Zero-day Exploits – When Hackers Attack Unfixed Vulnerabilities

Zero-day exploits are attacks that occur on the same day a vulnerability is discovered. These attacks are done as swiftly as possible. Cybercriminals try to achieve as much damage as possible before software developers can release a patch.

Editorial Staffs

Application security is often a race between cybercriminals and software developers. Both sides seek to discover flaws in applications as quickly as possible. If a cybercriminal discovers a potential weakness first, many users may be put at risk. 

But what happens when this happens concurrently? That’s when hackers often launch what’s known as a zero-day exploit.

What is a Zero-day Exploit?

Zero-day exploits are attacks that occur on the same day a vulnerability is discovered. These attacks are done as swiftly as possible. Cybercriminals try to achieve as much damage as possible before software developers can release a patch.

The scenario is more common than you might think. No software ever released has been perfect. That’s why patches and updates are constantly applied. One reason is to add new features but, more importantly, to address newly found bugs or weaknesses.

Even if a developer discovers a flaw, it takes time to release a fix to all systems. Cybercriminals know this and race against the clock. A known vulnerability that hasn’t been addressed is a sure-win for them.

Chong Yat Chin

CallNet Solution Managing Director

Notable Zero-day Exploits in Malaysia

Most zero-day exploits target applications that are in widespread use. Cybercriminals know that the broader the distribution, the harder it is to release a timely fix to all systems. Because of this, Malaysia isn’t immune since we use many similar applications to others worldwide.

Some notable zero-day Exploits that affected Malaysia include:

  • A zero-day exploit was responsible for a successful ransomware hit on web host Rackspace at the end of 2022. Thousands worldwide were affected as attackers gained remote server access and managed to block Microsoft Exchange servers.
  • Almost 30% of Malaysians use iPhones. That made the zero-day vulnerability that the company announced even more chilling. In 2022 it warned of a flaw that would allow attackers to execute code on its devices remotely.
  • Malaysia’s National Cyber Coordination and Command Centre in 2023 warned of attackers targeting a zero-day exploit on Barracuda Email Security Gateways. The flaw would allow attackers to control affected systems and steal data.

How to Protect Yourself From Zero-day Exploits

Zero-day exploits exploit the lag between patch releases and cyberattacks. The crux of the matter is that while developers can release updates, they can’t force users to install them. The onus is still on you to take more precautions against zero-day exploits.

Measures you can take include:

  • Regular Software Updates: Don’t let updates be an ad-hoc matter. Ensure you have a reliable application audit list and perform regular updates on a schedule. 
  • Stay Informed About Security Threats: Regular updates may not be sufficient to address all patched flaws. Because of that, it’s essential to know the latest developments, especially in the applications you commonly use. 
  • Security Solutions: Even if all known vulnerabilities are patched, it’s always advisable to have robust security tools in place. That includes endpoint security, firewalls, and network intrusion detection systems.
  • Data Backups: Ensure a regular backup cycle is in place and that sufficient records are maintained for each backup cycle. Follow the 3:2:1 backup rule to ensure nothing goes wrong at critical moments.
  • Engage Cybersecurity Professionals: Even if you have a regular IT department, professional cybersecurity experts can help. They often bring specialized knowledge and skills, plus can conduct security audits and organization-specific advice.

Zero-Day Exploits Protection for Enterprises & small businesses

Remember not to be fooled by the term “zero-day.” The zero-day exploit puts application users at risk from the moment they are discovered until you update your systems. If you never update them, you will always be at risk.

While it may sound ridiculous that systems are not updated, incidents have happened in the past, even to the largest organizations. Don’t let regular business get in the way of your safety. Speak to us today and we can help you limit your liabilities.

Schedule for a free consultation call today

Article By Editorial Staffs

The Editorial Staff at Callnet Solution brings together a seasoned team of IT professionals, collectively boasting over two decades of expertise in enterprise IT management, cloud solutions, and cybersecurity. Since its inception in 2016, Callnet Solution has emerged as a premier IT service provider in Malaysia, renowned for its innovative solutions and commitment to excellence in the tech industry.
Editorial Staffs

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