Layer Seven Security

Security in SAP HANA

SAP HANA is now deployed by over 7,500 organizations worldwide. While this represents only a fraction of the 300,000 companies that use SAP software globally, adoption is growing rapidly, doubling in 2015 alone. As expected, the introduction of SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (S/4HANA) has accelerated this growth by widening the use-case for SAP HANA from analytics to transactional processing for core business processes.

While the performance and administrative benefits of SAP HANA are clear-cut, the benefits for security are more questionable. Unlike conventional persistent databases, HANA does not provide any native capability for label-based access control, data discovery and classification, data redaction and masking, or database firewalls. HANA also presents an architectural challenge for security engineers since some implementation scenarios integrate application and database layers that are traditionally hosted in separate physical or virtual servers.

SAP has addressed some of these concerns in later releases of HANA. SPS 12 includes features to isolate databases in multi-tenant environments to prevent cross-database attacks. It also includes more advanced logging capabilities to support multiple log formats and fine-grained audit policies. This is discussed in the newly updated whitepaper Security in SAP HANA, available in the resources section. The whitepaper provides a framework for securing HANA systems including network security, authentication and authorization, encryption for data in transit and at rest, and OS-level security for SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLES) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

HANA vulnerabilities such as potential misconfigurations in database parameters or users with special privileges should be monitored using SAP Solution Manager (SolMan). In common with other SAP systems, HANA is connected to and monitored by SolMan. Security-relevant data is extracted by agents from HANA and transmitted to SolMan for analysis. SolMan analyzes the data using rulesets to identify potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers. The results are accessible through BW or BI including Lumira and Crystal Reports.

Rulesets benchmarked against best practices and SAP recommendations can be licensed from Layer Seven Security and imported directly into your Solution Manager platforms. To learn more, contact us.

US-CERT Issues Alert for SAP Invoker Servlet Vulnerability

US-CERT published an alert yesterday to warn SAP customers of the dangers posed by the invoker servlet vulnerability in AS Java systems. According to the alert, there is evidence to suggest that SAP systems at 36 organizations have been exploited by the vulnerability. The organizations are based in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, India, Japan, and South Korea, and operate in industries that include oil & gas, telecommunications, utilities, retail, automotive and the pubic sector.

The invoker servlet vulnerability arises when servlets can be called directly either by servlet name or by fully-qualified class name. This can be exploited to bypass authentication and authorization rules defined in the web.xml files of Java applications. In the cases referenced by the US-CERT alert, attackers appeared to have exploited the invoker servlet to call a Java component that enabled them to execute OS commands and create user accounts in SAP systems.

The vulnerability was patched by SAP in 2010. SAP also modified the default configuration of AS Java to disable the invoker servlet in versions 7.20 and later. Corrections were provided in Notes 1445998 and 1467771. The evidence of the active exploitation of the invoker servlet vulnerability five years after the underlying flaw was patched by SAP demonstrates that the greatest risk posed to SAP systems is the exploit of known weaknesses rather than so-called zero-day vulnerabilities.

The invoker servlet should be disabled at a global level by setting the EnableInvokerServletGlobally key to false. The key is located in the global properties of each J2EE instance. You can follow the three steps below to discover systems in your landscape vulnerable to the exploit using SAP Solution Manager.

1. Create a target system in Configuration Validation to check the value of the key for all systems using the servlet_jsp store. See below.

Invoker Servlet 2

2. Edit the target system by removing all parameters in the servlet_jsp store except EnableInvokerServletGlobally. Set the value for the key to true and maintain the weight/ info. See below.

Invoker Servlet 4

Invoker Servlet 5

3. Run the weighted validation report for all Java systems and review the results of systems with the EnableInvokerServletGlobally set to true. See below.

Invoker Servlet 6

The invoker servlet vulnerability is one of the 500+ checks performed by security rulesets provided by Layer Seven for ABAP, Java, HANA, and database systems. The rulesets can be imported into your Solution Manager systems in seconds to perform daily automated scans for vulnerabilities in SAP systems. To learn more, contact Layer Seven Security.

