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How to Protect Against Zero-Day Attacks


A zero-day attack is a type of cyberattack in which the attacker exploits an unknown vulnerability. The work of security experts and cybercriminals is always in competition: one labours to patch software flaws, while the other seeks to exploit them. A zero-day assault is a perfect example of attackers gaining an upper hand in this rivalry.

Zero-day attacks can be extraordinarily powerful and destructive. They are also notoriously difficult to defend against, as they exploit vulnerabilities that have not yet been discovered or patched.

What Is a Zero-Day Attack?

A zero-day attack is an exploitation of a previously unknown software vulnerability. The term “zero-day” refers to the amount of time between when the flaw is discovered and when a patch is released to fix it. In other words, it’s the window of opportunity for attackers to exploit the flaw.

Exploit scripts to detect these vulnerabilities are either developed by cyber attackers or purchased on the dark web. Once the zero-day vulnerability is found, it's like laying out a red-carpet welcome for a zero-day attack. Attackers use zero-day malware or, more widely, a zero-day exploit to pull off the strike. 

As zero-day assaults are inherently difficult to detect, it might take months or even years for these zero-day exploits to be discovered. However, in some circumstances, developers may be able to block or repair vulnerabilities before they cause too much damage.

How the business may be impacted?

A zero-day attack is hard to detect; it may remain undetected for months or even years. Detecting threats through intrusion detection systems and web application firewalls can only help determine the severity of the threat. It is difficult to respond to a zero-day malware attack if the software vendor is still developing a fix for the vulnerability. In the absence of a patch, hackers get more time to infect more machines, establish their network presence, escalate their privileges, and steal more information. By collaborating with partners who provide threat intelligence services and by putting in place a mitigation mechanism once a threat rears its head, organizations can avoid or mitigate risk. In addition to working to detect and defend against known attacks, endpoint detection and response technologies can safeguard devices and systems at the point of attack by detecting known attack signatures.

Patching and deploying solutions

Often, the outdated version of an application holds the most vulnerabilities. So, it is important to keep every operating system and application patched and updated. In the event of an attack, a company with a disaster recovery plan can respond quickly. For example, combining Cloud-based and on-site storage ensures the safety of vital data. A successful response may disable access to websites, programs, and other vulnerable systems. In the meantime, vendors may be able to offer interim solutions, such as limiting or turning off specific program features. In addition, you should apply the patch immediately after its release.


The best way to protect your business from zero-day attacks is through regular penetration testing. By scheduling regular tests, you can identify vulnerabilities before they are exploited by criminals. Contact the Packetlabs team today to discuss how we can help you schedule these important tests and keep your business safe from a potential zero-day attack.