On Dec. 9, 2021, word of a new computer bug in a very popular piece of computer code started spreading around the cybersecurity community. By the next day, practically every major software business was in crisis mode, attempting to determine how its products had been impacted and how to patch the hole.

“The log4j vulnerability is the most serious vulnerability I have seen in my decades-long career,” Jen Easterly, security director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said in an interview on CNBC.

So, what’s the big deal about this cryptic piece of software, and should the average computer users start to panic?

It was allegedly discovered in a Minecraft forum, according to some. Others refer to a security researcher at Alibaba, a Chinese tech giant. However, analysts claim that it is the largest software vulnerability ever in terms of the amount of services, sites, and devices affected.

Could this have been prevented with a simple software update?

According to William Malik, vice president at cybersecurity company Trend Micro, “The best thing regular computer users can do is make sure the apps they use are updated to their most recent versions. Developers will be sending out patches over the coming days to fix any log4j issues, and downloading those quickly will be important.”

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