An exploit is a type of cyberattack that capitalizes on vulnerabilities in applications, networks, or hardware. It is usually introduced into code during development and is unknown to software vendors, researchers, and the public. Once identified, exploits are categorized according to the type of vulnerability they exploit, such as zero-day, DoS, or spoofing.

Cybercriminals use exploits to access the software and potentially your computer. These types of attacks usually take the form of malware or malicious code.

These exploits often cause material harm. They may cost companies millions of dollars or can expose consumers to cyber-threats. Software companies issue security patches for the vulnerabilities they are aware of, but until they know about an exploit, you could be at risk.

The next big exploit is coming. Hackers are hard at work trying to find a foothold in any software they can. The best thing you can do is learn how to prepare for the next exploit and what you can do to recover if you’re affected.

How to Protect Yourself

Most exploits can be impossible to prevent. However, there are ways you can protect your data and your network against attacks.

Configure Your Firewall

Your firewall is your first line of defense against threats. It plays a crucial role in protecting your system against exploits. Get the most from your firewall by configuring it to allow only necessary transactions and traffic. Taking the time to set up your firewall carefully will save you time and energy as new threats are identified.

Proactive Patching

Software and hardware vendors release patches to enhance performance, fix bugs and to update their software against new threats as they are made aware. One of the best things you can do to keep your network and data safe is to apply patches as they come out. The more proactive you are with patching, the less likely you’ll be hit if an exploit is found.

Network Monitoring

Today’s network monitoring tools continuously scan your network to seek out bad behavior, threats and vulnerabilities that may make you a target. Using network monitoring software to protect your network can alert you in real-time to threats as they are happening. Look for network monitoring tools that can monitor your entire network architecture, from your WAN to your public and private clouds.

Anti-Malware Tools

An anti-malware tool helps to keep your network and computer safe from all kinds of malware. They work by looking for malware and malicious code in all incoming network data and downloaded files. Anti-malware protects against infections caused by many types of malware, such as viruses, rootkits, ransomware and spyware.

Practice Good Habits

As always, a dose of prevention is worth an ounce of cure. Train your staff to exercise common sense and practice safe computing habits. Don’t open attachments from suspicious or unknown email addresses and don’t download files that haven’t been appropriately scanned by anti-malware software.

It’s Not Your Fault, But It Is Your Responsibility

Most exploits are introduced during software development, which is out of your hands. However, protecting your network and your data is your responsibility. Lockdown your firewall, keep your software and patching up to date, invest in network monitoring and anti-malware tools and train employees to be careful online. Hopefully, you’ll escape the next big exploit unharmed.

Thinking Beyond Your Network