If you have been closely following the cybersecurity news lately, you might have heard about the Log4j vulnerability. Since it is a new vulnerability, less is known about it which has created even more confusion amongst business circles. They did not know what it really is and how to protect their business from it.
To help you deal with this vulnerability in a much better way, Anti-Dos will teach you all you need to know about Log4j.
What is Log4j Vulnerability?
Log4j is a logging library which is used by developers to take notes about what is happening on their application and servers. It is used for record keeping purposes. For instance, if someone tries to log into their account with a wrong password, Log4j is used to record the name of the application, time when the user tried to login as well as the password they used.
Java developers have been using the Log4j library for quite some time now especially for their server and client applications. Log4j vulnerability gives attackers the freedom to execute code remotely. This essentially means that they are able to not only execute malicious code but also access all the data present on the machine from a remote location. For the cherry on top, attackers can even encrypt or delete data or even hold that data hostage for ransom.
To add insult to injury, any function that a compromised machine can perform can be controlled by the attacker. This means that if you are using a vulnerable version of Log4j, your log user-controlled data might also be at risk.
How Log4j Vulnerability Was Found?
It was 9 December, 2021 when Chen Zhaojun of Alibaba cloud security team identified CVE-2021-44228, commonly known as Log4Shell. Log4Shell is a severe vulnerability that negatively impacts the core functionality of Log4j. Since it is a publicly available vulnerability which can easily be exploited by cyberattackers, cybersecurity professionals raised the red flag immediately.
What Cybersecurity Researchers Had To Say About Log4j?
They were right as cyberattackers made thousands of attempts to exploit this vulnerability. According to security researchers at Cisco and Cloudflare, hackers have been exploiting this bug since the beginning of the month. The number of attacks showed a sharp increase after Apache’s admission. According to Microsoft, attackers have been busy installing cryptominers on compromised systems, stealing credentials and data as well as moving laterally through the network. This sent shockwaves across the business world as businesses were clueless how to react to such a situation.
What Will Be The Future of Log4j?
Some reports suggest that cyber criminals have already exploited this vulnerability but there is still a question mark on the authenticity of these reports. Irrespective of whether these reports are true or false, one thing is for certain: attackers will continue to exploit such vulnerabilities.
Since it is found in Java, which is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, it’s popularity has attracted hackers towards it. Another factor that has helped it to grab the attention of hackers is the user supplied data present in logs. Simply put, expect more attacks of this nature in the future.
The good news is that patching such vulnerabilities is easy, but attackers will surely find new ways to get around the security measures and add sophistication to their attacks. Don’t be surprised to see ransomware attacks and data breaches that exploit the same vulnerability in the future. The worst part is that attackers can take advantage of huge attack surface enterprises to target other devices connected to the network and exploit more vulnerabilities found in those devices.
How Can You Protect Your Business From Log4j?
In zero day exploits like these, you have no choice but to wait for patches to be released. Thankfully, Apache released a couple of patches (2.15.0-rc1 and 2.15.0-rc2) as soon as the Log4j vulnerability was found. Not only that, Apache has also shared guidelines for mitigating the risk for those who can not install the patch.
If you want to prevent such attacks in the future, you should invest in strengthening your network security controls. Create a mechanism where your servers can only make connections to network destinations that are pre-approved by the network administrator. You can automatically deny insecure and unapproved connections by implementing the default deny rule in your firewall. This can drastically reduce the risk of compromise.
Use diversified detection tools and methods in order to identify such threats early as this gives you more time to respond to these threats. You don’t want to be reacting to these vulnerabilities after the damage has been done, which is why it is important to take a proactive approach to threat remediation.
What steps did you take to protect your business from Log4j vulnerability? Share it with us in the comments section below.