Zero-Day Attacks: What they are and how to protect yourself
November 11, 2019
By Heather Gwaltney

Updated November 11, 2019.

Heard the term “Zero-Day” attacks? This catchy, yet threatening phrase continues to get used by the cyber security industry. In this article, we remind you about what they are, as well as, tips on how to best protect your company against them.

What are Zero-Day threats?

Zero-Day threats or attacks refer to internet attacks that are generally released before security developers can deploy a patch to block them. They are previously unknown threats that become more widely known the same day they’re released. The programs themselves target vulnerabilities in a company’s devices and apps, its operating system and the general commercial software it’s using. 

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Why Zero-Day threats are pervasive now

While the practice of hacking companies continues to be profitable, hackers continue to look for new, creative ways to exploit them. According to Wired Magazine, “…zero-days can sell for anywhere between $5,000 to half a million or more.” Zero-Day attacks are becoming more pervasive as security companies attempt to get in front of hackers who literally make it their job to penetrate your network. Attackers develop the malicious software to exploit common file types, compromise vulnerable systems and steal sensitive data, such as credit card and bank account information.

Industries most affected by Zero Days and other cyber attacks

Cyber attacks affect small and medium-sized business and enterprises, as well as, organizations with remote workers and/or branch offices, school campuses and other public institutions. The #1 cyber-attacked industry is Healthcare.      

Best line of defense against Zero Days

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is one of the most powerful tools companies can use to protect themselves against Zero-Day attacks. Sandbox ATP is a cloud-based service that companies can utilize as part of a customized firewall solution. Suspicious files are detected and sent to the Sandbox ATP before they hit a company’s network, where they are inspected and analyzed. The program analyzes suspicious code and a broad range of file types in a virtualized “sandbox” environment, where it runs the code as intended to monitor the behavior for malicious activity. If, by running the code, a threat is identified, it will block the attack and deploy a remediation signature to all company firewalls – to prevent further attacks. Lastly, the Sandbox ATP activity is fully transparent. With the software, companies can access their own dashboard and reports, which detail the file analysis results, including source, destination and malware action. Additionally, companies receive notification when suspicious files are sent to Sandbox ATP with the file’s verdict.

How Firewall Works

What else Advanced Threat Protection does for you

In addition to protecting your company against Zero-Day attacks, Sandbox ATP:

  • Is the best defense against Ransomware,
  • Captures hidden malicious code,
  • Detonates malicious code in Active content files, Passive content files and Malware in images, and
  • Improves signatures to detect future malicious code.

Learn more about the technology.

Additional ways to protect your company

Until security programs are able to protect companies 100%, it’s essential these days to follow the additional steps to safeguard your data:

  1. Invest in a fully configured firewall that is managed for you, so you get the protection you need and the firmware on the firewall router is updated for you.
  2. Ensure you have proper anti-virus, anti-malware software installed in each computer on your network.
  3. Be cautious and verify the source of unknown downloads, email attachments and hyperlinks.
  4. Update your Operating System every time an upgrade is made available to you.
  5. Only use essential apps on your system to reduce vulnerabilities.
  6. Back up your data daily in the cloud to eliminate single point of failure.
  7. Purchase cyber crime insurance, especially when data security is critical to your business’s mission and/or customer base.

GTB can help

GTB provides a free assessment of your company’s network security to identify whether it’s currently secure or vulnerable to threats. If your company is vulnerable, we can design and implement a security solution that is customized to your company’s needs. Once installed, GTB will continue to manage the system, so you don’t have to. Managing your company’s Internet security includes:

  • Understanding your company’s security environment and ongoing needs.
  • Monitoring incoming and outgoing ports.
  • Monitoring threats coming through the company’s network.
  • Updating firewall firmware to protect your company against the most current threats.
  • Continually upgrading the latest security patches.
  • Keeping informed about the newest threats and protection methods.
  • Consulting you on services based on current threats and protection methods, as needed.

Because we are headquartered in Baltimore, MD, we are also able to provide local customer care to companies in Maryland, DC and Northern VA. GTB offers free assessments and is currently offering a Fall Promotion, which expires December 21st. Take a look

Get Your Free Security Assessment Now


Related: Robocalls – Everything You Need To KnowHow to Protect Your Company Against Cyber Attacks and Ransomware: What Is It and How to Reduce the Risk for Infection?