How to Visualize Cyber Security Risks in Your Systems with SAP Lumira

SAP Lumira can be used to access, visualize and explore data of any size from virtually any source. It enables users to build and share powerful interactive data visualizations using a simple user-friendly interface. Since Lumira can acquire data and enable users to create customized reports through self-service, it removes the need for programming, scripting and any other form of development.

This article demonstrates how you can use Lumira to visualize security vulnerabilities in your SAP systems and overcome limitations with standard Business Warehouse (BW) reports. The demonstration is based on the Standard Edition of Lumira, available at the SAP Store. This edition will operate with minimal hardware requirements from any system with a Windows 7 or higher operating system.

After Lumira is installed, you will need to add the BW data connector using the Extension Manager since the data source is underlying BW reports in Solution Manager (SolMan). The reports store the results of automated security reviews performed by SolMan. The next step is to set the connection to the BW server in SolMan under Network in the Preferences section. This includes the server URL, hostname, instance and user credentials required for the connection.

Once the connection is established, you can define the variables including reference systems, comparison systems, stores, items and fields. This covers the security policies setup in SolMan, the systems that are mapped for monitoring, and the containers that store the results of the security reviews. We recommend creating a separate Lumira report for each security policy based on different system types (ABAP, Java, HANA, etc.).

You can begin building your visualization and exploring security vulnerabilities as soon as the data is acquired by Lumira. In the report below, we have created charts and tables that convey security vulnerabilities discovered using SolMan by area, system and risk level.

Cyber Security Monitoring using SAP Lumira 1

The results can be filtered by any of these elements. The tables provide details of each finding including the objectives of every check, recommendations to remove vulnerabilities, links to relevant SAP Security Notes, and information available at the SAP Help Portal. The reports can be exported to PDF, CSV or Excel.  They can also be shared via URLs with users or groups defined in Lumira.

Cyber Security Monitoring using SAP Lumira 2

Cyber Security Monitoring using SAP Lumira 3

SAP Lumira can be used to visualize not only security vulnerabilities discovered by Solution Manager but also unapplied Security Notes in SAP systems. See below.

Monitoring Cyber Security Vulnerabilities using SAP Lumira 4

Monitoring Cyber Security Vulnerabilities using SAP Lumira 5

To learn more or to discuss how we can assist your organization leverage the full capabilities of SAP Lumira for dynamic, cost-effective and real-time security monitoring, contact Layer Seven Security.

Survey Reveals 65 percent of SAP Platforms Were Breached Between 2014-15

Earlier this week, the Ponemon Institute released the results of the most comprehensive study performed to date on the state of SAP cybersecurity. The Institute is widely known for the annual Cost of Data Breach report that trends average data breach costs across major countries. However, it also performs a variety of other studies related to privacy, data protection and information security. It’s latest study Uncovering the Risks of SAP Cyber Breaches reviews the challenges and perceptions associated with securing SAP platforms. The study surveyed over 600 IT and security professionals between December 2015 – January 2016.

The key findings of the study include:

65% of SAP platforms suffered one or more security breach over the prior 24 months. 32% experienced between 1-2 breaches. 16% were breached 3-4 times and 12% between 5-6 times

75% of respondents believe it is likely their SAP platforms have one or more malware infection

The impact of an SAP breach is serious to catastrophic in 92% of organizations

The average cost of a breach that interrupts the availability of SAP systems is $4.5M

47% of respondents expect the volume of cyber attacks against SAP systems to increase over the next 24 months. 42% expect no change. Only 11% expect a decrease

75% express low levels of confidence in their company’s ability to immediately detect an SAP breach. 65% believe they would not be able to detect a breach within one week and 59% doubt they would be able to detect a breach within a month

59% expect trends such as the cloud, mobile, big data and IoT to increase the attack surface and the probability of a breach in SAP systems

The ability to assess and audit compliance levels of SAP systems against security policies and standards is considered important by 78% of respondents

81% believe it is important to continuously monitor the security of SAP platforms

54% of respondents supported the statement that it is the responsibility of SAP, not their organizations, to safeguard the security of SAP software. The reality is that the responsibility is shared. SAP is responsible for ensuring the integrity and security of software code. To this end, SAP works diligently to detect and remove programming errors before and after the release of applications. However, the responsibility for implementing patches for programming and other errors lays exclusively with the customer.

