New research from Google’s Project Zero security team has revealed that 11 zero-day vulnerabilities have been actively exploited in the wild during the first half of this year.
The search giant’s security researchers began tracking zero-day vulnerabilities in an internal spreadsheet beginning in 2014. However, in May of last year, Project Zero released its tracking spreadsheet for zero-days to the public as the team began a “more focused effort on analyzing and learning from these exploits”.
Security researcher at Project Zero, Maggie Stone provided more details on how Google’s researchers track zero-day vulnerabilities in a blog post, saying:
“The largely steady number of detected 0-days might suggest that defender detection techniques are progressing at the same speed as attacker techniques. That could be true. Or it could not be. The data in our spreadsheet are only the 0-day exploits that were detected, not the 0-day exploits that were used. As long as we still don’t know the true detection rate of all 0-day exploits, it’s very difficult to make any conclusions about whether the number of 0-day exploits deployed in the wild are increasing or decreasing. For example, if all defenders stopped detection efforts, that could make it appear that there are no 0-days being exploited, but we’d clearly know that to be false.”
So far this year, 11 zero-day vulnerabilities have been detected being exploited in the wild which puts 2020 on track to have just as many zero-days as last year when Project Zero tracked 20 zero-days.
Of the companies with the most zero-day vulnerabilities so far this year, Microsoft takes the top spot with four, followed by Mozilla with three and Trend Micro with two. Thankfully, all of the zero-days in Project Zero’s spreadsheet have all been patched.
Since Google’s security researchers began actively tracking zero-days, the number of these vulnerabilities discovered has fallen somewhat from a high of 29 in 2015. Surprisingly, 2018 was a bit of an anomaly when it came to zero-days with only 13 being actively exploited in the wild that year.
Interested users can read more about the zero-days discovered last year by reading Project Zero’s year in review blog post which goes into further details about each of the vulnerabilities the team tracked last year.