that has come to light is about a bug in Cisco’s switches that makes many products vulnerable to a security flaw. This can be easily and remotely exploited with a simple command. In this case, even though the bug has been discovered, there is no workaround for it. The only solution would be to eliminate the software.