Exploit Prevention Techniques Can End Zero-day Vulnerabilities

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Exploit Prevention Techniques Can End Zero-day Vulnerabilities

With no advanced zero-day security patches available, companies are at high cyber risk. Experts explain the numerous possible cyber-attack techniques and how next-gen security solutions can help.

Every day, over 550,000 malware samples are identified. Most exploits are associated with zero-day attacks that use vulnerabilities unknown to software providers. A Google study revealed that 24 zero-day vulnerabilities were exploited by cybercriminals in 2020. Ultimately, with no available zero-day security patches, organizations are quite often exposed to cyber risk. Experts strongly recommend advanced, next-generation cyber protection solutions and techniques that are capable of exploit prevention.

Cyber hackers are always working to bypass Data Execution Prevention (DEP), a system-level memory protection feature that can mark pages of memory as non-executable. They were successful by using several techniques, including Return-oriented Programming (ROP). Cybercriminals use ROP chains to create code. Advanced cyber protection solutions can eliminate ROP attacks by not allowing it to find a call instruction.

Also Read: The Need for Increased Collaboration Between SecOps and DevOps to Reduce Application Vulnerabilities

Threat actors also utilize stack pivoting to evade security, such as DEP. They use the technique to pivot from real stack to fake stack that acts as an attacker-controlled buffer. Any further program execution done is controlled by the fake stack. While Export Address Filtration can help, a next-gen cybersecurity solution will be able to provide an access filter to prevent the reading of PE and protect memory areas.

Meanwhile, code injection techniques are also heavily leveraged by cybercriminals. One such technique is the process of hollowing, where a trusted application is loaded in to act as a container for malicious code. It evades company defenses including detection analyses of less advanced solutions.

Another technique, Reflective Dynamic Link Library (DLL) loading is inserted from memory and not disk, making cybersecurity difficult. The Early Bird code injections use the application threading process to load its hostile code without detection. Experts recommend advanced anti-malware technology to prevent such attacks via code injections.

A functionality, Asynchronous Procedure Call (APC) that can divert a thread from one execution path to another can be dangerous. When an APC is scheduled, it is focused on a particular thread. Yet cybercriminals inject code into the call. Experts recommend the use of an advanced solution that can detect the injection in the suspended mode process before it is too late. It will push the original memory and block the affected process.

Also Read: Staying Ahead of Third-Party Libraries Vulnerabilities

A security identifier that is a value of variable length used to identify a security principal has to be checked during application loading. Cybersecurity experts reckon it can locate malicious activity. As SIDs are not allowed to change during the process evaluation, experts suggest the use of exploit prevention software that can keep a check on the SID during the process execution.

Many cybercriminals take advantage of the fact that most companies only monitor their sensitive information. They call the non-sensitive function at an offset and successfully evade security software. Such criminal techniques can be avoided by next-gen cybersecurity solutions that have hooks on sensitive API functions to divert and conduct checks, including antivirus scanning before the malicious seed is fully sown.

Exploit prevention techniques are most critical especially against cyber-attacks that depend on zero-day vulnerabilities. It only takes one attack to cause catastrophic damage to brand reputation, and worse, shut down the business.

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