Microsoft is warning of continuing attempts by nation-state adversaries and commodity attackers to take advantage of security vulnerabilities uncovered in the Log4j open-source logging framework to deploy malware on vulnerable systems.
“Exploitation attempts and testing have remained high during the last weeks of December,” Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) said in revised guidance published earlier this week. “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.”
Publicly disclosed by the Apache Software Foundation on December 10, 2021, the remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in Apache Log4j 2, aka Log4Shell, has emerged as a new attack vector for widespread exploitation by a variety of threat actors.
In the subsequent weeks, four more weaknesses in the utility have come to light — CVE-2021-45046, CVE-2021-45105, CVE-2021-4104, and CVE-2021-44832 — providing opportunistic bad actors with persistent control over the compromised machines and mount an evolving array of attacks ranging from cryptocurrency miners to ransomware.
Even as the mass scanning attempts are showing no signs of letting up, efforts are underway to evade string-matching detections by obfuscating the malicious HTTP requests orchestrated to generate a web request log using Log4j that leverages JNDI to perform a request to the attacker-controlled site.
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