What is a Zero-Day Vulnerability?
An unknown or unfixed software vulnerability is known as a Zero-day (0-day) vulnerability.
When a vulnerability is identified within software, which may be a program or a driver etc, then the publisher would need to alter the coding of that software in order to fix it and remove the vulnerability.
Whilst the vulnerability remains, hackers can exploit it as a way of affecting a computer or network and the use of such a vulnerability is known as a zero-day exploit or zero-day attack.
“Day Zero” is seen as the day in which the developer identifies the vulnerability and up to that point, the vulnerability is known as a zero-day. The developer should then take steps to fix that code or create a patch.
If an exploit had been known for 15 days then that would be identified as a 15-day vulnerability.
Why can a Zero-Day Vulnerability be Used by an Attacker?
If an exploit has been identified, the more time passing will make it more likely that the developer will have fixed the issue and also that the updates to the software would have been disseminated and downloaded by users of the software.
When a Zero-day exploit is identified, the developer will not have fixed the issue and any user of it would be susceptible to their system being compromised through the use of the exploit.
These zero-day exploits can be identified from existing code, the introduction of updates and by the installation of other software to a system and ensuring software is updated reduces the chances of such exploits being used by those who have previously identified the vulnerabilities.
A computer forensic investigator can also determine whether a computer system has been the target of such vulnerabilities.
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