Ransomware has lately been the primary method of monetization for threat actors. Still, research has revealed a slight decrease in ransomware attacks and ransomware payments this past year, suggesting cybercriminals are evolving their strategies.
Threat actors have been leveraging more discreet techniques to make a profit by directly targeting an enterprise’s crown jewels—enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. We’ve already seen threat groups entering business applications and staying undetected for months while quietly siphoning millions of dollars.
As enterprises accelerate their digital transformation projects, protecting their business-critical applications from threats directly targeting them should be of utmost importance. But while many organizations are prioritizing ERP application security, others are instead focusing on and investing heavily in traditional cybersecurity tools that only address more common threats, like ransomware.
As ERP attacks increase this year, more organizations must ensure their security strategy takes these applications into account to keep their sensitive data and files. But first, it’s crucial that they understand what risks are threatening their ERP applications.
There are numerous security risks that can leave business-critical applications vulnerable to cybercriminals. Here are three common business application security risks organizations should keep an eye out for this year and specific remediations for each:
Increased exposure in the cloud
As organizations ramp up their digital transformation efforts and transition between on-premises and cloud instances, they’re also increasingly bringing in web-facing applications. Applications that used to be kept behind enterprise “walls” in the days of on-premises-only environments are now fully exposed online, and cybercriminals have taken advantage. Given the myriad sensitive information kept within these applications, enterprises must ensure internet-facing vulnerabilities have the highest priority.
While zero-day vulnerabilities are common entry points for threat actors, they also tend to pay close attention to patch release dates, as they know many enterprises fall behind in patching their vulnerabilities.
Many patch management processes fail because security teams use manual methods to install security fixes, which takes up a significant portion of their already-limited time. As the number of patches piles up, it can be difficult to determine which patches must be applied first and which can be left for later. For instance, a vulnerability within an ERP application would be deemed far more critical than a vulnerability within an endpoint and should be patched first.
To improve their patch management process and ensure no critical vulnerabilities are left unpatched, security teams should leverage modern vulnerability management tools that can give them end-to-end visibility into their ERP and business application landscape, including those located in the cloud, on-premise, or hybrid environments. They should also ensure their platform can keep an ongoing record of all their assets, discover previously unknown flaws, and provide them with critical insights about their business-critical application landscape.
Insecure custom code
Custom code is an essential component of any business-critical application, as it can match an organization’s current business processes and map its capabilities. Although crucial to the business, many code statements contain significant vulnerabilities and are prone to security flaws. Unfortunately, many security teams also leverage manual code reviews to scan their code statements. This process is highly labor-intensive, error-prone, and typically fails to identify even a small portion of the critical flaws that can compromise the security and compliance of business applications.
To identify and fix security bugs in business-critical application custom code, security teams should replace their manual procedures with automated tools, and ensure they have support and deep coverage for the business application-specific languages that they use. Automation significantly reduces the time it takes to review code, as it can scan and examine millions of lines of code in just a few minutes, identify any flaws, and reduce their risk.
Staying secure in 2023
While the security landscape will always remain uncertain, one thing will remain true this year: cybercriminals will do whatever it takes to attack ERP applications. By knowing the risks that can impact their critical assets and proactively applying the necessary mitigations, enterprises can stay one step ahead of the attackers.