Zero Day Virus

What Does Zero Day Virus Mean?

A zero day virus is a malicious software program that is not documented prior to a given day. When the virus is officially recognized and identified by an organization in the anti-virus community, it becomes a zero day virus. Professionals use zero day as the benchmark for responding to a computer virus.


Techopedia Explains Zero Day Virus

A zero day virus has a particular application to the anti-virus industry. Anti-virus software makers work from specific key principles, including the need to protect their clients from as wide a range of viruses as possible, and to limit, as well as mitigate, cyberattacks. This is a very competitive metric within the industry, as business/government clients and individuals seek to obtain the best anti-virus protection for their networks.

One problem with a zero day virus is that because it is not previously documented, it does not have a signature. Signatures involve reviewing the method and coding of a virus to anticipate and protect systems against the virus. One method of working against zero day viruses is the heuristic anti-virus method, which, using experience-based analysis, looks at other factors besides a signature for a virus to try to predetermine what a system needs protection against and what might be a virus.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…