The recent issue with Apache Log4j has created serious challenges for developers and their organizations using this tool. Most cybersecurity experts have called this current development one of the biggest security flaws of late.
This poses a major threat when the vulnerabilities are exploited by cyber attackers and hackers. This can result in negative business impacts. Those include loss or breach of personal data, ransomware attacks, business productivity downtime and damage to an organization’s reputation.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has now released an alert saying: “It is critical that companies and their vendors relying on Log4j act now, in order to reduce the likelihood of harm to consumers, and to avoid FTC legal action. The FTC intends to use its full legal authority to pursue companies that fail to take reasonable steps to protect consumer data from exposure as a result of Log4j, or similar known vulnerabilities in the future.”
Microsoft also released a statement warning: “We have observed many existing attackers adding exploits of these vulnerabilities in their existing malware kits and tactics, from coin miners to hands-on keyboard attacks. Organizations may not realize their environments may already be compromised.”
Due to the complexity of these potential vulnerabilities and new ways cyber attackers and hackers are finding to exploit them, the expectation from security experts is remediation will require continuous review and alertness to new threats.
How Is Log4j Used?
Log4j is a logging package for Java and other programming languages. It can track processes in the building blocks of software development. It’s designed for use in applications, where they log to a file, and Jakarta Server Pages (JSP) and servlets, where they log to the console.
(Every software development activity is known as a log. Endpoint management teams and developers use these logs to check if there’s an issue faced by users.)
Log4j is also an open-source Java library, which helps in error management and reporting. It’s especially useful for managing errors related to class files in Java. Log4j can be used for business application programming to keep track of transactional data stored inside a database.
Logging software or tools like Log4j are used to check performance and detect issues before they occur. And they help support teams keep up when they’re unable to handle calls and requests through help desk software.
Log4j also helps improve the efficiency, accuracy and quality of logs. This makes it easier for software engineers to understand the state of an application, diagnosing problems associated with availability, performance and downtime. It keeps track of real-time events from applications, so you will always know about new log entries during runtime, which can help fix problems faster.
Why Is Log4j Important for Developers?
As a logging system used to find and resolve issues during software development, Log4j helps developers keep track of problems encountered during the development process. They use several types of logs. And each log is recorded for every issue met by a user.
For example, the log may be an error message, a warning message or any other kind of message users see when they interact with the software.
Log4j can be used for both internal and external clients. There are different logging systems available for different problems and scenarios. They help track, warn about and audit errors, making it ideal for error management and reporting.
Log4j is also an open-source tool that works all operating systems because it uses the Java library while performing its functions. It can be used in web and mobile applications to track transactions carried out by the clients via their app or software.
What to Know About Apache Log4j Security Vulnerability?
Vulnerability is a weakness in a system or software that can be exploited by a hacker or cyber attacker. The problems faced by users are called security vulnerabilities, as they can be exploited to harm users and breach systems.
Vulnerabilities are found because of bugs that exist in the system code and can cause issues when the code is being executed or run.
Each vulnerability is classified based on the level of damage it can cause to a system or software.
- High-risk vulnerabilities are those that create considerable damage if exploited by hackers.
- Medium-risk vulnerabilities are those that are unharmful, but still can compromise the security of systems.
- Low-risk vulnerabilities can create less damage and harm when exploited by hackers.
What’s Wrong with Log4j?
The Apache Software Foundation, which is behind the development of Log4j, hasn’t shared any official announcement about the security vulnerability found in the system.
But experts say a recent flaw can be used by hackers and cyber attackers to gain access to servers of an organization without authorization. Hundreds of attempts are being made by hackers to manipulate the dysfunction, while organizations are trying to fix the issue.
The flaw in the system can be exploited, compromising the integrity of a network using Log4j. The software provides access to users. And it allows them to watch the activities on a network or a device.
Do Endpoint Management Teams Need to Worry About Log4j Security Vulnerability?
Although the Apache Software Foundation has released a security patch for organizations using Log4j, there are still risks if hackers and cyber attackers make successful attempts. The organizations using Log4j are recommended to update their systems and apps to avoid damage.
The log files will also provide detailed information about all the failed attempts by a hacker or cyber attacker to get inside your system. Security vulnerability is one thing you shouldn’t ignore. It can cause severe security vulnerability issues. You can lose data or access to confidential information stored on those systems.
A thorough security bulnerability scan and consultation with a security expert like System Soft Technologies can help find risks and make recommendations to improve your security posture and fix any issues.
Security Updates for Apache Log4j Vulnerability
Apache has released a security update for Log4j. It can be easily downloaded from its website. It provides the full patch for all versions of Linux and Windows and provides valuable information about this issue.
Organizations using Log4j should make sure they download the latest version. Also, keep up on any updates released by vendors to make sure they continue to safeguard against new threats or security vulnerabilities on their system.
The vulnerability of Log4j can be overlooked by organizations using this tool, because there are patches available to fix the issue. The security patches released by the foundation include an updated workaround for CVE-2021-44228 and guidance on a second vulnerability—CVE-2021-45046. (These were released by Apache Software Foundation during December 2021.)
It’s highly recommended organizations install these patches soon. The patches will help remove bugs and security vulnerabilities from their open-source systems and keep hackers or cyber attackers from exploiting them and avoid severe consequences.
Organizations and their development teams using Apache Log4j must perfect their firewalls against hackers and cyber attackers. Apart from this security vulnerability, there are countless other mishaps that can compromise your IT environment. It’s important to invest in the safety and integrity of your organization’s networks.
System Soft recommends you keep your eye on this vulnerability, as it’s still in its nascent stages. You wouldn’t want to overlook a flaw in arbitrary, open-source software used in your system, would you?
Yet, dealing with security vulnerabilities isn’t easy. It can be attacked by hackers if they get into your system. Therefore, it’s always recommended your organization has proper and reliable security wards to thwart new threats or vulnerabilities. While the Log4j security vulnerability is fixed with the new patches, there are other issues that you must still address.
System Soft’s comprehensive and consultative security assessments can find and confirm your infrastructure’s security posture. These assessments can help keep your organization resilient to threats, follow regulatory requirements and achieve maximum threat protection. The goal is to ensure your organization has cyber resilience and operational health.
Contact System Soft for a free one-on-one consultation with me or another security expert to review potential security risks and discover the critical next steps to risk mitigation from Apache Log4j security vulnerabilities.
About the Author: Craig Wilson
As an Enterprise Security Architect at System Soft Technologies, Craig is a CISSP-certified tech guru with multiple IT security certifications. Craig’s roles as Director of IT Infrastructure and Security, Cybersecurity Solutions Architect and Enterprise Solutions Architect, along with his expertise on enterprise organization security and governance, authenticates him as a trusted and valuable advisor on security best practices.