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What is Zero-Day Malware?

The term zero-day is used when security teams are unaware of software vulnerabilities and have had no time (0 days) to design a patch or update to resolve the issue. Zero-day malware attack is caused by a zero-day vulnerability, which is an unknown security flaw that a threat actor can target and exploit.

What is Meant by Zero-Day Malware?

Zero-day malware is a malicious software that takes advantage of zero-day vulnerabilities. Often, bad actors can create malware faster than software developers can release and deploy a corresponding patch for the same vulnerability.

For example, many devices affected by URGENT/11 — a set of 11 zero-day vulnerabilities in VxWorks — still remain unpatched. The time gap between development and deployment leaves organizations susceptible to real time cybersecurity attacks, as zero-day malware can spread widely before teams can clamp down on the security threat.

How to Stop Zero-Day Malware

Responding to a zero-day attack can be exhausting, especially when a software vendor is taking a considerable time in designing a fix.

These are five ways you can protect against zero-day attacks:

1. Vulnerability management

Vulnerability management is the periodic process of monitoring, identifying, evaluating, reporting, managing, and remediating cyber flaws across workloads, endpoints, and systems.

2. Threat intelligence

Cyber threat intelligence solutions monitor devices, users, and network traffic, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to identify patterns and signs of compromise. This capability allows these tools to identify zero-day malware campaigns early, enabling organizations to prioritize remediation and avoid threat escalation.

3. Patch management

A patch is a specific set of updates that developers use to fix known technical issues or security vulnerabilities. Often a short-term solution until the next full software update, a patch may include the addition of new functions and features to an application. An effective patch management process comprises a review of previous patches, an assessment of the severity of a vulnerability to determine priorities, and a test of compatibility with multiple security patches across different endpoints.

4. Web application firewall (WAF)

A WAF is a security tool at the application level that protects organizations by monitoring, filtering, and analyzing hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) traffic between the application and the web. WAF blocks malicious requests before they reach the application or the user.

5. Network segmentation

In the event of a zero-day threat, your primary goal should be to limit the potential damage. Security teams should implement network segmentation, which restricts user access to certain segments of the network, limiting the damage in case of a compromise.

Monitor Managed and Unmanaged Devices With Armis

Organizations that mitigate cyber risk efficiently partner with vendors that help them monitor all their devices and identify abnormal behavior. Discover how Armis can help see, protect and manage both managed and unmanaged devices in your network to identify malicious software such as zero-day malware. Book a demo to see Armis Centrix™ in action.