The real meaning of… Zero Day Exploit
Cybercrime

The real meaning of… Zero Day Exploit

Imagine your employer has been hit by a malicious attack. If everyone in the company is instantly alerted the company could be saved. If not, everyone’s life falls apart. You need to explain the situation with the utmost speed and clarity to everybody. This is your only hope of getting them to understand the gravity of the situation and to galvanise them into collective action. Your LinkedIn profile says you are “passionate about security” and it’s your ‘mission’ to explain.

So, how do you alert people that they need to act instantly? You put out a message headed “Zero Day Exploit”.

Momentarily, everyone is stunned. What on earth does this odd phrase mean? To regular English speakers, it doesn’t have any logic. If you were to put this phrase into an English language compiler, it would come up multiple error messages. It contains two illogically juxtaposed nouns for a start. And the third word, a verb, doesn’t seem to make any sense in this context either.

So instead of taking affirmative action, half the readers of this memo will be puzzled by this apparent non-sequitur. What’s Barry from IT trying to say? There are no days to exploit? What does that even mean? Maybe he’s saying we should live life to the full. Is this an inspirational lifestyle tweet that he’s decided to share? What’s he on about? Eventually the users will shrug and give up, joining the other half of the workforce who ignore everything from IT.

A tiny minority of the workforce will be familiar with IT jargon, and realise that, for no apparent reason, the verb ‘exploit’ is being used here as a noun. And the term ‘Zero Day’ means ‘on the same day’. So a zero day exploit is an attack, that is happening now, and there’s no time to lose. Why didn’t you just say that Barry? You could have been the solution - but instead you became part of the problem. We should have ‘zero tolerance’ for these over complicators.

 

Also read:
The real meaning of… ‘As A Service’
The real meaning of… Bitcoin
The real meaning of… ChatBots
The real meaning of Disruptive Technology
The real meaning of… the e-prefix
The real meaning of… Futurology
The real meaning of…3G and 4G
The real meaning of… Hard-wired
The real meaning of... Information Age - interruptive technology
The real meaning of… Jabber
The real meaning of…. Killer apps, Kyoto, Keyword stuffing and Knowledge
The real meaning of… Legacies and Leverage, Leadership and Language
The real meaning of… Mobile, Machines and the Malware Man-in-the-Middle
The real meaning of… NAND
The real meaning of… Open Source
The real meaning of… Phishing
The real meaning of… Quantum Computing
The real meaning of… Ransomware
The real meaning of… Serverless Architecture
The real meaning of… Trolledge
The real meaning of… Unified Communications (UC)
The real meaning of… Virtualisation
The real meaning of… Wiki
The real meaning of… Xubuntu
The real meaning of… Yahoo

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Nick Booth

Nick Booth worked in IT in the UK’s National Health Service, financial services and The Met Police, witnessing at first hand the disruptive effects of new technology. As a journalist and analyst, his mission is to stop history repeating itself.

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