SAP is also accountable for providing guidance to securely configure its systems and counteract known vulnerabilities and attack vectors. Recommendations for dealing with RFC exploits, password attacks, standard users, vulnerable Java and ICF services, and numerous other areas can be found in online SAP security guides, as well as SAP advisories and papers such as the Secure Configuration of SAP NetWeaver Application Server using ABAP and Securing Remote Function Calls.

Finally, SAP is responsible for providing customers with the tools to secure their infrastructure. This includes tools for identifying and applying security patches, performing continuous and automated audits for vulnerabilities that may be exploited to breach systems, and supporting real-time threat detection and response. SAP’s product portfolio includes tools to meet all of these needs. Patch management can be performed using System Recommendations. Vulnerability management for over 500 vulnerabilities impacting ABAP, Java and HANA systems can be accomplished using Configuration Validation. Customers can leverage these tools within their Solution Manager platforms without resorting to third party software solutions. For real-time threat management, customers can deploy Enterprise Threat Detection. Alternatively, they can integrate their SIEM platforms directly with SAP systems using adaptors or indirectly using agents.

Cybersecurity Targets in China’s New Five Year Plan

The details of China’s latest five year plan covering the period between 2016-2020 are expected to be released next month but early indications suggest it will focus upon reducing China’s reliance on foreign technology. Intelligence agencies and security researchers contend there is a strong correlation between industries targeted for growth by China and industries that suffer data breaches as a result of targeted attacks. For example, China’s last five year plan covering 2010-2015 focused upon sectors such as energy, healthcare and manufacturing. Over the same period, companies within these sectors experienced large-scale breaches that bore the hallmark of state-sponsored attacks. This includes organizations such as Anthem, US Steel, Medtronic and Westinghouse.

Since the new five year plan will launch during a period of unprecedented low growth in China, it is expected to lead to even more aggressive economic espionage in the form of cyber attacks against sectors targeted by China. This is likely to accelerate the shift from cyber attacks performed by criminal gangs for financial motives to state-sponsored cyber espionage driven by the strategic objectives of nation states.

According to the recently released Global Threat Report from CrowdStrike, the industry most at risk from China’s attention is energy. The new five year plan is expected to include objectives for building more nuclear power facilities, clean energy technology, and reducing China’s dependence on foreign oil. Next in line is transportation as China seeks to expand its airline and high speed rail industries, and domestic car production, including support for electric and hybrid transportation. Third is the public sector. China is expected to increases efforts to target foreign governments and think tanks in order to further its national interests. Fourth is the defense industry, particularly weapon systems, military personnel information, logistics, and technology related to aircraft carriers and drones. Fifth is the technology sector including the semiconductor industry, software source code, and social media applications that China is looking to replace with domestic versions. Other industries that are expected to feature heavily in the plan are healthcare, telecommunications, finance, manufacturing, media and agriculture. The Global Threat Report is available at

Managing Security with SAP Solution Manager

SAP Solution Manager is the second most widely deployed SAP product after ECC. In other words, there are more installations of SolMan in the world than there are for products such as BI, PI, CRM and SRM. This isn’t surprising when you take into account that SolMan is for IT what ECC is for business: it drives the entire system lifecycle including design, deployment and maintenance. It provides a centralized platform for monitoring system operations, managing changes, provisioning users, and a score of other core IT services. Yet, despite it’s versatility and widespread deployment, most organizations fall short of leveraging the full potential of SolMan. This is especially the case for system security.

Other than central user administration, earlywatch alerts, and system recommendations, most SAP customers are in the dark when it comes to other tools in SolMan that could be used to further security. This includes tools to manage and secure custom code (Clone Finder, Coverage Analyzer), identify security risks (SOS), and validate compliance using customer-specific security policies (Configuration Validation). The SAP paper Managing Security with SAP Solution Manager is intended to bridge this gap by informing customers how to realize the potential of SolMan for security. According to SAP, SolMan’s deep connectivity into systems, it’s central position in each landscape, and its link to the SAP extranet provides the ideal platform for defining, implementing and sustaining secure system landscapes. The paper can be downloaded directly from SAP using this link.

