Analysis

Fast Market for ‘Zero Day’ Exploits Imperils Computer Security
A man in Paris looks at a financial application on his I-phone. Apple is now paying up to $250,000 for a Zero Day exploit that affects its I-Phone operating system, according to computer experts. (ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)
June 7, 2013
| Security
| The Americas
Summary
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CYBER WAR

As worldwide fears about cyber-security threats skyrocket, governments and large organizations have started to pay huge sums of money for “Zero Day” exploits, while in the process deliberately leaving open gaps in computer security. A “Zero Day” exploit is a previously unknown flaw in computer software, dubbed Zero Day because computer security experts have had “zero days” to fix the flaw. There is no defense against Zero Day attacks.
Zero Day exploits have existed as long as computers have, but in decades past, Zero Day exploits were not directly monetized to the degree they are now, and Zero Day information, once discovered, was frequently passed on to software developers to allow a patch to be created and distributed. Over the past several years, however, major industrial powers have begun to pay top dollar for new Zero Day exploits used as offensive cyber-warfare tools. This approach may give short and medium-term advantage to the organizations buying up Zero Day exploits, but over the longer term, it may negatively impact collective computer security worldwide.
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