Microsoft Updates Log4j Directive

The Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence Team and the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) has issued a new update to the December 11th guidance for preventing, detecting and hunting for exploitation of the Log4j vulnerability. While the entire document is worth reading, here’s the key message:

The Log4j vulnerabilities represent a complex and high-risk situation for companies across the globe. This open-source component is widely used across many suppliers’ software and services. By nature of Log4j being a component, the vulnerabilities affect not only applications that use vulnerable libraries, but also any services that use these applications, so customers may not readily know how widespread the issue is in their environment. Customers are encouraged to utilize scripts and scanning tools to assess their risk and impact. Microsoft has observed attackers using many of the same inventory techniques to locate targets. Sophisticated adversaries (like nation-state actors) and commodity attackers alike have been observed taking advantage of these vulnerabilities. There is high potential for the expanded use of the vulnerabilities.

Exploitation attempts and testing have remained high during the last weeks of December. 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. Microsoft recommends customers to do additional review of devices where vulnerable installations are discovered.  At this juncture, customers should assume broad availability of exploit code and scanning capabilities to be a real and present danger to their environments. Due to the many software and services that are impacted and given the pace of updates, this is expected to have a long tail for remediation, requiring ongoing, sustainable vigilance.

Saryu Nayyar, CEO and Founder, Gurucul had this comment:

 “The Log4j vulnerability continues to be one of the largest and most serious security problems in recent years that attackers continue to exploit despite its disclosure. The challenge is the widespread use of this open-source library and the difficulty in detecting its execution when it can be so deeply embedded down the software stack. Relying on traditional indicators of compromise or pattern matching is insufficient. Analyzing and controlling access to specific applications based on identity along with detection of anomalous behaviors to unearth this somewhat hidden vulnerability can more rapidly provide security teams with identification and prioritization of response actions.”

Given that this vulnerability is being actively exploited, it’s incumbent to make every effort to protect your infrastructure from this threat. Otherwise it is a safe bet that a bad actor will make you the next headline.

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