Two vulnerabilities patched recently by Oracle in its E-Business Suite solution can be exploited by hackers for various purposes, including to tamper with an organization’s financial records.
Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) is a business management solution used by more than 21,000 organizations around the world. It includes applications for customer relationship management, finances, human resources, supply chain management, contracts, procurement, and planning.
Researchers at Onapsis, a company that specializes in protecting business-critical applications, last year discovered several vulnerabilities in Oracle EBS. Some of the flaws were patched by the vendor in April 2019, but two of them, which Onapsis has dubbed “BigDebIT,” were only fixed with the critical patch update (CPU) released by Oracle in January 2020.
The cybersecurity company estimates that there are at least 1,500 Oracle EBS deployments that are exposed to the internet, making them more susceptible to attacks exploiting the BigDebIT flaws if the patches released by the vendor are not installed.
An attacker who has successfully exploited these security holes, tracked as CVE-2020-2586 and CVE-2020-2587, can take control of the EBS environment, but Onapsis has highlighted an exploitation scenario targeting the General Ledger application in EBS.
General Ledger is a popular financial management tool designed to help organizations keep track of transactions and ensure compliance. It’s highly important that the reports generated by the application are accurate.
According to Onapsis, a remote and unauthenticated hacker could exploit the BigDebIT vulnerabilities to alter financial reports in an effort to conceal a theft or to cause compliance-related problems for the targeted company. Worryingly, the attack can bypass many security solutions and the attackers can hide their tracks.
“Once a financial reporting period is closed, financial data should not change. If an attacker modifies General Ledger reports between the period closure and the audit, it will cause critical damage to the company and its compliance process,” Onapsis explained in a report.
“Altered balances, depending on size and significance, may cause an alert during the audit period through common controls such as account reconciliations or variance reviews, and depending on the complexity of the changes, it could be really difficult (or even impossible) to identify and explain why financial balances do not match system data given that there is no record of the change that was made.
“The level of effort required by internal resources, external resources (specialists and/or external auditors, etc.) in terms of labor hours and fees will be significant. Despite an organization’s best efforts this still may not uncover additional useful information indicating that this change was made by exploiting the General Ledger with these Oracle EBS vulnerabilities and not an actual business or accounting transaction,” the company added.