We often hear in the news that a well known company, service or even popular organisations and political entities were victims of cybercriminals who somehow managed to break into their systems and steal your data. One way they are able to do this is through vulnerability or in other words a hole or security flaw.
Cybercriminals constantly use these small errs to infiltrate complex networks and their favourite tools for this are known as exploits. But, what is an exploit?
An exploit is a program or code that takes advantage of security vulnerability in an application or system. These exploits are very useful for cybercriminals because they can use vulnerabilities in popular programs such as Java and flash among others and thus compromise many computers simultaneously.
If we apply that to real life, it would be like having a lock representing the system or application that has a design flaw that would allow multiple keys, or exploits, to open it making it much easier to access what you are trying to protect.
There are two types of vulnerabilities; those that are known and those that have not just been released. When a vulnerability is known you can take steps to protect it. Unknown vulnerabilities on the other hand have not yet been reported and event the developers themselves might not have seen them. The latter are known as 0-day.
How to protect yourself?
Make sure all of your applications and systems are in their latest versions since updates not only incorporate improvements and functionality and interface, but fix that close and patch these potential security holes.
Besides that, it is vital to have a security solution like ESET Smart Security as it can detect and block exploits that can be used against web browsers, PDF readers and other applications we use on a daily basis.