There’s so much public discussion about digital security and privacy these days. In 2022, the number of mobile phone users worldwide is 7.2 billion, over 90% of the population. Anyone using a cell phone can be targeted by hackers or fall victim to identity theft. While digital security concerns can impact most people, few understand the nature of specific vulnerabilities.
Examining a major cybersecurity threat can shed light on how hackers access unauthorized material and demonstrate the importance of how your personal and sensitive data may be exposed online.
The Canada Revenue Agency recently reported it was susceptible to the Log4j security vulnerability, known as Log4Shell. It was not alone, 44% of global corporate networks were reportedly affected. Estimates of 10 million attempts per hour in the U.S. alone were made to exploit it after being discovered in December 2021.
The CRA outlined the problem in a series of statements and was offline for several days while it took precautionary measures to mitigate the risk to Canadians. While the agency claims no system or user information was compromised, it was a major disruption for those who use the site for a variety of tax and income benefit programs.
CyberNews noted, “Log4j is incorporated in widely used Apache-related frameworks, which means the spread of vulnerability might be like something never seen before.” In addition to government sites—like the CRAs—Amazon, Android OS, Apple, Google Documents, LinkedIn, Netflix, Steam, Twitter, Uber, and millions of other firms were exposed due to the software bug.
Log4J is known as a Zero Day exploit, a term that applies to vulnerabilities that are compromised by malicious threat actors before the software developer discovers the error. Despite multiple fixes implemented to the Java-based library for the open-source logging utility, the threat lingers. Cybersecurity experts worry that many were unaware of the danger and didn’t act fast enough to mitigate the risk.
If IT teams didn’t patch the defect promptly it would be able to grant easy access to internal networks where those with mal-intent could mine data, launch malware attacks, manipulate information, etc. Hackers who were able to find loopholes may be waiting for opportunities to attack or sell access to the compromised sites on the dark web for future exploitation.
The vulnerability was rated 10 out of 10 by the non-profit Apache Software Foundation, which administers the software’s development. “Anyone with the exploit can obtain full access to an unpatched computer that uses the software. Experts said the extreme ease with which the vulnerability lets an attacker access a web server–no password required–is what makes it so dangerous.”
Log4j is present in almost all Java-based products and web services, from webcams to car navigation systems and medical devices. The repercussions from something like a ransomware attack or any number of other threats would be enormous.
While no major attacks have been detected, experts said there probably would be eventually. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt is a strong motivator in a digital society. For Log4j, an urgent alarm was raised within the IT community for valid reasons. The FUD factor was not exaggerated and was, in fact, necessary to achieve the prompt response required to avert a potential disaster online.
Illusion of Security
Vulnerabilities exist in many free apps that are popular today. Unlike this recently discovered one, that the world has scrambled to fix, there are issues you should be aware of before you trust your privacy to an encrypted cell phone communication app like Telegram.
While these types of free services may offer end-to-end encryption or promote their service as being encrypted on their cloud, if the messages you send are stored on its servers, they are still vulnerable to being hacked. Many encrypted devices are sold using free services, like Signal, despite a list of vulnerabilities.
Businesses, governments, and individuals need the confidence of knowing their encrypted cell phone is built for security from the ground up.
Even if free messaging services offer ample levels of encryption, vulnerabilities may still exist in the company’s business model that undermine the level of security they offer. For example, WhatsApp has been known to share users’ personal information with Facebook (Meta) and third-party marketers.
Similarly, WhatsApp has accidentally permitted unauthorized access to user information after storing sensitive data insecurely. A company can offer the strongest level of encryption available, but it’s all for nothing if they also compromise data privacy as a routine part of their business practices or because they don’t have strong security protocols in place.
Security Above All
Myntex prioritizes security and privacy. Where other companies market personal data leveraged from their customers to third parties, Myntex secure communications ensures users’ private information remains confidential.
From the proprietary design that ensures servers don’t store confidential information like notes, emails, or encrypted messages, people can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their information won’t get into the wrong hands. Keeping totally secure is also straightforward for anybody, even if they aren’t especially tech-savvy.