Zero-day vulnerabilities: Are your controls enough to detect issues on time?

Our Blogs 5th August, 2021

zero-day vulnerabilities

Zero-day malware is malware that exploits unknown and unprotected vulnerabilities within your IT environment.

A 2019 study found that 80% of all successful data breaches resulted from zero-day attacks while, in the last quarter of 2020, zero-day malware accounted for almost two-thirds of all cyber threats.

Unfortunately, businesses across all industries are at risk, including world-leading brands – with Microsoft, Sony Pictures, Zoom, and several government agencies all falling prey to recent zero-day exploits.

In fact, medium to large businesses are the most at risk, potentially due to the sheer volume of vulnerabilities within their IT systems. A recent Vulnerability Statistics Report found that organisations with 101 to 1000 staff had the largest portion of high-risk vulnerabilities, while companies with 10,000 or more employees had the largest portion of critical risk vulnerabilities.

With the average cost to recover from a single ransomware attack an estimated US$2.34 million, thwarting zero-day attacks should be a high priority within every business.

The trouble with zero-day vulnerabilities is that, by their very nature, they are tough to detect. With no existing software patches to remediate them, threat actors are able to exploit the vulnerability and even lay in waiting until they believe it is the best time to release the malware.

When a vulnerability isn’t plugged in time, the only other course of action is to examine the hacker’s methods after the attack is carried out – in which case it’s a race against time to limit exposure or damage.

The prevalence of zero-day exploits means no business can afford to wait for monthly patching cycles or weekly vulnerability reports to be reviewed. Swift action is absolutely essential.

Time to remediate zero-day vulnerabilities

Earlier this year, we saw at least 60,000 companies hacked by an entity known as “Hafnium” which exploited unknown flaws in Microsoft Exchange Server emails. 

Only after the attacks were known was Microsoft able to identify a fix and release an emergency security update to its 2013 to 2019 exchange server versions.

Sadly, other hackers are already looking to follow suit, and it’s only a matter of time before we see more cases impacting unsuspecting companies that do not have sufficient security measures in place. Hackers also play on the fact that it can take software developers weeks, if not months, to release a fix after a vulnerability is identified.

Businesses that do invest in highly effective security measures are proven to reap the benefits of their proactive planning – be it through eliminating the chance of an attack completely, or being able to control the damage in a much shorter time frame.

According to statistics, it takes the average business 84.4 days to remediate a high-risk vulnerability. However, a report from Veracode found that businesses that run frequent vulnerability scans achieve much faster remediation times.

Deploying “always-on” vulnerability scanning within your IT environment is the only way to counter the dangerous threat of zero-day attacks, by finding unknown vulnerabilities before nefarious entities do.

Beat hackers at their own game

Because speed is essential, the type of vulnerability management you implement within your organisation can make all the difference in finding zero-day vulnerabilities.

By choosing Vulnerability Management as a Service, you can rest assured that your systems are being constantly monitored for vulnerabilities with immediate alerts to genuine high risks requiring rapid remediation.

Importantly, VMaaS provides assurance that your vulnerability scanner is always up to date and on the lookout for the latest potential threats – so you don’t get caught out with old software when new vulnerabilities are being discovered every day.

At Harbour IT, we provide a complete VMaaS solution including:

  • daily monitoring of your threat feed
  • prioritised risk reports
  • immediate alerts to high risks
  •  skilled security engineers at your disposal
  • managed remediation through to completion

Zero-day vulnerabilities are a serious risk that can cause major financial and reputational damage. Talk to our security experts today to find out how we can help you implement a leading-edge solution that stops zero-day attacks in their tracks.

To learn more about Harbour IT’s Vulnerability Management as a Service, simply contact us.


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