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Cybersecurity Professionals Help Manage Zero-Day Exploits

May 13, 2021

Cybersecurity Professionals Help Manage Zero-Day Exploits

Cybersecurity attacks are an inevitability and no business is immune. While some organizations are certainly more likely targets (financial institutions, those with sensitive data, governments), other businesses are targeted simply because they are easy for cyber criminals to infiltrate and exploit. These kinds of businesses generally lack cybersecurity-trained IT professionals on their team and will quickly be overwhelmed trying to deal with a cyber attack.

Remember, cyber criminals aren’t necessarily trying to steal money directly. Most want to steal data, a few will lock down digital assets and hold them ransom and others simply want to wreak havoc.

The dilemma for a business is that they may not know about their digital asset weaknesses and are therefore vulnerable to what is known as a zero-day exploit. These types of attacks occur in software where there is a flaw the developer is unaware of. The cyber attack is then committed to exploit the flaw before the developer knows about it, or if they have become aware, the attack occurs before a patch can be applied. If the developer is unaware of the vulnerability, it’s often the end user that raises the alarm when something goes sideways.

Trained cybersecurity professionals make the difference

In cases where a flaw is in proprietary software, there is no way to correct the specific issue until the developer provides a patch. However, having IT team members who have taken cybersecurity courses will be beneficial in that they will ensure networks are protected, firewalls are strong and wi-fi systems are secure to prevent remote attacks that make use of the software’s vulnerability.

It’s like putting a concrete dam around a moat. If the moat (the proprietary third-party software) fails, the dam (additional security measures) will continue to provide protection.

Additionally, team members who have proven cybersecurity education, like Network+ certification and CompTIA A+ certification, are taught how to think critically about these kinds of issues and act fast in order to identify when an attack has happened and better manage the outcomes. These individuals understand networks and cybersecurity and know how to find ways to mitigate an issue quickly, even if the developer’s software is the core problem.

Other cybersecurity certifications, like security+ and CompTIA network+ certification are even more specific in that those with CompTIA Security+ Certification are focused on supporting the integrity of the organization’s overall security from the digital to the physical – such as ways to secure premises. Individuals with CompTIA CYSA+ certification are focused on cybersecurity only, which is exactly the type of thing an individual needs to know in order to help address something like a zero-day exploit.

Internal software resolutions

Individuals with this kind of training are able to work quickly to stop access through third-party proprietary software until a patch is available from the developer. If the software was created in-house or developed for the organization, they can assist as well. By identifying what happened, and how the cybercriminal made access, and with their knowledge of the organization’s systems, they are able to work together with programmers to create a patch. This means a company’s cybersecurity-trained professional is able to resolve an issue much more quickly than an outsourced IT support.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of all is that some individuals with cybersecurity education have been trained to do penetration testing and are able to identify flaws that could lead to zero-day exploits before they ever happen. Obviously, a company wants their own team to find the vulnerability before a cyber criminal does. By thinking like a hacker or cyber criminal and doing everything they can to infiltrate and break a system, they find the problems first, notify the developer (if it’s third-party software) or work together with internal IT members to resolve in-house software and systems to patch the issues.

Not all companies have an individual with cybersecurity training, but every IT professional will benefit from taking these types of courses in that they create an immediate value to the organization they work for.