Layer Seven Security

Prevent and Detect Ransomware Attacks with SAP Solution Manager

Ransomware attacks accounted for one third of malware-based cyber attacks in the first quarter of 2020. Successful attacks encrypt and block access to files in compromised systems. Decryption keys for recovery of the files are typically only released after ransom demands are paid, usually in the form of untraceable cryptocurrencies. The impact of ransomware includes not only ransoms but also recovery costs. The cost of the ransomware attack experienced by Demant in 2019 is estimated at $95M. Costs at Norsk Hydro are expected to reach $70M.

Based on an analysis of telemetry records, there are several early indicators of ransomware operations performed by threat actors. Attackers often use legitimate administrative tools to prepare ransomware attacks. This includes network scanners to identify vulnerable targets and software removal tools to disable antivirus software. Threat actors also often install tools for credential theft on compromised systems.

Ransomware is usually packaged in zip files distributed through emails, trojans, and infected web sites. The ransomware WastedLocker, for example, is often disguised as zip files for legitimate software updates. WastedLocker infected digital infrastructure at Garmin in July, leading to a $10M ransom. Ransomware payloads can also be delivered through compromised SAP systems. Attackers can target remote code execution vulnerabilities in SAP GUI for client-side attacks. Ransomware can be installed directly in SAP servers using external operating system commands. OS commands performed by SAP users are executed by the operating system user <SID>ADM. The user has full administrative privileges for local SAP resources.

The wget command can be used to download ransomware from remote hosts to a target directory in the SAP host. Ransomware payloads can also be loaded directly in servers using transactions CG3Z or CACS_FILE_COPY. Once loaded, the payloads can be extracted and then executed using bash commands in Linux systems. This method for delivering, installing and executing ransomware will encrypt files in folders accessible by the <SID>ADM user and crash SAP applications and services. It may also impact other files and services in the host if the ransomware successfully elevates privileges.

Such exploits can be mitigated or detected in several ways. Access to perform OS commands should be restricted. This includes authorization object S_LOG_COM, transactions SM49 and SM69, program RSBDCOS0, and function modules such as SXPG_COMMAND_EXECUTE. Successful execution of the transactions, programs and function modules should also be monitored, as well as OS commands and changes to custom commands. Refer to SAP Note 1612730 for enabling detailed logging for external commands.

The Cybersecurity Extension for SAP Solution Manager performs automated scans to detect users with OS command privileges. It also monitors SAP logs to alert for the execution of OS commands, new custom commands, and changes to existing commands. The extension also detects and alerts for the execution of transactions SM49, SM69, CG3Z and CACS_FILE_COPY, program RSBDCOS0, and relevant function modules. Alerts are automatically forwarded to SIEM systems with event details. To learn more, contact Layer Seven Security

RECON: Secure Your Systems with SAP Solution Manager

US-CERT issued Alert AA20-195A on Monday for the so-called RECON (Remotely Exploitable Code On NetWeaver) vulnerability in SAP NetWeaver Application Server Java (AS Java). RECON impacts versions 7.3 and higher of AS Java including an estimated 40,000 SAP systems. Based on a BinaryEdge search, 4,000 of the impacted systems are internet-facing. The vulnerability is rated 10/10 using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System and can be exploited remotely by unauthenticated attackers to fully compromise SAP systems.

RECON targets a missing authentication flaw in the LM Configuration Wizard of AS Java to execute malicious code that creates administrative users in compromised systems. Attackers can exploit RECON to compromise not only AS Java systems but also connected systems including SAP ERP, CRM, SCM, and BW.

CISA strongly recommends SAP customers to apply SAP Note 2934135 to mitigate RECON. The note introduces authentication and authorization for the LM Configuration Wizard and therefore secures against RECON attacks. As a workaround, the application tc~lm~ctc~cul~startup_app can be disabled if the note cannot be applied. The LM Configuration Wizard is required by SAP Landscape Management. According to SAP, “This application is used by a few SAP Lifecycle procedures only, such as the initial technical setup. It is not needed for a day-to-day operations. You can temporarily activate or enable this application for executing the SAP lifecycle procedures.” Procedures for disabling the LM Configuration Wizard are detailed in SAP Note 2939665.

