Zero day vulnerability

Zero day vulnerability - Manageengine Vulnerability Manager Plus

What is zero day vulnerability?

A zero day vulnerability, also known as 0-day vulnerability, is a security flaw in a software application or an Operating system which is not known to the party or the vendor who is responsible for fixing the flaw. Therefore, zero day vulnerabilities remain undisclosed and unpatched, leaving gaps for attackers to leverage this opportunity while the public remains unaware of the risk.

Security risks posed by zero day vulnerability

Nothing can be as terrorizing as a Zero day vulnerability residing in your network without a patch to fix it. Far worse if the zero day vulnerability has been exploited in the wild. In that case, the zero day exploit code may be out in the open, while you wait for a fix from the vendor. This window paves the way for active hackers to make use of the zero day vulnerability to wreak havoc in your network.

Zero day attack - What it is and how does it happen?

While organizations focus on defending themselves against known threats, attackers slide past their radar by exploiting zero day vulnerabilities. This is the zero-day attack. Zero-day attacks occur out of the blue, because they target vulnerabilities that are not yet acknowledged, published, or patched by the vendor. The very term "zero day" implies that the software developer or the vendor has zero days to patch the flaw, since it often is unaware the zero day vulnerability exists before attackers begin to exploit it.

Hackers incessantly probe Operating Systems and applications in search of weakness. They use an array of automated testing tools and reverse engineering techniques to find a hole in the defense. Once they stumbles upon a vulnerability, they'll resort to either:

  • Developing an exploit for the discovered vulnerability and launching a zero-day attack on a targeted network
  • Selling the zero day vulnerability on the black market

Why do you need to be aware of zero day vulnerabilities?

In the first 11 months of 2016 alone, the Zero Day Initiative discovered a number of zero day vulnerabilities —135 in Adobe products, 76 in Microsoft products, and 50 in Apple products. The Wannacry Ransomware attack that resulted in grave financial consequences among thousands of organizations, before Microsoft came up with a fix, could've easily been prevented if SMB V1 had been disabled and the firewall rule was set to block port 445.

Lack of awareness and inability to enforce security measures leave most of the organizations victim to zero day attacks. There's no silver bullet solution that completely prevents zero day vulnerabilities from being exploited. But following simple cyber hygiene can help organizations improve your stance against zero day attacks.

Here's how Vulnerability Manager Plus helps you handle zero day vulnerabilities

See them all in one place

You can't really protect what you can't see. With Vulnerability Manager Plus in place, not a single zero day vulnerability can escape your attention. It monitors your network continuously for Zero day vulnerabilities and identify the machines that are affected by them. The vulnerability scan results displays the vulnerabilities that's been zero day once in a dedicated view so that you can quickly identify them and act accordingly. Furthermore, the intuitive dashboard will help you track the total zero day vulnerability count in your network. Furthermore, you can learn in detail about the latest zero-day vulnerability from tech articles available in the security news feed. Subscribe to the Vulnerability Manager Plus pitstop to receive email notifications on the latest zero day vulnerabilities.

Deploy mitigation scripts

Don't wait till the vendor comes up with a fix for the zero day vulnerability. Make use of the pre-built, mitigation scripts to harden systems, alter registry values, close vulnerable ports, disable legacy protocols, etc, thereby delaying the hackers attempts in exploiting the zero day vulnerability.

Stay up-to-date with latest patches

Although keeping all systems up to date with the latest patches can't stop a zero-day attack, it will make it more difficult for attackers to succeed, since some zero-day exploits may need to leverage old vulnerabilities, besides the targeted zero-day vulnerability, to carry out their intended actions. Our automated patch deployment feature keeps all your OS and applications up-to-date with the latest patches, thereby preventing attackers from succeeding even if they're able to get their hands on a zero-day vulnerability.

Get notified on zero day patches

When a patch for a zero day vulnerability becomes available, get notified immediately and apply it as soon as possible.

Establish a secure foundation with security configuration management

Vulnerabilities are just used as an entry way to get into the network. Once attackers are in, it's the existing misconfigurations that they'll manipulate to gain access to the entire network. So it's imperative that you perform periodic configuration assessment with security configuration management feature to get rid of misconfigurations.

Audit antivirus solutions for definition files

As long as your antivirus protection is up to date, you should be protected within a few hours or days of a new zero-day threat. It's recommended that you audit antivirus software in your network to ensure whether it's enabled and up to date with the latest definition files.

Keep track of OS and application end of life

Forget zero-day attacks on the latest software;software that has already reached end of life will stop receiving security updates from the vendor and will remain forever vulnerable to any discovered zero-day vulnerabilities. Therefore, it's essential to perform end of life audit to know which applications and OSs are approaching their end of life or have already reached end of life. Once they reach their end of life, it's recommended that you migrate to the latest version of obsolete software.

We can't say for certain that these measures will prevent you from all zero day attacks, but having Vulnerability Manager Plus that does all that ensures you have a better chance against them.

If your current vulnerability management tool relies only on software vendors to patch zero day vulnerabilities and leaves you network wide open till then, it's high time you opt for a tool that offers alternative solutions to help secure against zero-day vulnerabilities.

Not a user yet? Get your free, 30-day trial and fortify your network from Zero day vulnerabilities.