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An IT Admin’s Guide to Securing Systems Against Zero-Day Threats

Technology is evolving so fast that it can be hard to stay on top of, and protect against, every type of potential threat. Hackers know this. That’s why they’re constantly creating new threats that are unknown to most anti-virus software.

Zero-Day Threats are cyberattacks that exploit weaknesses that are unknown to an IT team prior to the attack. This category of threats earns their name because there are “zero days” to plan ahead for them. This category of threats poses a unique set of challenges for organizations. Because these threats exploit weaknesses that IT teams aren’t aware of, they can often be hard to detect. Once the weakness is discovered, a patch may still be a long way off. From there, it could be even longer to deploy a solution, depending on an organization’s capabilities.

As cybersecurity continues to improve, zero-day threats are on the rise, as hackers look for new ways to circumvent your security system.

Zero-day threats, like other cybersecurity breaches, can cost your organization in a variety of ways. Your information could be stolen, both hurting your business and your reputation. Additionally, zero-day threats can damage your IT infrastructure and ultimately result in you needing to take your operation completely offline for a period of time.  

Mitigating zero-day cyberattacks may seem like a challenge. After all, how can you protect against something if you don’t know that it’s there? Luckily, the right plan and software can go a long way toward keeping your organization free of a breach.

Preventing Zero-Day Threats

Preventing zero-day threats, like any other form of cyberattack, starts with strong software and education for your employees. Ensure that everyone on your team is using safe computer habits. Give them information on the kind of links that they should be wary of when they are online. Your operation’s internet browser is one of the most vulnerable spots for a zero-day breach to occur.

Make sure you have a layered protection system that is made to handle a variety of threats. This should include a firewall and scanners on your internet and individual machines. A firewall is a filter between your network and computer that will block known viruses from internet pages. A firewall can vary in size and can cover anything from a personal desktop to a whole local network system.

Security scans are another tool in the IT arsenal to keep out zero-day threats and other issues. These scans can be run on either your web browser or computer system and search for suspicious code. Scans won’t be able to catch many of the more complex zero-day threats, because the attacks are designed to not be similar to previous breaches.

While firewalls and scans can go a long way, the best method to stop a zero-day threat in its tracks is something called application control. Application control prevents all unauthorized programs, even ones that weren’t flagged as a threat by your firewall or are known to your system, from launching. This process is called whitelisting, because it involves only naming the applications you want to run, rather than all the ones that you don’t, like in blacklisting. The intense security of application control delivered by products like Faronics Deep Freeze should stop any zero-day threats since it makes the malware’s lack of negative identification irrelevant.

Employing consistent application control may be difficult for some organizations, however. Your organization may depend on a wide variety of applications to function at full capability, and blocking all of them at once may be unrealistic. 

What To Do Once A Threat is Discovered

Even if you do all of the right things, sometimes a threat can still occur. If it does, the key is to do all that you can to mitigate the damage. Ensuring that you have detection services in place will be key. Otherwise, a breach may exist for an extended period of time before you catch it.

Once a threat is detected, be sure to uninstall any software that isn’t completely essential to your operation. This will help to stop the spread of any viruses. In more extreme circumstances, taking your operation completely offline or putting your website in maintenance mode may be necessary. These moves will give you time to work on a patch without allowing the issue to spread, preventing extra harm to your system. While going offline may be inconvenient, and may hurt financially, it can also save you headaches down the road.

Software That You Can Trust

Ultimately, taking preventative measures against zero-day threats, while challenging, is extremely worthwhile. Software from Faronics can be a large part of the solution. Deep Freeze’s instant restore functions not only are a great way to cut down on IT tickets, it can be an essential piece of your security strategy. The software functions as whitelist by bringing your computers back to the settings that you specify with the click of a button. Deep Freeze has capabilities that range from a single desktop to thousand of work stations. That means that whatever the size of your operation, protection from zero-day threats is possible.

To learn more about how Faronics Deep Freeze technology can help your organization, visit our website or start a free trial today.

About The Author

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, expert on Reboot Restore Technology when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.

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