Security Experts:

PoC Exploits for Old SAP Configuration Flaws Increase Risk of Attacks

Organizations using SAP business applications have been warned that the risk of attacks involving some old configuration issues has increased after researchers released proof-of-concept (PoC) exploits.

SAP Message Server and SAP Gateway use an access control list (ACL) to specify which IP addresses are allowed to register application servers. If this ACL is not configured properly, any host with network access to the Message Server can register an application server. This allows an attacker with network access to vulnerable systems to take full control, including to create new users and view or modify sensitive business data.

The security weaknesses can impact many SAP products, including NetWeaver Application Server (AS) and S/4HANA.

In 2005, SAP released a security note (8218752) providing instructions on how users can properly set up an ACL for the Message Server. Four years later, the company released another security note (14080813) with instructions on how to properly configure the access list for Gateway. Then, in 2010, it released another note (14210054) reinforcing the importance of properly configuring the Message Server ACL.

However, Onapsis, a company that specializes in securing SAP and Oracle business applications, discovered that many organizations have still failed to properly configure their installations. The company warned last year that most SAP systems were vulnerable to attacks due to these misconfigurations.

Exploits designed to target improperly configured systems were made public for the first time last month by two researchers who had a session on SAP configuration and architecture issues at the OPCDE cybersecurity conference in Dubai. Onapsis believes the risk of attacks has increased significantly following the release of the PoC exploits.

Onapsis has dubbed the exploits 10KBLAZE due to the high risk associated with their exploitation and the fact that organizations hit by attacks would possibly need to disclose their impact to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in their annual 10-K filing.

“Based on publicly available data provided by SAP, Onapsis estimates that approximately 50,000 companies and a collective 1,000,000 systems are currently using SAP NetWeaver and S/4HANA. Onapsis research gathered over ten years calculates that nearly 90% of these systems, approximately 900,000, may suffer from the misconfigurations for which these exploits are now publicly available,” Onapsis said in a report published on Thursday.

The company said the vulnerable components should not be exposed to untrusted networks, but it found many systems connected directly to the internet, making it possible for remote, unauthenticated hackers to launch attacks.

While recent versions of SAP software are configured by default to prevent unauthorized connections, Onapsis has advised organizations to “ensure that this configuration has not drifted into an insecure state.”

Related: SAP Releases 'Hot News' Security Notes on First Patch Day of 2019

Related: SAP Patches Critical Vulnerability in HANA XSA

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.