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Scope Of SAP Bugs Still Plagues Enterprises
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User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 2:49:55 AM
Key Takeaway
To commit your enterprise to a monolithic, commercial program is to commit to its vulnerabilities.  The key takeaway from the SAP story is that security and long-term maintenance capacity through intelligent configuration management should guide the infrastructure plan for your company.  Do you really want to write downtime into your infrastructure as a revenue killer if you already know that will prevent the easy installation of vital security patches?  Architecture must be informed by the security prospects of the applications that comprise it and the ease with which patches and updates can be applied.  DevOps through an agile lens might aid in better application choices when seen from this perspective.

What's interesting about SAP is the manner of security risks it has presented over the years.  Because SAP is designed to connect to numerous external systems, integration and centralization of information under this beast is on one hand an enterprise dream come true, and on another a cyber criminal's dream realized, too.  Through exploitation of the RFC library, ubiquitous in SAP, hackers enjoyed access to logon information, called function names, parameters information and content, tables information and content, client and server information, and more (Blackhat Europe 2007).

Tools like sapyto, a framework for SAP penetration tests, shipped with plugins for take advantage of these RFC vulnerabilities.  With access to SAP, criminals had access to EVERYTHING.  Security as part of an architecture requirement means more than identifying firewall and patch needs.  It informs the designer to NOT let the enterprise system exist such that criminals CAN take the entire enterprise because of a monolithic application's weaknesses.  We need to design better than that.
Robert McDougal
Robert McDougal,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 12:44:49 PM
Re: Key Takeaway
The main issue here is that SAP was conceived in a time before the importance of secure coding was universally accepted.  Specifically, SAP ERP first debuted in 1973.  Even thought there was an architecture change in 2004, if the SAP programmers are like the programmers I have run across they didn't completely change the flow of the program, they simply used the same information flow for the new platform.  By doing so, they brought along with them any of the vulnerabilites present in the existing software.

If someone came to market today with and ERP system with all the SAP bells and whistles written from the ground up with security in mind, they could make a major push.
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2014 | 1:24:35 PM
Re: Key Takeaway
@Robert McDougal

Good point.  In fact, while I'm not a huge fan of every new language that's out there, I will say that the new language affords an opportunity to re-architect and ideally code securely.  I actually had high hopes for OpenERP, but we'll see how it does as Odoo...

I think you just hit on a market challenge there, Robert!  Takers?

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