If you find things a little squirrely with the internet as you begin your week, it may relate to a “zero-day” exploit called “Log4Shell” that has sent security experts scrambling.
The vulnerability is a critical security flaw in an open-source logging software called “Log4j,” which is used by countless companies and data centers around the world. The difficult part is that when analysts attempt to plug holes created by Log4Shell, others seem to pop up as a result.
“The internet’s on fire right now,” Adam Meyers, senior vice president of intelligence at the cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, told The Associated Press. “People are scrambling to patch,” he said, “and all kinds of people scrambling to exploit it.”
Why it’s such a threat
Log4Shell appears to be a major threat to internet companies. Reports have already circulated that iCloud, Amazon’s cloud service AWS, and Minecraft were targeted by hackers who used the vulnerability.
Hackers who use Log4Shell are reportedly able to run code inside of server systems and remotely take full control. Making the situation far more dangerous is the fact that this hack doesn’t require any interaction from the victim. Hackers can simply worm their way, gain access, and do their damage.
“This is far worse than if individual devices were vulnerable, and I think it's an open question at this point exactly what kind of data attackers are probably pulling from Apple's services as we speak,” Thomas Reed, Malwarebytes director of Mac offerings, told Ars Technica.
“I’d be hard-pressed to think of a company that’s not at risk,” Joe Sullivan, a Cloudflare security officer, told the AP. He said that untold millions of servers might have the utility installed.