What’s New in the SAP Cybersecurity Framework 3.0

Released earlier this month, the third version of the SAP Cybersecurity Framework includes important changes in the areas of transport layer security, logging and monitoring, and vulnerability management. It also discusses the most significant hack against SAP systems to date: the devastating data breach suffered by U.S Investigation Services (USIS). USIS performed background checks on prospective federal employees for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and other government agencies before it’s contracts were severed after the announcement of the breach in 2015.

The breach is estimated to have impacted the personal information of up to 20 million individuals. According to the findings of an internal forensic investigation, attackers were able to breach systems at USIS by exploiting an undisclosed vulnerability in a connected SAP ERP system sometime in 2013. The attack went unnoticed by intrusion detection and other network-level monitoring devices.  The specific vulnerability exploited by the attackers has been the subject of widespread speculation by security researchers. Some have argued that the breach was caused by a brute-force password attack. Others have pointed towards RFC exploits or unapplied security patches. The source of the breach could have been any one of these or a combination of other vulnerabilities. The wide attack surface presented by SAP systems makes it impossible to pinpoint the root cause without access to the log data. Regardless, the breach demonstrated the destruction that can be wrought by successful attacks against vulnerable SAP systems. The contracts lost by USIS as a direct result of the attack were valued at $3 billion. The organization laid off 2500 workers and filed for bankruptcy shortly after the public announcement of the breach.

For transport layer security, the framework has been updated in line with RFC 7568 issued by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for deprecating Secure Sockets Layer Version 3 (SSL v3). SSL was the standard protocol for securing Web-based communication between clients and servers. Support for SSL has been gradually waning as a result of the growing awareness of weaknesses in its encryption scheme and key exchange mechanism. The POODLE vulnerability proved to be the final straw since it could be exploited to break encrypted SSL sessions and access sensitive data passed within such sessions including cookies, passwords and tokens.

The new version of the Framework includes an improved section on Read Access Logging (RAL). RAL should be configured to log access and changes by unauthorized users for sensitive data fields in SAP systems. This includes fields for banking, credit card and salary data. Exclusion lists can be maintained to rule out logging for authorized users. Together with the updated framework, you can also refer to an earlier Layer Seven article on protecting sensitive data in SAP systems using RAL for more information.

Lastly, much of the technical jargon related to Configuration Validation (ConVal) in earlier versions has been removed to focus on the core use-case for ConVal. ConVal is a powerful vulnerability management framework included in SAP Solution Manager that is recommended by SAP for managing vulnerabilities in SAP systems.

Since licensing for Solution Manager is included in SAP support and maintenance agreements, ConVal provides the most cost-effective alternative to third party tools.

You can download version 3 of the SAP Cybersecurity Framework in the whitepaper Protecting SAP Systems from Cyber attack from the Resources section.

Season’s Greetings

seasons-greetings 2

As we near the end of the year, we would like to express our gratitude to the customers, partners and supporters that have contributed to another record year at Layer Seven Security. We look forward to relentlessly serving your cybersecurity needs in 2016 by securing your SAP assets and enabling you to maximize the value of your SAP licensing. Look out for our new white paper to discover how to integrate and monitor SAP log data with SIEM solutions and SAP ETD for real-time threat detection. Look out also for our new cloud-based Solution Manager as a Managed Service powered by SAP HANA.

We wish you a great 2016.

Layer Seven Security

Get Ready for SAP Solution Manager 7.2: What to Expect

SAP Solution Manager 7.2

It’s well known that licenses for SAP Solution Manager are included in SAP maintenance and support agreements. However, with the release of version 7.2 next year, SAP will take this a step further by providing free licenses for SAP HANA for use with SolMan 7.2. Customer’s will still have to pay for hardware costs but HW costs have been falling and there is the option for cloud services to avoid hardware costs altogether.

Other improvements in SolMan 7.2 include a streamlined architecture requiring fewer integrations and system resources and delivering faster processing times. Depending upon the implementation scenario, customers will be able to lower SolMan running costs by up to 70 percent.

SolMan will also provide a vastly improved UI based on the Fiori Lauchpad and support access through Apple, Android and Windows mobile devices. Click on the images below to enlarge.

SAP Solution Manager 7.2

SAP Solution Manager 7.2

SAP Solution Manager 7.2

SolMan 7.2 will provide full support for HANA, S/4HANA, Cloud and Hybrid solutions, enabling customers to manage and monitor all SAP on-premise and cloud systems.

