Cyber-crooks are making the first steps towards using advanced malware to target mission-critical corporate ERP applications, such as SAP.
A new variant of the well-known Shiz remote access trojan (RAT) searches infected systems for the existence of SAP applications. Previous versions of the malware were designed simply to compromise Windows PCs with a remotely-accessible backdoor before stealing confidential data such as passwords and cryptographic certificates connected to online banking.
The new variant includes all of these standard remote access trojan capabilities as well as SAP-related features whose immediate purpose is unclear.
"All it does right now is to check which systems have SAP applications installed," according to Alexander Polykov from SAP security specialists ERPScan. "However, this might be the beginning for future attacks."
Dana Tamir, director of enterprise security at Trusteer, an IBM-owned anti-malware firm, said the latest variant of Shiv might be further developed to hook into corporate ERP systems to either steal data or cause disruption.
"SAP provides workstation client software that communicates with SAP application servers," Tamir explains in a blog post. "These clients serve as the entry point to a wide range of the business SAP applications. The configuration files of these SAP client applications contain the IP addresses of the SAP servers they connect to. Once attackers have remote access to the infected PC, they can easily read the configuration files and GUI automation scripts, grab user credentials, and even hook into the application processes."
"SAP applications provide an integrated view of business processes that range from finance and accounting to extended supply chain operations. Large enterprises and global companies rely on these mission-critical applications to provide accurate, up-to-the-minute operations and financial information. Attacks against SAP applications that cause downtime or result in data leakage can put businesses at significant risk," she added.
An SAP spokesman has been in touch to say that the firm's specialists are investigating the Trojan incident, adding that antivirus products had detected this particular sample. The spokesman added that SAP worked closely with both antivirus and ERP security specialists, such as ERPScan, and added that SAP's security standards are "the highest in the industry". ®