According to a study released Tuesday by Project Zero, a Google in-house team charged with uncovering sophisticated cybersecurity threats known as zero-day vulnerabilities and exploits, the team discovered a record-breaking 58 in-the-wild flaws in 2021.
A zero-day vulnerability is a security problem that developers have just recently discovered, leaving them with “zero days” to correct or “patch.” Such weaknesses might lead to data breaches and ransomware attacks if they go undiscovered. Microsoft issued a security update patch for more than 100 possible hazards in Windows 10 and other applications, including Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office, last year, after warning customers about zero-day vulnerabilities in Windows 10 and other software.
Google Project Zero exploits in 2021
Since its inception in 2014, Project Zero has discovered and revealed the most zero-day vulnerabilities, with a total of 28, which is less than half of the amount discovered in 2021. Only 20 zero-day vulnerabilities were discovered and publicised in 2020, a year-over-year decrease.
The increase might imply a growing trend of cyberattacks, which have grown in tandem with the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic and the growing use of Bitcoin, but Project Zero believes the most likely cause advances in identifying and reporting zero-day incidents. The great majority of zero-day exploits are “identical to earlier [and] publicly known vulnerabilities,” according to the research, with just two occurrences standing out for their “technical sophistication” or rationale. However, despite the rise in discovered zero-day vulnerabilities, your online security appears to be no more at risk than in prior years, at least in terms of zero-day vulnerabilities.
That isn’t to say that zero-day vulnerabilities aren’t dangerous. Individuals and corporations will continue to be concerned about online security. Keeping your software up to date is one approach to protect yourself from malware and ransomware — patches and updates are issued for a purpose. Using a strong VPN and antivirus software might also help protect your connection. In the meanwhile, Project Zero will keep working toward its aim of “making 0-day difficult.”