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Log4j Vulnerability: Should Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Be Worried?
Ever since the now-infamous Log4j vulnerability was exposed, millions of devices and systems worldwide stand the risk of severe cyber attacks. This critical vulnerability was discovered on December 9th, 2021. It was duly acknowledged to be a high-priority critical exploit that can put a lot of businesses at a security risk. While patches were quickly deployed, there have already been thousands of cyber attacks attempting to take advantage of this vulnerability.
Gaining awareness and taking timely action is necessary to protect your systems and ensure your business does not suffer any loss from these hacking attempts. Here is our brief guide on the Log4j vulnerability, how it may affect your business and the necessary precautions small and medium-sized businesses can take.
What Is The Log4J Vulnerability?
Log4j 2 is a relatively simple logging library. It is a Java library that is a part of the Apache application used by many businesses and corporate systems worldwide, including the Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMWare, and more.
Essentially, it keeps a record of all events and errors related to the system operations. It can also pass on diagnostic messages among admins and users and execute commands to get more logging information. This way, it also indirectly allows users to communicate with internal directory services. This straightforward implementation of Log4j carries a severe design flaw. And the ubiquitous nature of its use further magnifies its impact. It enables hackers to run remote code and gain access to any service using the Log4j library.
Due to this bug, with Log4j, a malicious user can execute any code on the target computer. They can remotely control the computer, launch ransomware, steal confidential data, and more. The Log4j exploit opens the door for many opportunities to access unauthorized data and perform malicious operations on a target system. The worst part about this vulnerability is that it is pretty easy to exploit.
How Does Log4j Vulnerability Affect SMBs?
The Log4j vulnerability affects all systems that make use of the Log4j library. It is used in a wide range of applications and tools. And this gives attackers a huge range of potential targets to exploit. While big companies and corporates can easily patch up their systems, many SMBs lack either the awareness, or technical knowledge, or time and financial recourse (or all of the above) to keep up with the patching in a timely manner. This leaves them open to this vulnerability. SMBs are also at higher risk as they have limited security tools and systems to counter any cyber attack.
Is My Business Affected by Log4j?
To find if your business is under threat of a possible Log4j account, look at the systems and services your businesses uses. Among those are ever popular Atlassian, Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Cisco, Commvault, ESRI, Exact, Fortinet, JetBrains, Nelson, Nutanix, OpenMRS, Oracle, Red Hat, Splunk, Soft, and VMware. If your business relies on one of more of them, we recommend paying a close attention to the latest patch releases form the software providers.
The good news is that both Apple and Windows computers are no longer susceptible to the threat.
What Should You Do To Protect Yourself From the Log4j Attacks?
Well, now that you are aware of the impact of this serious issue, you should waste no time and strengthen your security with the right action plan. You can also follow the several step-by-step guides given by service providers like Microsoft and Amazon to identify the Log4j vulnerability instances and take remedial action.
- Start with a complete security audit. Scan all the types of JAR (stands for Java ARchive) files used by your system to check the Log4j usage across your systems.
- Establish a regular cadence for assessments to see if your systems are under any active threat or hacking attempt. There are many free assessment tools available in the market that you can make use of. Alert your security team regarding any alerts related to all the internet-facing devices your business makes use of. Alternatively, a managed service provider (MSP) can proactively monitor your systems 24/7 and augment your defenses with EDR and other advanced cybersecurity tools.
- Apply the patches starting with the Log4j instances currently loaded into the memory. Giving priority to these instances allows you to protect the most critical exploits first. You need to craft a patching plan that will thus identify the prioritized items and apply the patches accordingly.
- Employ the use of internet firewalls and limit unnecessary internet traffic.
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