Zero-Day Vulnerability

What is a Zero-Day Vulnerability?

A zero-day vulnerability is an undiscovered flaw in an application or operating system, a gap in security for which there is no defense or patch because the software maker does not know it exists—they’ve had “zero days” to prepare an effective response. 

How do you find zero-day vulnerabilities?

The first step in cybersecurity is accepting that there is no invulnerable system, no perfect defense that will prevent any breach. A zero-day vulnerability can surface in any business, in any system, at any time. Once you accept the possibility of unknown vulnerabilities, recognize that attacks are always possible, you can form a pragmatic strategy to minimize risks while at the same time planning how to react quickly and recover from a breach. 

How do you handle zero-day vulnerabilities?

When software vendors and cybersecurity researchers discover a zero-day vulnerability, they act quickly to design and implement a security patch. Companies that might be affected by the potential security flaw must be made aware of it as quickly as possible, must implement the security patch as soon as it’s available, and must be vigilant against the possibility of a security breach during the window of vulnerability—even after the patch has been applied. 

Zero-day vulnerability vs. zero-day attack

A zero-day vulnerability is a potential threat, a gap in security that exists only until it can be repaired. But until a patch has been developed, tested, and released, there is a critical period of time during which the vulnerability can be exploited and attacked. For that interval, attackers have a brief advantage—malware is often easier and quicker to design.

A zero-day exploit is the worst-case scenario, where malicious code is developed and deployed to take advantage of the vulnerability before a security response is available.

A zero-day attack occurs when bad actors use a known exploit to target a vulnerable system to damage its operation or steal privileged information.

What is an example of a zero-day attack?

One famous example of a zero-day attack occurred during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when vast numbers of students and office workers abruptly transitioned to remote learning and working from home, and everyday use of videoconferencing software multiplied practically overnight. One of the most popular videoconferencing platforms, Zoom, had over 500 million downloads in 2020 alone.

In April 2020, a zero-day vulnerability was discovered in Zoom that made it possible for attackers to gain remote access to users’ computers under certain conditions. The weakness was soon patched, but not before widespread negative publicity led many businesses and schools to temporarily restrict or prohibit the use of Zoom software. 

How many zero-day attacks have happened?

The number of zero-day exploits has exploded in recent years. A record 83 zero-day exploits were reported in 2021, more than double the number reported in 2020. Security researchers attribute the rise in zero-day events to the continued growth of software offerings, cloud hosting services, and Internet-connected devices—but also to the increasing attention and sophistication of security software and services, discovering attacks that might previously have gone undetected. 

HPE and zero-day vulnerabilities

HPE can help your organization achieve a cyber-resilient workplace from the data center to remote employees’ home offices and everywhere in between with HPE Pointnext security risk management services.

Our security experts help customers minimize zero-day vulnerabilities through secure-by-design and zero-trust principles and accelerate time to recovery with tested business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. HPE GreenLake data protection services offer both backup as a service and disaster recovery as a service.

HPE GreenLake for AI, ML, and analytics helps organizations in virtually every industry leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to extract business value and actionable insights from the incredible volume of data generated across their enterprise network.

HPE GreenLake for business applications offers a suite of services to enhance the performance, efficiency, and security of enterprise information systems from edge to cloud, with the ability to scale up as network infrastructure expands and operations evolve to seize new opportunities.

HPE GreenLake for Big Data helps businesses make effective use of the massive volume of information they generate every day, turning it into practical insights and valuable business intelligence. By properly leveraging Big Data, companies can speed up time-to-market and reduce capital expenditures.