For security monitoring, we can expect improved reporting capabilities based on UI5 that do not require embedded BI or Flash, tighter integration between the SolMan frontend and BW Query Designer to support highly customizable reports, upgraded dashboards and alerts, and the ability to not only discover missing Security Notes for systems using SysRec but also identify the business processes impacted by the planned implementation of Notes. The latter will rely on solution documentation maintained directly in SolMan and a much improved Business Process Change Analyzer application that will integrate with Test Management to enable customers to develop, execute and review the results of test cases for planned changes.

SAP Solution Manager 7.2

SAP Solution Manager 7.2

SAP will remove maintenance for the current version of Solution Manager at the close 2017. Customers will have around 18 months to upgrade their Solution Manager platforms. The advanced performance and analytical capabilities offered by SAP HANA together with the major enhancements in Solution Manager 7.2 suggest that most customers will opt for early adoption. This will strengthen SolMan’s position as the premier solution for monitoring the security of SAP systems, providing the lowest total cost of ownership, unlimited flexibility and scalability, and unrivalled performance.

Are your System Users Vulnerable to SAP Hacks?

One of the most telling statistics revealed at BlackHat USA earlier this year was the fact that 84 percent of InfoSec professionals regard unmanaged privileged credentials as the biggest cyber security vulnerability within their organizations. For SAP environments, the dangers posed by abusing user accounts with privileged access are well-known and can include shutting down SAP servers to interrupt the availability of services, reading or modifying sensitive information, and performing unauthorized changes to system configurations, programs, users, and other areas. For this reason, privileged access is carefully granted and vigilantly monitored in most systems, especially productive systems.  This includes privileges assigned through powerful authorization profiles such as SAP_ALL, SAP_NEW, S_ABAP_ALL and S_A.SYSTEM.

However, countermeasures to prevent abuses of privileged credentials in SAP systems are usually focused upon dialog users since interactive logon is not possible with most other user types. This includes system users that are used for background processing. Therefore, it’s common to find system users with privileged access in productive systems, especially when such users support several cross-system connections and integration scenarios.

The risks posed by system users with privileged credentials should not be overlooked and can be as grave as those posed by dialog users. Attackers are able to modify user types from system to dialog in several ways. The most common method is through the Function Builder used to build, test and manage function modules.

Attackers can access the Function Builder through transaction SE37 in a connecting system to execute the BAPI_USER_CHANGE remote-enabled function module (RFM). This RFM can be used to implement user changes in destination systems. The changes are applied using a privileged system user in the destination system. The credentials for such users are often stored in RFC destinations configured in connecting systems. The relevant RFC destination is entered in the field RFC target sys of the Function Builder (see below). The username of the system user configured for the RFC connection is entered in the USERNAME import parameter. Finally, the values of the LOGONDATA and LOGONDATAX are maintained to specify the dialog user type.


Once executed from the connecting system, BAPI_USER_CHANGE will change the system user to a dialog user type in the destination system through a remote function call. This will enable the attacker to logon to the destination system through methods such as the Remote Logon option in the RFC destination maintained in the connecting system (see below).

SAP RFC Destination - Remote Logon

Since attackers can bypass the restrictions placed on system users by abusing the privileged credentials provided to such users, it stands to reason that super user privileges should be managed for all user types, not just dialog users. This should include minimizing privileges for technical system and communication users to the minimum required for each scenario. Trace tools such as STAUTHTRACE, STRFCTRACE and STUSOBTRACE can be used to identify the authorization objects required for each user. This should be supported by enabling switchable authorization checks for sensitive function modules such as BAPI_USER_CHANGE, BAPI_USER_CREATE1 and BAPI_USER_PROFILES_ASSIGN, and, in NetWeaver releases 7.4X, enabling Unified Connectivity (UCON) to restrict external access to remote-enabled function modules.

RFC destinations with stored logon credentials can be identified using the config store RFCDES_TYPE_3 in Configuration Validation (ConVal). RFC users with critical profiles such as SAP_ALL can be identified using the store RFCDES_TYPE_3_CHECK. See below.

SAP Configuration Validation RFCDES_TYPE_3

SAP Configuration Validation RFCDES_TYPE_3_CHECK