If you have ever heard of a zero day bug or attack and didn’t know what it was, today you learn what it is and why you should be concerned. A zero day bug or attack can be a little misleading. What exactly does zero days mean? When I first learned about the zero day bugs, I thought it meant that it had been around for zero days, which didn’t make much sense to me. I had never heard of a zero day bug before and there wasn’t much information publicly available. Zero day bugs are bad. They are really bad because they have the potential to cause the most amount of damage when compared to a different type of attack. Alright, so what is a zero day bug? A zero day bug is a computer bug or vulnerability that is just discovered. But bugs are discovered every day right? Yes, and this is why being aware of zero day bugs is critical. The virus scanner on your computer uses known viruses and bugs to protect you. Once a virus is found in the wild, researchers get to work to create a signature that then gets deployed to millions of computers around the world to protect themselves.Once your computer has the signature, your computer is less likely to be attacked by that virus and your computer and data are more safe.
A zero day bug is bad because those signatures that are created to protect your computer aren’t created yet. So, if you happen to have a device or software that has a known zero day bug, then the chances of being a victim are greatly increased. The manufacturer of the device or software has known about the bug for zero days. They’ve had zero days to start producing a very expensive fix to a problem they didn’t know they had. Additionally, the manufacturer or research team has to make the financial determination to actually fix the zero day bug. If someone does decide to fix the zero day bug, it will take time to understand and fix the bug. This time is extremely critical because until the bug is fixed, everyone is vulnerable to an attack. Discovering zero day bugs is important, and it’s even more important to get them fixed as soon as possible.
As you can see, zero day bugs are pretty bad, but there are things that happen to help mitigate the impact zero day bugs have. First, white hat hackers, or good hackers, usually spend their time trying to find and identify these zero day bugs. Once they find something, they discretely notify the creator of the device or software and make them aware of the situation. They either work together to fix, or wait for the manufacturer to fix the problem before they go public. By doing this, the exposure and time that bad actors have to take advantage of the zero day bug is limited. Another way to help identify and fix zero day bugs are by holding bounty challenges. These challenges encourage white hat hackers to find bugs in production systems and code by being able to win a monetary prize for their contributions. While there isn’t much an end user can do against zero day bugs, just be mindful that they exist and take any precautions whenever possible.