A zero day vulnerability is a brand new flaw in computer systems, code, or software that is unknown to the vendors, developers, or other parties that would be in a position to fix the code or patch the vulnerability. This is a significant risk as if these zero day vulnerabilities are detected by hackers, they can be exploited with little recourse.
Terms related to Zero Day Vulnerability: 0 Day, Zero Day Exploit, Zero Day Hack, Vulnerability, Exploit, Patch, Window of Vulnerability.
Because Zero Day vulnerabilities are not yet known to vendors, finding and exploiting them is a major incentive to criminals, hackers, and other bad actors. They use several attack vectors to accomplish this, including vulnerability scanning of their own, penetration attacks against popular software, and websites with malicious code that exploits web browsers.
Zero day vulnerabilities can come from a variety of areas including unintended backdoors, SQL injection, incorrectly updated code, poor integrations with other systems, or a lack of discipline and security testing in the development environment.
The time between a vulnerability appearing and the time it is removed through updates and patches is known as the “Window of Vulnerability (WOV).” Vendors and software users want the WOV to be as short as possible, while hackers want to take advantage while the window remains open.
There are few ways to protect against zero day vulnerabilities, although common sense, good security habits, and staff training are all sensible approaches. Software that protects against SQL injection and buffer overflow attacks can also help to mitigate potential vulnerabilities. Vulnerability assessments and scanning and penetration testing can also help to find potential flaws.
One of the most effective approaches is to have a fast and robust patch maintenance process so that software and systems can be updated as soon as vulnerabilities are found and vendors issue patches.