Understanding Zero-Day Vulnerabilities & Zero-Day Attacks
A vulnerability is considered to be a zero-day vulnerability when it is not known to the people who are interested in patching it, like vulnerability researchers, the users of the project or the team maintaining the project.
Vulnerability researchers are the good people who will not take any advantage of the vulnerability & will exercise responsible disclosure.
When the bad actors come to know about a security vulnerability before the vulnerability researchers, project’s maintainers, as well as users do, things get ugly pretty fast. Bad actors love zero-day vulnerabilities because, there is no security patch for stopping them.
Cyber criminals are highly proactive when it comes to testing whether a site is vulnerable or not to specific attack vectors. Also, attackers are big fans of automatization, which enables them to scan the internet and look for sites matching specific vulnerabilities as well as conditions.
So how would you protect & recover your site from zero-day attacks?
Although, you will get a lot of advice on how to update all your software or how to keep file permissions tight on your web server & others, the truth is that security best practices needs to be complemented with other security controls for reducing the attack surface even more!
Website Application Firewalls or WAFs are excellent for preventing zero-day vulnerability exploitations. They leverage defensive mechanisms that enable them to block the behavior that’s known to be malicious.
Although, Website Application Firewalls aren’t perfect & may be bypassed if a zero-day vulnerability exploits an attack vector that’s not yet handled by any of the WAF’s rules, such cases are extremely rare.
And remember, for recovering a site from a hack, it is extremely important to have a security team. However, if you do not have a plan at all, it becomes very tough to address a security breach.