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What is Zero-Day Vulnerability (ZDV)?

Why In News?

Google has issued a security update for Chrome to address a zero-day vulnerability that was actively being exploited.

What is Zero Day Vulnerability?

  • A zero-day vulnerability is a previously undiscovered flaw in software or operating systems.
  • The term “zero-day” indicates that developers have no prior knowledge of the flaw, leaving them no time (zero days) to fix it before it can potentially be exploited.
  • A zero-day vulnerability, also written as 0-day vulnerability, is a critical gap in the security of software, hardware, or firmware that attackers can exploit before the software vendor or manufacturer knows about it and releases a patch to fix it.

Definition of Zero-Day Exploit

  • A zero-day exploit is a cyberattack that takes advantage of a zero-day vulnerability.
  • Such exploits can be used by malicious actors to deploy malware, steal data, or cause other types of damage to users or systems.

Severity of Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

  • Zero-day vulnerabilities pose significant security risks, especially when they affect widely-used systems or software.
  • They expose a large number of users or entire organisations to cyber threats until the vulnerability is recognized and remedied.

Concept of Zero-Day Malware

  • Zero-day malware refers to viruses or other malicious software whose signatures are not yet known or available.
  • As a result, this type of malware often goes undetected by traditional antivirus programs or signature-based security measures.

How Zero-Day Vulnerabilities Occur?

  • Software Development Gaps: These vulnerabilities can arise due to errors or security weaknesses during the software development process.
  • Targeted Attacks: In some cases, attackers may discover and exploit these vulnerabilities before anyone else.

Examples of Zero-Day Exploits

  • Spreading Malware: Hackers can use zero-day vulnerabilities to install malware on victim systems.
  • Data Theft: Zero-day attacks can be used to steal sensitive data from individuals or organizations.
  • Disrupting Operations: In some cases, attackers may exploit these vulnerabilities to disrupt critical systems or infrastructure.

Protection Against Zero-Day Attacks

  • Security Software: Keeping security software like antivirus and anti-malware programs up-to-date can help mitigate some zero-day attacks.
  • System Updates: Patching operating systems and applications promptly whenever updates are available is crucial.
  • User Awareness: Educating users about cyber security best practices, such as being cautious about suspicious links and attachments, can help reduce the risk of falling victim to a zero-day attack.

Importance of Zero-Day Research

  • Ethical Hacking: Ethical hackers (white hats) sometimes discover zero-day vulnerabilities and responsibly report them to software vendors to be patched before they fall into the wrong hands.
  • Security Software Development: Understanding zero-day vulnerabilities helps security software companies develop more robust defenses.

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I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!

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