The implementation status of Notes 2934135 and 2939665 for impacted systems should be tracked using System Recommendations (SysRec) in SAP Solution Manager. SysRec connects directly to SAP Support to discover relevant notes for SAP applications, databases and components.

Users can create custom tiles in SysRec to track the implementation status of RECON notes in their SAP landscape from the Fiori launchpad.

The Cybersecurity Extension for SAP Solution Manager monitors Java application logs to detect the signature of RECON exploits. This includes enabling and executing the vulnerable application. The Extension also detects the creation of new administrative users and connections by new users or source IP addresses using anomaly detection. RECON alerts can be investigated using the incident response procedures Preventing RECON Attacks and Investigating Suspected RECON Attacks.

Email and SMS notifications are triggered for RECON alerts. The alerts can also be monitored in Solution Manager using the Alert Inbox, System Monitoring, and other applications. They can also be integrated with SIEM solutions for cross-platform monitoring. Custom alarms can be added to the Fiori launchpad to notify users of suspected RECON exploits.

Anomaly Detection with SAP Solution Manager

Threat detection is commonly performed through rules or signature-based pattern matching. Detection engines compare actual events with patterns of malicious events to discover indicators of compromise (IOCs).  IOCs discovered by detection engines typically trigger an alarm or alert for a suspected security breach.

Pattern matching is a tried and tested method to identify known exploits in systems including SAP applications. However, there are several drawbacks with the approach. Attackers can obfuscate their actions to bypass attack detection patterns. Also, since pattern matching detects IOCs based on known signatures, new or emerging IOCs that have not yet been registered are not detected.

Anomaly-based threat detection provides an alternative to pattern matching with greater protection against anti-forensics and the capability to detect previously unknown attacks. Anomaly-based systems rely on profiles of expected or normal user and system behavior.  Actions by users or events in systems that deviate from the profiles generate an alarm or alert.   

Unlike rules and signatures for patten matching, profiles for anomaly detection cannot be created and maintained manually. Anomaly detection is usually applied through machine learning platforms that automate profile building and analysis for large pools of data.  

The Monitoring and Alerting Infrastructure (MAI) in SAP Solution Manager uses a pattern matching approach for threat detection in SAP systems. IOCs detected by the Event Calculation Engine in Solution Manger using pattern matching are displayed and managed in applications such as Security Forensics, System Monitoring, and the Alert Inbox. For anomaly detection, event logs collected, filtered, and normalized by Solution Manager are forwarded to the Predictive Analysis Library (PAL) in SAP HANA.

PAL includes functions for applying complex analytic algorithms using SQLScript database procedures. The functions include procedures for clustering, regression, time series, and other algorithms that are used to detect outliers in security logs. Anomalies discovered by PAL are transmitted back from SAP HANA to SAP Solution Manager for analysis using the Anomaly Detection application in the Cybersecurity Extension for SAP. The application is accessed from the Fiori launchpad in SAP Solution Manager.

Anomaly results are summarized by period. Results can be analyzed by the week, day or hour.

Results are filtered using Advanced Search. This supports filtering by anomaly, date, time, system, user, and source IP/ terminal. Results can also be filtered by anomaly type to view anomalies based on either event data or alert data. Event anomalies include outliers such as high volume of transaction starts, report starts, or data downloads, or a user request from a new IP address or terminal. Alert anomalies include areas such as high volume of alerts for a specific system, user or source, or a new alert for a user or system.

Anomalies calculated using standard deviation are scored based on distances from statistical averages. The further the distance from the mean, the higher the confidence level for the anomaly. The results displayed in Anomaly Detection are prefiltered for medium and high confidence anomalies. Anomaly-based threat detection can have a higher incidence of false positives than pattern-based detection. It can generate alarms for every deviation from expected norms. Therefore, an effective scoring mechanism is essential to enable security administrators to identify and focus on high-confidence anomalies.

