Attacks/Breaches

5/12/2015
11:15 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

First Example Of SAP Breach Surfaces

USIS attack in 2013 stealing background check information about government personnel with classified clearance came by way of an SAP exploit.

After the better part of a decade of warnings that SAP and other enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are wide open to attack at most organizations, this week finally brought confirmation of a high-profile breach that used SAP as its initial attack vector. The attack is a good example of the high-stakes information contained in ERP systems that are ripe for the plucking—in this case the stolen goods were files used for background checks on federal employees and contractors with access to classified intelligence.

Perpetrated back in 2013, this attack against US Investigations Services, a contractor in charge of conducting federal background checks, came to public light last year, but details at that time were sparse. Investigators had mentioned during the initial breaking of the story that they suspected state-sponsored Chinese attackers. But over the weekend Nextgov.com reported that an internal investigation points to evidence that attackers broke into USIS through an exploit in an SAP system managed by a third party.

Alexander Polyakov, CTO and co-founder of ERPScan, hopes that the public attention from this example will drive home to enterprises that the types of SAP vulnerabilities his firm and others like Onapsis have been talking about for years really deserve IT's attention. Over the past several years there have been limited examples of SAP exploitation in the public domain. In 2012 Anonymous claimed to have used an SAP zero-day to attack the Greece finance ministry, but nobody acknowledged that. And an SAP Trojan was reported in the wild in 2013, but there was no confirmation of organizations successfully attacked using it.  Just last week at SAP SAPPHIRE, Onapsis released a report that detailed the most common attack patterns used in attacks against SAP, but again there were no details confirming specific victims.

"There were some investigations like this, in which we've taken part but are not at liberty disclose any details about--it was a real attack via SAP," says Polyakov. "But this one is the first publicly acknowledged attack, and what's more important is that it's on such a critical government entity." 

Polyakov says the progression of SAP attacks will be a precautionary tale for enterprises to pay better attention to researchers' warnings before real examples of attacks start to surface. The attack against USIS played at least a partial role in the company shutting its doors this year.

"As you see when some researchers start flagging security loopholes by publishing information about one or another system's security vulnerability, it's only a matter of time before cyber criminals actually exploit it," he says. "Who will fall victim is anybody's guess."

He recommends that organizations that really want to address SAP security from all angles need to think seriously not just about vulnerability assessment and management, but also custom code security (he reports that 50 percent of enterprises have custom code on top of their SAP framework) as well as separation of duties and event monitoring.

Most importantly, it is critical to understand how SAP systems interconnect with other infrastructure.

"Business applications are highly connected with each other, and as you saw in the example, it's not only the problem of your infrastructure security, it's also a problem of all your external connections and third-party security," Polyakov says. "So what it boils down to is that a system is only as secure as its weakest link."

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
kritesh
50%
50%
kritesh,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/21/2018 | 7:11:37 AM
SAP ERP Blog
Thanks a lot for sharing a blog for SAP in SAP ERP Module. One of the best blog i have read for SAP ERP. With the help of SAP ERP you can easily control hacking issue in your software. With the help of ERP Training Programs you will easily manage and control. 
Veterans Find New Roles in Enterprise Cybersecurity
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  11/12/2018
Understanding Evil Twin AP Attacks and How to Prevent Them
Ryan Orsi, Director of Product Management for Wi-Fi at WatchGuard Technologies,  11/14/2018
7 Free (or Cheap) Ways to Increase Your Cybersecurity Knowledge
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  11/15/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Online Malware and Threats: A Profile of Today's Security Posture
Online Malware and Threats: A Profile of Today's Security Posture
This report offers insight on how security professionals plan to invest in cybersecurity, and how they are prioritizing their resources. Find out what your peers have planned today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-19326
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-17
Zyxel VMG1312-B10D devices before 5.13(AAXA.8)C0 allow ../ Directory Traversal, as demonstrated by reading /etc/passwd.
CVE-2018-19274
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-17
Passing an absolute path to a file_exists check in phpBB before 3.2.4 allows Remote Code Execution through Object Injection by employing Phar deserialization when an attacker has access to the Admin Control Panel with founder permissions.
CVE-2018-19324
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-17
kimsQ Rb 2.3.0 allows XSS via the second input field to the /?r=home&mod=mypage&page=info URI.
CVE-2018-15769
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-16
RSA BSAFE Micro Edition Suite versions prior to 4.0.11 (in 4.0.x series) and versions prior to 4.1.6.2 (in 4.1.x series) contain a key management error issue. A malicious TLS server could potentially cause a Denial Of Service (DoS) on TLS clients during the handshake when a very large prime value is...
CVE-2018-18955
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-16
In the Linux kernel 4.15.x through 4.19.x before 4.19.2, map_write() in kernel/user_namespace.c allows privilege escalation because it mishandles nested user namespaces with more than 5 UID or GID ranges. A user who has CAP_SYS_ADMIN in an affected user namespace can bypass access controls on resour...