With cybersecurity threats becoming increasingly common and sophisticated over the years, you may be using software vulnerable to CVE 2021 44228 without ever realising it. Most people usually give little thought to installing security updates and patches on their computers and other devices. After all, installation of these security updates might take a while.
In this post, we will discuss what CVE 2021 44228 is all about, including its impact and possible solutions. Companies can proactively protect their systems from cyber threats by understanding this vulnerability and its potential impact.
What is CVE 2021 44228?
The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) 2021 44228 is a critical vulnerability first discovered in September 2021 in the Apache Struts 2 open-source framework. The vulnerability affects particular software applications and allows cyber attackers to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.
It is usually triggered when an attacker sends a specially crafted request to a targeted system, allowing them to take control of the entire system. A remote attacker can exploit this vulnerability without user interaction or authentication. The Apache Software Foundation released a security patch for the vulnerability. It is recommended that all affected systems and users apply the update immediately to mitigate the risk of exploitation.
Background of CVE-2021-44228
CVE 2021 44228 is a critical vulnerability in Apache Log4j, a popular Java-based logging software. Developers usually use logging frameworks like Log4j to generate log messages from their software. These log messages are then used for auditing, analysis, and debugging.
Apache Log4j has been used in various mobile, web, and enterprise software applications. Log4j is used in over half of the Java-based web apps and many other types of software.
The vulnerability in Log4j was discovered early in December 2021 and made public on December 9, 2021. The vulnerability is considered critical since it allows remote code execution. This implies that attackers can exploit code on a targeted system without authorisation or authentication.
A fault causes this remote code execution vulnerability in how the Log4j library processes certain log message parameters. It often occurs when the library processes log messages containing specifically crafted data like a maliciously crafted HTTP header. This usually allows an attacker to add and execute any code on the target system.
The vulnerability impacts all versions of Log4j from 2.0 to 2.14.1, except for versions 2.15.0 and above, which have a patch to address the vulnerability.
Steps on How to Detect the CVE-2021-44228 Vulnerability
1. Determine if your Company is Using the Apache CVE-2021-44228 Library
Check if any software or systems in your company use the Apache logging services projects. You can either look for references to Log4j in the source code or check the presence of the Log4j library in the application’s dependencies.
2. Check the Log4j Version
If Log4j is being used in your company, confirm which version is currently used. The Log4j vulnerability usually affects versions previous to 2.15.0.
3. Check for Vulnerable Configurations
The CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability can be triggered by certain non-default configurations of the library, such as when the library is configured to use JNDI lookups with user-provided data. Check whether your company’s Log4j configurations have any vulnerabilities.
4. Scan for the CVE-2021-44228 Vulnerability
Some vulnerability tools, free and paid, can detect the CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability, including open-source tools like Log4Shell and commercial vulnerability scanners. With these tools, you can identify the vulnerability in your company’s systems and applications.
5. Patch or Mitigate the Vulnerability
If your company still uses a vulnerable Apache Log4j version, you should mitigate or patch the vulnerability as soon as possible. If you cannot upgrade to Log4j 2.16.0, you should at least use the recommended mitigations.
What Are the Consequences of CVE-2021-44228 Vulnerability?
1. System Compromise
Attackers can acquire unauthorised access to the vulnerable system and potentially exploit other systems in the network.
2. Data Theft
An attacker with system access can infiltrate sensitive financial, personal, or intellectual data.
3. Malware Installation
Attackers can use the CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability to install malware on the affected system, further compromising it and allowing them continuing access.
4. Server Hijacking
Attackers might exploit this vulnerability to gain control of the server and use it in their attacks, for instance, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
5. Reputational Damage
If a company is subject to the CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability and suffers a data breach or other security incident, its reputation and customers may lose their trust.
6. Financial Loss
A security incident exploiting the CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability can result in significant financial losses. They include the cost of remediating the issue, legal fees, and possibly regulatory fines.
CVE 2021 44228 Best Practices for Securing Systems
Organisations can reduce their cyber exposure to CVE-2021-44228 and other cyber risks by implementing preventative measures. Companies can follow these best practices to protect themselves against this vulnerability effectively.
1. Update Apache Struts 2
As mentioned earlier, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) released a patch for CVE-2021-44228, and all users of Apache Struts 2 are urged to update their systems to the latest version immediately. This will ensure the security vulnerability is mitigated.
2. Implement Firewalls
Web firewall applications can help prevent attackers’ intrusion and filter out untrusted data. Companies should ensure that they have the proper configuration of firewalls in place to protect their networks against intrusion.
3. Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software can detect exploitation attempts from a system. Companies should ensure their system has the most up-to-date anti-virus software and is configured to regularly scan the network for vulnerabilities.
4. Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are a common entry point for attackers. Companies should encourage their users to use strong passwords and, if possible, use multi-factor authentication.
5. Conduct Regular Security Audits
Assess your security measures regularly to protect your systems from CVE-2021-44228 or similar vulnerabilities. Companies should do security audits often and address any vulnerabilities that are identified.
6. Educate Users
Users need to be taught proper security practices since they are typically a system’s weakest link. Companies should therefore educate their workers on cyber security best practices and help them become more alert to the potential threats they face regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions on CVE-2021-44228 Vulnerability
1. What’s the cause of the CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability?
The CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability comes from an oversight in how some configurations of the Apache HTTP Server handle incoming requests. This vulnerability occurs when the “mod proxy” and “mod rewrite” modules are active in the server’s configuration.
2. How Do I Protect My Server from this Vulnerability?
Updating to the most recent version of Apache HTTP Server will protect your server against this vulnerability. If an update is unavailable, disable the vulnerable modules— “mod rewrite” and “mod proxy” instead.
3. Has the CVE-2021-44228 vulnerability been patched?
Yes, the Apache Software Foundation has released a patch for this vulnerability. Users using an older version of the Apache HTTP Server need to upgrade as soon as possible.
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