Results can be sorted and exported to CSV/ PDF with the applied filters. The layout can be personalized by users to add, remove, and rearrange columns.

The details for each anomaly can be viewed by clicking on an anomaly in the summary. Anomaly times are in UTC. Timestamps for events are based on system time.

The Notify option can be used to append the anomaly details to an email for sharing.

SAP Solution Manager enables advanced threat detection for SAP systems by combining the benefits of both signature and pattern-based detection with anomaly detection using SAP HANA. Licensing for SAP HANA is included with the usage rights for SAP Solution Manager 7.2.

SAP Discloses Critical Vulnerabilities in ASE Databases

SAP customers are urged to apply a series of recent patches released by SAP for the Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE).  SAP ASE, previously known as Sybase SQL Server and Sybase ASE, is a widely deployed database platform used for both SAP and non-SAP applications. According to SAP, ASE is used by over 30,000 customers worldwide, including 90 percent of the top 50 banks.

Four of the patches released by SAP are for critical or high-risk vulnerabilities in multiple components of ASE. The vulnerabilities impact ASE versions 15.7 and 16.0 and carry CVSS scores ranging between 7.2 and 9.1.

Note 2917275 patches the most severe of the vulnerabilities by applying input validation for DUMP and LOAD commands that could be exploited to overwrite critical configuration files during database backup operations. Attackers can run DUMP commands to overwrite database configuration files with corrupted versions that will replace the default configuration. This can be exploited to install backdoors to ASE using credentials stored in the corrupted configuration files. It can also be exploited to execute arbitrary commands and executables using local system privileges by modifying the sybmultbuf_binary Backup Server setting.

Note 2917090 impacts Windows installations of the SAP ASE 16. Credentials for SQL Anywhere packaged in ASE can be read by any Windows user. SQL Anywhere supports database creation and version management. The credentials can be used to perform code execution with local privileges.

Notes 2916927 and 2917273 deal with high-risk SQL injection vulnerabilities in global temporary tables and ASE Web Services. Both vulnerabilities can be exploited to escalate privileges in ASE.

Database security notes including patches for ASE should be regularly monitored and applied using System Recommendations in SAP Solution Manager. Solution Manager connects directly to SAP Support for patch updates and monitor the patch status of SAP applications and databases. SAP Solution Manager also supports comprehensive vulnerability management for SAP ASE. Automated, daily security scans for ASE should be configured using Solution Manager to check for vulnerabilities related to the database configuration, administrative privileges, stored procedures, and other areas. The ASE audit log can be monitored by the Monitoring and Alerting Infrastructure (MAI) in Solution Manager to detect and alert for suspected malicious commands. To learn more, contact Layer Seven Security.

SAP Discloses Security Gaps in Cloud Solutions

SAP issued a statement last week to disclose security lapses in several cloud products including SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Analytics Cloud, SuccessFactors, and Concur. According to the statement, the disclosure was prompted by an internal security review. SAP does not believe customer data has been compromised as a result of the issues. The lapses impact 9% of the company’s 440,000 customers.

The announcement is expected to dampen customer support for digital transformation initiatives intended to shift the hosting of SAP applications from on-premise data centers to cloud providers.

SAP also announced that the organization is updating security-related terms and conditions for its cloud solutions.  In response to concerns that such changes may be intended to reduce SAP’s legal risk for security issues and shift more responsibility for security to customers, SAP declared that the terms and conditions will “remain in line with market peers”.

Furthermore, SAP denied any link between the announcement and security breaches attributed to the Cloud Hopper hacking campaign. Cloud Hopper successfully exfiltrated sensitive data from multiple organizations by penetrating HPE’s cloud computing service. The campaign is suspected to be sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

Securing the SAProuter from Remote Attacks

The surge in remote working has led to an increasing reliance on the SAProuter as a means to facilitate secure remote access to SAP applications. As a reverse proxy between external networks and SAP landscapes, the SAProuter enables organizations to apply more granular policies for filtering and securing connections to SAP systems than network firewalls. However, far from improving security, an improperly configured SAProuter can expose organizations to dangerous exploits that could lead to the compromise of SAP servers.

