What the Heck are Zero-Day Attacks? (And 3 Ways to Avoid Them)

Hackers look for vulnerabilities that they can exploit.

Hackers look for vulnerabilities that they can exploit.

 

If you look for the term zero-day attack in your home dictionary, you probably won’t find it.

Go ahead and check…I’ll wait.

You might not even find the term in some online dictionaries (though to be fair, it does appear in others.).

Nevertheless, if you google the term, you’ll find thousands of references to it, many of them from mainstream sources including Forbes, Time, and USA Today. So what’s the deal? If the term is so important, why isn’t in the dictionary yet?

As with so many computer-related terms, the phrase zero-day attack has recently crept into the lexicon of the common person, after being used by technical types for more than a decade. Also known as 0day attacks, zero-hour attacks and 0hour attacks, these are attacks that exploit a vulnerability in a computer application or program.

A vulnerability, by the way, is simply an error in a software that could be exploited. It isn’t a problem in itself, and it isn’t something that stops an application or program from working properly. However, if a vulnerability is discovered by a hacker, and if the hacker uses the vulnerability to conduct nefarious activities, then the moment these nefarious activities are discovered, it is known as a zero-day attack.

 

 

 

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