Log4j could be the most serious security threat ever seen, CISA head warns

Representational image of data security
(Image credit: Kingston)

Jen Easterly, the director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has warned the recently-revealed Log4j vulnerability was “one of the most serious” she’s seen in her entire career, “if not the most serious”.

“We expect the vulnerability to be widely exploited by sophisticated actors and we have limited time to take necessary steps in order to reduce the likelihood of damage,” Easterly explained. 

Adding to the conversation was Jay Gazlay, of CISA’s vulnerability office, who said that “hundreds of millions of” endpoints were likely to be affected by the flaw.

Log4j threat

CISA is part of the US Department of Homeland Security, and is currently building a website for all affected parties to educate themselve, but also to “counter active disinformation”. 

To ensure organizations are safe from this flaw, a “sustained effort” will be needed, Gazlay added:  “There’s no single action that fixes this issue,” he added, before saying that this is not a problem that’s going to disappear in a fortnight. 

Besides patching up as soon as possible, companies should make sure all hands are on deck over the holidays. 

Numerous exploits

Earlier this month, a new zero-day vulnerability in the popular Java logging framework Log4j was discovered with huge destructive potential. It’s tracked as CVE-2021-44228, and allows malicious actors to run virtually any code. The skills required to take advantage of the flaw are very low, experts have warned, urging everyone to patch Log4j as fast as they can.

The flaw is being compared to the 2017 issue which led to the Equifax hack, leading to the personal data of almost 150 million people being exposed.

Organizations using Log4j in their software should upgrade it to the latest 2.15 version immediately which is available from Maven Central.

So far, experts have discovered multiple use cases for the vulnerability: to install malware, cryptominers, to add the devices to the Mirai and Muhstik botnets, to drop Cobalt Strike beacons, to scan for information disclosure, or for lateral movement throughout the affected network.

It’s yet to be used in a supply chain attack, though. 

You might also want to check out our list of the best firewalls today

Via: Cyberscoop

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.