Since the SAProuter is an internet-facing proxy that provides a direct path to SAP systems, it is an accessible and high-value target for attackers. Port scans against exposed IP addresses will reveal SAProuters available on the standard port 3299. Attackers can send information requests to detected SAProuters to enumerate the scheme for internal IP addresses based on the details of connected hosts disclosed in the response. Once the internal IP address scheme is determined, attackers can then scan the internal network by sending connection requests from the SAProuter to connected hosts. The responses can enable attackers to discover open ports for not only SAP services but services such as HTTP, SMTP, FTP, and SSH if the SAProuter supports native connections.

The information can be used to connect to open and vulnerable services in SAP servers by pivoting through the SAProuter. Once connected, attackers can execute targeted exploits against the servers. For example, an unauthenticated SOAP request to the SAP Host Agent on port 1128 can disclose operating system users that can be targeted using brute force and other attacks. Attackers can also route malicious payloads to SAP servers through the SAProuter.

The secure configuration of the SAProuter can prevent or mitigate such attacks. The route permission table defined in the saprouttab file should specify the source hosts permitted to connect to specific services and target hosts. The use of wildcards in route strings should be avoided. Native connections should be blocked using S entries for the saprouttab rather than P entries. KT and KP entries are recommended to enforce SNC for connections. Information disclosure via the SAProuter should be prevented using the option -Z for info requests. Switching to a non-standard port for the SAProuter is advisable. SAProuter binaries should be updated to the latest available version to apply patches for program vulnerabilities. This includes critical vulnerabilities addressed by notes 1820666 and 1663732. Finally, the SAProuter should be installed in a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on a host with a hardened operating system. SAP recommends a C2 class compliant operating system.

Logging for the SAProuter should be enabled using option -G. Once enabled, the SAProuter log can be monitored using SAP Solution Manager to alert for suspected attacks against including accepted or rejected information requests, connection requests, port scans, and native connections.

Dramatic Growth in Cyber Attacks Increases Enterprise Risk

Cyber attacks have risen by six-times the usual levels over the past four weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic provides a new catalyst for attackers. Hacking and phishing attempts increased by an unprecedented 37% in a single month between February and March.

Remote working has led to an equally dramatic rise in the number of servers using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services. The number of devices exposing RDP to the internet on standard ports grew by 41.5% in March. The number of devices exposing RDP to the internet on non-standard but often used alternate ports grew by 36.8%. The number of servers running VPN protocols increased by 33% from 7.5M to 10M over the same period.

RDP has several known security weaknesses and should not be publicly accessible without network gateways, firewalls, and two or multi-factor authentication. Recent ransomware attacks have demonstrated how RDP can be used by attackers as an effective entry point to corporate networks. RDP is the most dominant attack vector for ransomware attacks and is used in over 60% of ransomware campaigns. Compromised servers provide anonymity for attackers which impedes the detection of malicious activity. Furthermore, RDP vulnerabilities such as Bluekeep (CVE-2019-0708) are wormable and therefore can enable attackers to propagate to connected hosts.

VPNs are vulnerable to both client and server side vulnerabilities. The National Security Agency (NSA) issued an advisory in October for vulnerabilities in several VPN products that were actively targeted by state-sponsored and other threat actors. The products include Pulse Secure, Palo Alto GlobalProtect, and Fortinet Fortigate. The vulnerabilities could be exploited to perform remote code execution and intercept or hijack encrypted sessions. VPN-related vulnerabilities were identified as the root cause of the devastating cyber attack suffered by Travelex in January.

