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.

Visualize Security Risks for SAP Systems with Threat Maps

Threat Maps in SAP Solution Manager visualize security vulnerabilities, missing patches and open alerts for SAP systems across geolocations. They provide a fast and intuitive way to display and interact with security information for SAP landscapes that span multiple cities, countries, or regions.

System data is maintained in the Landscape Management Database (LMDB) of SAP Solution Manager. The LMDB stores information related to technical systems, hosts, databases and domains in SAP landscapes. This includes installed software components and versions, database types and releases, clients, instances, RFC destinations and OS details for SAP systems.

Attributes for systems are maintained directly in the LMDB. Systems can be assigned to business units using the Description attribute. The environment and priority level for systems are maintained using the attributes IT Admin Role and Priority.  The coordinates for business units in terms of longitude and latitude are maintained in the Location attribute, separated by a comma.

The system attributes maintained in the LMDB integrate directly with the Threat Map, accessible from the Fiori launchpad in Solution Manager.

Users can switch between results for vulnerabilities, patches and alerts using the toolbar at the top of the application.

The size and opacity of geocircles is driven by quantitative and qualitative factors including volume, rating, environment and system priority.

Results are summarized for each business unit. However, users can drilldown to detailed results by clicking on the geocircles.

Map filters support filtering based on system, environment and priority.

Results can also be filtered by period to display results from the current day to the prior year.

The Threat Map can be customized to focus on specific countries or regions. Navigation tools support zoom in and out. The map also supports click and drag for navigation.

Map filters and positions can be saved to the Fiori launchpad as custom tiles.

The Threat Map is bundled in the Cybersecurity Extension for SAP Solution Manager available from Layer Seven Security.

Automating SAP Audits with Solution Manager

According to IDC, 80% of ERP applications are audited at least once every 12 months. Driven by regulatory requirements, audits can drain valuable resources from projects targeted at business growth. They can also lead to audit fatigue and undermine relationships between IT and audit stakeholders.

Compliance Reporting in SAP Solution Manager enables organizations to automate audits for SAP systems and reallocate resources to projects and audits focused on other organizational goals. The continuous monitoring powered by the application also enables auditors to identify compliance gaps immediately rather than at the end of a reporting period. This can reduce regulatory risk by providing owners with more time to remediate control gaps.

Compliance Reporting is accessed from the Fiori launchpad in SAP Solution Manager. Results are automatically updated by daily scheduled scans.

Compliance frameworks and systems are selected in the report filter. There are optional filters to select specific control requirements and systems based on environment or priority. Reports can also be filtered to include or exclude controls based on risk rating and compliance result.  

Compliance Reporting currently supports the frameworks below. This includes CIS, IT-SOX, NIST and PCI-DSS. Support for additional frameworks including GDPR and NERC CIP is expected at the end of Q2 2020. Customers can import custom frameworks to automate auditing for internal security policies and other requirements.

Results for applications and databases are reported in separate columns. The report provides an overall compliance score based on the selected framework and systems. Results are summarized for each requirement.

Users can drilldown into each requirement to review the results for specific controls. Control ratings and descriptions are included in the report to support analysis.

Reports can be exported to CSV or PDF. The Report Detail option specifies whether results are exported at the Requirement, Control or Description level.

Layer Seven Security Recognized as Top 25 Cyber Security Company

Layer Seven Security has been selected by a panel of experts and members of the CIO Applications editorial board for inclusion in the Top 25 Cyber Security Companies for 2020. The annual list is compiled by CIO Applications to recognize and promote organizations that provide cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions. CIO Applications is a Silicon Valley industry publication based in San Francisco, California. The recognition is based on an evaluation of Layer Seven Security’s innovative Cybersecurity Extension for SAP Solution Manager. The Extension is an add-on for the Solution Manager platform, delivering automated vulnerability management, threat detection and incident response for business-critical SAP systems. Read the full article at CIO Applications.

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.

Prevent Configuration Drift with SAP Solution Manager

Maintaining system security in dynamic SAP environments is a constant challenge. New users are added every day. Permissions for existing users are constantly updated to keep up with changing requirements. Software updates, transports and other changes introduce new components or developments and often necessitate changes to system settings. With each change, even hardened systems can become less secure and more vulnerable to intrusion.  

To some extent, the risk of configuration drift can be managed through regular vulnerability scanning. However, scan results only identify the consequences of changes, not the root cause. Periodic audits of system and user changes can also help to address the risk. Audits can uncover compliance gaps against change management protocols, but are limited in scope since they are usually performed manually.

Change Analysis in SAP Solution Manager provides an automated response to the risk of configuration drift in SAP systems. The application tracks changes in systems including ABAP, HANA, Java parameters, database and operating system settings, user privileges, notes, software updates, and transport requests. The tool maintains a history of changes performed in each system for two years.

Change Analysis is accessed from the Root Cause Analysis work center in the Fiori launchpad for SAP Solution Manager.

Scope selection supports filtering of changes by system, type or environment.

Results can be filtered further to focus on changes within a specific time frame.

The filtered results are summarized in the dashboard below.

The dashboard supports drilldown from summarized results by system and category into detailed changes. In the example below, the results reveal that the value of parameter gw/accept_timeout was modified in system AS2 at 3.00PM on February 11, 2020.

In another example, the results reveal that the profile SAP_ALL was assigned to the user ATTACKER9 on the same day in the identical system.

Notifications for changes to critical areas can be configured using the monitoring and alerting framework within Solution Manager. The notification below is an alert for changes to RFC destinations. Email and SMS notifications for changes are also supported. Alerts can be integrated with SIEM systems or incident management systems for automated ticketing.

Change Reporting can be used to compare the configuration of different systems.

It can also be used to compare the configuration of the same system using different timestamps. In the example below, we are comparing the configuration of system ECP on February 6 with January 22 to identify changes that occurred in the system during the interval.

The comparison tool is useful for identifying not only changes that may lead to configuration drift within systems but also differences between settings in production environments and other environments such as quality or development. The comparison results are displayed in the Result Details and can be exported for analysis. According to the results below, the SAP_UI component was upgraded in ECP from version 751 to 753 during the interval.

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.