Zero-Day Threats: What Can Organizations Do to Prevent One from Impacting Them?
Bad actors are on a constant lookout for a weakness in the security infrastructure armor of an organization that they can exploit for cybercrime. Hackers particularly like software vulnerabilities as they can conveniently manipulate them to seize control of an organization’s network. Not surprisingly, finding and exploiting those vulnerabilities is a common form of cyberattack. Once the hacker takes control of the organization’s network, they can inflict severe damage in the form of lost productivity, ransom demand, data theft and, in some cases, even drive a company into bankruptcy. An estimated 60% of organizations that suffer a successful cyberattack shutter within 12 months.
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What Is a Zero-Day Threat?
As Murphy’s law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”, which fits perfectly with a software vulnerability. Plenty of reasons can trigger a software vulnerability, varying from a simple human error to programming errors. If you’re someone who isn’t familiar with the field of cybersecurity, the term “zero-day attack” can definitely sound intimidating and high-flown. It’s catchy and hints at sneaky moves made by hackers, taking advantage of the vulnerabilities found in the systems of large organizations. But what does it actually mean?
A zero-day attack is a strategy used by threat actors to exploit a vulnerability in software and applications that are unpatched before the developers had the opportunity to come up with a fix for it or even know its there in some cases. The fear factor associated with the zero-day attack is that once the hacker infiltrates a network, they can either attack immediately or wait for the right time to launch an attack. An exploit can remain undiscovered for months and sometimes even years if the hacker discovers it first. Once the software provider learns about the threat and begins to work on a fix, it is a zero-day exploit.
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How Are Zero-Day Vulnerabilities Exploited?
Zero-day vulnerabilities expose an enterprise or a business to various security concerns. Once a vulnerability is discovered, the criminals can launch an attack via different attack vectors that badly impact data, endpoints, and networks to unleash attacks like ransomware and malware, steal data or carry out other schemes.
For instance, installing malicious software enables the attacker to manipulate and remotely access and disrupt an organization’s activities and operations. Malicious links are sent via email and are downloaded when the user unknowingly clicks on the link. Once downloaded, the attacker has access to confidential data like social security numbers, login, and passwords. Even business plans and trade secrets are not immune to attacks. Any information that can be used or sold will garner their attention – and in today’s booming data markets, that information could be very valuable
Apart from reputational risks, businesses face serious potential damage to their relationships with suppliers, partners and clients with increased cyberattacks. The criminals attack small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) that tend to have less complex cybersecurity to attack the larger organization. This is a common strategy in nation-state cybercrime incidents. Finding a zero-day gives the bad guys a golden opportunity to slip in through a back door, which then leads to further damage when APTs (Advanced Persistent Threat groups) use that opportunity to spread malware or steal information.
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How Can Organizations Prevent Trouble from a Zero-Day Threat?
When safeguarding your organization against a zero-day attack, prevention and risk reduction are key. It is challenging to identify zero-day attacks because of their stealthy nature. Unless the attacker wants attention, once a zero-day attack is detected, it is often too late for the victim to stop it. Most conventional security solutions struggle with detecting a zero-day threat because they lack the intelligence to spot things like unexpected malware.
However, AI-enabled tools are much more likely to spot a zero-day threat than conventional security tools because of their constant collection and analysis of fresh threat intelligence. Since AI doesn’t rely on threat reports to detect vulnerabilities, AI-enabled tools can come up with clues fast, leading to early detection of threats to prevent the attack.
Security awareness training, patching regularly and running routine checks are also important steps that can help stay vigilant against zero-day threats and common attack vectors. Choosing AI-enabled security solutions like an automated email security tool is a smart move to spot new threats fast and reduce the chance for damage. Automated email security solutions detect 40% more threats than conventional security or a SEG.
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Tips for Heading Zero-Day Threats Off at the Pass
Use an AI-enabled Email Security Solution: The speed and growing complexities in new threats make discovering them a major challenge for the perenially overstretched IT team, especially when it comes to phishing. 90% of data breaches start with phishing emails or messages, and phishing carries massive annual costs. Using a smart, automated email security solution to detect phishing emails can go a long way in reducing the risk of an employee falling victim to a scam.
Build a Strong Security Culture: Understanding most security threats can begin within the organization. One of the best ways to protect organizations from cyber threats would be to help and train the employees who interact with the seasonal workers and be cautious of the information shared with them. Moreover, providing tools and knowledge to spot and stop cyberattacks by investing in a strong security culture will promote good security hygiene and help prevent significant threats, including the zero-day exploit.
Stay Vigilant About Suspicious Activity and Patching: Even though zero-day attacks are hard to uncover, sometimes warning signs like anonymous user logins or suspicious activity can help point you on the right path. Moreover, regular penetration tests and patching of applications, software, and operating system are critical in avoiding a potential zero-day attack.
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Prevent Zero-Day Threats from Getting Through with Graphus
One of the best ways to protect an organization from zero-day attacks is to stop phishing. Phishing messages use sophisticated techniques to attack and can easily outfox conventional solutions or an SEG. Conventional security tools compare incoming messages to a checklist of possible trouble signs. Graphus, powered by intelligent AI technology, is an affordable dynamo that sniffs out and quarantines phishing attempts by learning the unique communication pattern of business without disrupting the flow of communication.
TrustGraph uses more than 50 separate data points to detect and analyze phishing attempts before sending them to their recipients—it never ceases to learn and is always on the lookout for new threat intelligence.
EmployeeShield adds a bright, noticeable box whenever there is a new line of communication— keeping employees vigilant whenever handling unknown messages. By marking a message authentic or malicious with one click, each employee can contribute to safeguarding business security.
Phish911 completes triple-layered protection by making it effortless for employees to report any suspicious messages to the administrator. Messages are instantly removed from everyone’s inbox anytime an employee reports suspicious activity to avoid further trouble.
Graphus leverages AI to protect against zero-day attacks, accumulating new threat information to respond to threats fast to safeguard businesses. Our experts can show why Graphus is the ideal solution to protect businesses against sophisticated cyberattacks like a zero-day threat.