The increase in cyber attacks and remote working underscores the need to secure enterprise systems including business-critical SAP applications and infrastructure. The Cybersecurity Extension for SAP Solution Manager performs automated vulnerability scans to support effective hardening of SAP systems. It also continuously monitors SAP event logs to alert for indicators of compromise. Contact Layer Seven Security to learn how to leverage your Solution Manager installations to secure SAP systems from cyber attack.

Security Forensics with SAP Solution Manager

Security Forensics in SAP Solution Manager supports centralized log monitoring for SAP landscapes. The Fiori application from Layer Seven Security enables users to analyze incidents across multiple logs and systems directly from Solution Manager, helping organizations to detect and respond to security breaches. It also protects against anti-forensics.  Since event logs are replicated to a central log, attackers can not remove all traces of their actions to avoid detection.

Security Forensics is accessed from the Fiori launchpad for SAP Solution Manager.

The application currently supports the Security Audit Log, Gateway Server log, HTTP log, Transaction log, Read Access Log, System Log, User Change logs, and the HANA Audit log. Support for the Java Security Log and SAProuter log is scheduled for Q3 2020.

Advanced Search supports complex queries based on system, log source, date, time, user, source terminal/ IP address, and event ID.

Log Source:

Source terminal/ IP address:

Date/Time:

The query below filters log events to isolate actions performed by the SAP* user. The query results reveal that the SAP* user was locked due to failed logon attempts in system AS2 at 10:30:00 on 23.03.2020.

The results can be exported to a csv file to support offline analysis and collaboration. Event details can also be appended directly to an email by selecting the Notify option from the drilldown.

Personalized alarms for events can be configured using the Save As Tile option for filter selections.

Alarms are displayed as custom tiles in the launchpad. Below we have added an alarm for log events related to the SAP* user in production systems. The tile will automatically update to display the number of matching records. Users can click on the alarm to view the details of the events.

Security Forensics is available for SAP Solution Manager 7.2 SP07 or higher. The application is available for both HANA and conventional database platforms.  For the latter, customizing options are provided to activate log monitoring for only specific managed systems and adjust the log retention period.

Webinar Playback: SIEM Integration for SAP

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems support centralized security monitoring across networks. They ingest and analyze data from hosts, routers, switches, firewalls and other components to identify and respond to security threats.

SIEM systems can ingest data directly from SAP application logs. However, direct integration is complex and laborious. It also requires high maintenance and may substantially increase costs if SIEM licensing is tied to log size or events per second.

This challenge can be overcome by integrating SAP logs with SIEM systems using SAP Solution Manager, a management server in SAP landscapes. Solution Manager filters, structures and enriches security event data in SAP logs to support fast, seamless integration with SIEM systems.

This webinar recording discusses the challenges of direct ingestion of SAP logs and the benefits of integration using Solution Manager. It also provides recommendations for configuring audit settings and policies for the following data sources in SAP:

Security Audit Log
System Log
ICM Log
Business Transaction Analysis
Gateway Log
Change Documents
Read Access Log
Java Security Log
HANA Audit Log
SAProuter Log

The webinar is a digest of the whitepaper SIEM Integration for SAP.

You can download the whitepaper here.

Whitepaper: SIEM Integration for SAP

Download the new whitepaper for SAP-SIEM integration from Layer Seven Security. The whitepaper outlines recommended settings for the Security Audit Log, HANA audit log, and other logs to support advanced threat detection. It discusses the challenges of direct integration of SAP logs with SIEM systems in terms of complexity, log volume, maintenance, and event correlation.

The whitepaper advocates SIEM integration using SAP Solution Manager based on benefits such as lower complexity, rapid deployment, reduced costs, ease of maintenance, and the enrichment of event data to support cross-platform correlation.

The SIEM Integrator for SAP is a software add-on for SAP Solution Manager that delivers automated threat detection for SAP systems. The add-on supports integration with SIEM platforms including Splunk, QRadar, ArcSight, LogRhythm and SolarWinds. The Integrator includes 300+ attack detection patterns for SAP platforms and logs.