How to Protect Your Business From the Growing Threat of Zero-Day Malware

A hand holds a magnifying glass up to a screen filled with green ones and zeros to enlarge red text that says "ZERO-DAY," representing zero-day malware.You’ve probably heard the idiom, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s definitely easier to fend off familiar and easily recognizable threats than brand new ones. Unfortunately, zero-day malware is on the rise: The vast majority (74 percent) of malware detected during the first quarter of 2021 was zero-day, or “polymorphic, evasive malware that bypasses signature-based protections on day ‘zero’ of its release,” according to a report from WatchGuard’s Threat Lab.

That means stopping threats from infiltrating your organization’s network is more difficult than ever, as IT security tools like traditional anti-virus software that rely on known signatures won’t recognize most of the malicious entities trying to sneak past your defenses. If you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in more advanced security solutions and services to improve your ability to identify and eliminate novel malware before it has the chance to do extensive damage.

What Is Zero-Day Malware and Why Is It Cause for Concern?

In a nutshell, zero-day malware is malicious software that’s just been released and no one knows about yet, according to Techopedia. This type of cybersecurity threat might slip in via an email attachment or disguise itself as an innocuous file in order to infect the target’s systems. While patches and updates can often fix the issue and prevent the incident from recurring, zero-day malware can be problematic because it’s still unknown and won’t sound any alarms if you rely on cybersecurity solutions that leverage signature-based detection methods, which utilize known indicators of compromise (IOCs), according to the Center for Internet Security (CIS). While a signature-based approach effectively fends off known assailants, it will allow new pernicious programs to slip through the cracks.

The Best Solutions for Combating Zero-Day Threats

To achieve the highest level of protection, the CIS recommends combining signature-based cybersecurity solutions with tools that perform anomaly-based detection, which involves monitoring for alterations in behavior compared to a known baseline. For both signature and anomaly-based detection tools, you need a team of experienced security professionals to implement and oversee them and respond to alerts.

If you’re looking to augment your ability to spot and respond to zero-day malware as rapidly as possible, you might want to consider the following advanced cybersecurity solutions and services:

    • Extended detection and response (XDR)This new type of detection and response solution aggregates and correlates data from various security solutions (e.g., network detection and response, endpoint detection and response, and SIEM) to offer a streamlined view of all your infrastructure and information systems via a single pane of glass.
    • Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR): This type of technology allows your security team to achieve more in less time by automating security operations and enhancing threat management and incident response processes.
    • Comprehensive incident response services: Resolve security incidents as quickly as possible with an incident response team that handles everything from escalation triage to pinpointing the root cause.

If you’d like to learn more about how to craft the best strategy for protecting your organization from zero-day malware, our security team is available to assist you. We can lower your risk level with fully managed cybersecurity services or our comanaged IT security offering. For details, give us a call at 877-599-3999 or email

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