Log4Shell’s Hits Belgian Military

A cyberattack targeted the Belgian defense ministry’s computer network in mid December 2021. The hack exploited a Log4j flaw known as Log4Shell, confirming the fears of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and other organizations worldwide.

Although the ministry was quick to quarantine the affected parts of the system, it still had to halt business as usual for a few days.

So far, no individual or organization has taken responsibility for the attack.

Log4Shell: The Menace

Why are all the big organizations shaking at the mere thought of Log4Shell?

It leaves hackers an open route into a vast number of servers and, consequently, organizations from small enterprises to military institutions.

“Log4j allows third-party servers to submit software code that can perform all kinds of actions on the targeted computer. This opens the door for nefarious activities such as stealing sensitive information, taking control of the targeted system, and slipping malicious content to other users communicating with the affected server,” explains computer engineering expert Santiago Torres-Arias.

To compound the issue, Log4j is virtually everywhere where Apache servers are used. For instance, some of the best and most popular cloud storage services (like iCloud) use it, leaving millions of people vulnerable to cyberthreats.

The first reported exploits were fairly innocuous, targeting Minecraft servers. However, Log4Shell makes it relatively easy for hackers to turn servers into botnets, scaling the potential for mayhem significantly.

“To be clear, this vulnerability poses a severe risk. We will only minimize potential impacts through collaborative efforts between government and the private sector. We urge all organizations to join us in this essential effort and take action,” beseeched CISA director Jen Easterly earlier this month.

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Melisa is a puzzle-loving editor who finds joy in the whimsicality of human nature. She likes to keep up with what's going on in the world and dissect it to her heart's content—or until she gets a headache, whichever comes first.

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