Email Marketing

What is a Zero Click Vulnerability Email and How Do You Avoid It?

Attacks without a click!


Wajeeha Gull


post cover

Do zero click attacks pose a hefty theft to victims? The answer is yes.

As technology continues to evolve, there has been a notable increase in advanced cyber threats like zero click exploits.

A zero click attack uses malware to breach, access, alter and misuse sensitive data. In 2021, a report published by Mandiant Threat Intelligence revealed a record-breaking 166.7% increase in zero day exploits from the previous year.

With the growth of cloud hosting, smartphone usage and iOT systems, both technological variety and complexity are increasing. This paves the path to greater system errors that can be exploited.

What are zero click attacks?

Zero click, also known as zero day, describes a previously unknown security vulnerability within a digital operating system such as firmware or software that's yet to be fixed by the developer. And thus, is open to exploitation by cyber criminals.

Zero click is used in combination with the terms vulnerability, exploit and attack.

Here's what these mean:

  • Zero click vulnerabilities

Unpatched security 'weak spots' in a software identified by hackers who quickly deploy malware to exploit the vulnerabilities.

  • Zero click exploits

The techniques and methods used by attackers to manipulate zero click vulnerabilities

  • Zero click attacks

The deployment of zero click exploits to penetrate an otherwise secure system and gain unauthorized access to the data contained within.

Zero click attacks work even when there is no user interaction. Contrary to traditional cyber threats, hackers don't have to send a carefully crafted message to bait targets. Rather, they just spot an unpatched vulnerability and push spyware to compromise the device.

Simply put, zero click attacks don't require you to click suspicious links or download malware posing as 'safe' apps. Malicious software is installed by the cybercriminal without the victim's knowledge. Because of this, zero click activity leaves no traceable trail making detection extremely difficult.

Also Read: How to Make AI Content Optimization Super Easy

Why hackers choose email for zero day exploit

email users in 2025

According to Statista, 4.6 billion people (over half of the projected world population) will become email users by 2025. Numbers like these prove why businesses rely on email marketing to engage their prospects.

But that's not the only reason such communications are an easy target for hackers.

To allow incoming and outgoing messages between two or more parties, a messaging app parses data from various sources, even if they aren't trusted.

Because zero click attacks require very specific vulnerabilities to exist within the system, when that is the case, cybercriminals can easily locate the entry point and send an email message with the spyware attached.

To put things in perspective, let's think of a hypothetical zero click attack.

Here, all an attacker needs to do is add a malicious code or image file to an email message and hit send. Once delivered this will infect your devices, allowing criminals to gain access to sensitive information.

Real world examples of zero click attacks

Over the years, several high-profile targets have had their devices hacked and their private information stolen.

Back in 2011, security firm, RSA, experienced a massive network breach that compromised sensitive data.

Cyberciminals targeted a zero click vulnerability within Adobe Flash Player by emailing company employees. These electronic messages included an Excel sheet attachment with a flash file that successfully manipulated the unpatched application. Once an RSA employee opened the Excel file, hackers installed malware to break into the company computer.

Seven years later, Jeff Bezos was targeted through a covert WhatsApp video message. Then in 2019, an attacker tried to manipulate a WhatsApp source code vulnerability merely through a missed call. However, what truly trumps both incidents is the 2021 Apple zero click attack, ForcedEntry.

Hackers manipulated an unpatched vulnerability in Apple's iMessage service to take control of an activist's iPhone 12. It was later discovered by cyber crime watchdog, Citizen Lab, that the attackers had pushed Pegasus spyware after overcoming a security feature within iOS 14. Naturally, this attracted significant news coverage as mobile devices with iOS are highly regarded for their robust security.

It goes without saying, companies must legally guard the personal information of their customers. If you're an established business with a growing bottom line, the online safety of your operating systems should take priority.

Bear in mind, zero day attacks are extremely difficult to detect and virtually impossible to predict. But that doesn't mean your business can't shield itself from advanced threats.

How to protect your business from zero click attacks

Tackling a zero click exploit after it has happened is only limited to damage control. Rest assured, you can mitigate the risk before it takes over. Here are some of the best ways to strengthen your armor against such attacks.

Enable multi factor authentication

Multifactor authentication adds an extra layer of protection to logins. So, even if someone seeking to remotely exploit your digital assets breaks through the password phase, they won't be able to proceed when required to enter a code exclusively messaged to your iOS or Android device.

Choose unique passwords

Never set generic passwords for your business accounts. Always use a robust password with a string of letters, alphabets, numbers and characters. Additionally, avoid using the same password for different accounts.

Keep all systems up to date

Ward off the detriments of malicious activity by updating your systems.

Software developers are always rolling out new versions that fix bugs in the previous one. So, when a weak data packet is strengthened, hackers have less room to launch an attack. As a rule of thumb, uninstall and reduce dormant apps that might be opening up your systems to further risk.

Block pop ups

Pop ups get a bad rep for good reason. Since forever, they have allowed attackers to spread malware through zero click exploits and other attack methods. So, when you block pop ups, there is reduced surface area for the zero click attack work model.

Set up the firewall

Bad incoming traffic introduces your business to malicious intent. With a fire wall in place, the chances of this drastically goes down. So, not only is your private network safer but your public profile also remains shrouded in mystery.

Use a paid antivirus software

Free antivirus software isn't worth the hype, no matter how hard it is marketed. Real value comes at a price and that's why top companies don't shy away from putting their money in a top-tier digital protection system. Similarly, you should deploy the best tools to keep your devices safe from viruses.

Bottom line

Just as zero click attacks endanger customer relationships when attackers leak sensitive information, building rapport with leads demands that your company is perceived as authentic.

But when you send bulk emails through the traditional route, ESPs and ISPs flags your digital entity for spam violations.

To ensure that your business image remains pristine, try email warm up tools like GoCustomer to land in the Primary Inbox and make great first impressions.

GoCustomer is not only an email warm-up tool but it is now a full-fledged email marketing solution that provides everything from email verification to AI email writing assistance.

You can sign up for the full package now!

An image to showcase the email warmup feature

Reach more customers with your cold emails

Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    A zero-click vulnerability email is an attack by cyber criminals that automatically installs malware to your system without requiring the recipient to take any action or click on anything.
    In order to protect yourself from a vulnerability attack, make sure you have strong passwords and change your passwords regularly. Multi-factor authentication, firewalls, blocking pop-ups, and using a good anti-virus software can help you armor yourself against vulnerability attacks.
    Multi-factor authentication is the process of applying an extra layer of security to your systems and accounts which requires a code to be sent to your iOS or Android device if your device is logged in from a new IP address. Even if the person logging in has the password, they are required to enter a code that is sent to the account owner's phone or personal email address to gain access to the account.
    Pop-ups can often have malware attached to them and are a prime source of zero click attacks that spread malware without the user clicking on anything. Blocking pop-ups can prevent this.
    No, it is nearly impossible to predict or identify a zero click attack. However, it is important to protect your system against vulnerabilities to prevent being prone to a compromising situation.
    person opening a mailbox

    Subscribe to our Newsletter!

    Digital advice costs money but we send it to
    your inbox for free.

    Time is Money, and We're About to Save You Both!

    Book a quick demo of our email marketing tools and watch as we transform your leads into loyal customers.


    All-in-one email marketing solution that is tailored specifically for your needs.

    +1 307-461-9872

    [email protected]

    Get in touch

    Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter and receive updates via email.

    © 2024 GoCustomer All rights reserved.