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Log4j: about the crisis


Log4j (short for Log for Java) is a popular open-source logging framework for Java applications. It provides a flexible and efficient way to log messages in various log levels, helping developers debug and monitor their applications effectively. Log4j has been widely used in many Java-based projects and frameworks for years.

In December 2021, a critical vulnerability was discovered in Apache Log4j, specifically in versions 2.0 through 2.15. This vulnerability, known as CVE-2021-44228 or Log4Shell, allowed remote code execution, which means attackers could execute arbitrary code on systems running affected versions of Log4j. This was a severe security issue because Log4j is extensively used across a wide range of applications, including web servers, enterprise software, and more.

The Log4Shell vulnerability was particularly dangerous because it could be triggered by sending a crafted log message with a malicious payload to a vulnerable Log4j server. This could lead to remote command execution and potential compromise of the affected system.

The discovery of the Log4Shell vulnerability sparked a global crisis as organizations scrambled to patch their systems and protect themselves from potential attacks. The widespread use of Log4j meant that many applications and infrastructure components were vulnerable, requiring immediate attention from developers and system administrators.

In response to the crisis, Apache Log4j quickly released a security update, version 2.16.0, which addressed the Log4Shell vulnerability. Organizations were strongly advised to update their Log4j libraries to the patched version and take other necessary precautions to secure their systems.

The Log4j vulnerability, known as CVE-2021-44228 or Log4Shell, was discovered by a security researcher named Steven Seeley from the security company SensePost. He reported the vulnerability to the Apache Software Foundation, the organization behind Log4j, in early December 2021. Upon receiving the report, the Apache Log4j team acknowledged the severity of the issue and promptly released a security update to address the vulnerability.

The Dutch organization NCSC says in their Podcast called “Enter” that the vulnerability in Log4j was found by a security reseacher at Alibaba China. NCSC stands for National Cyber Security Centre, and it is the central organization in the Netherlands responsible for cybersecurity. The NCSC is an initiative of the Dutch government and operates under the authority of the Ministry of Justice and Security. Its primary role is to ensure the security and resilience of the Dutch government, critical infrastructure, and society against cyber threats.

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