back to article SAP point-of-sale systems were totally hackable with $25 kit

Point-of-Sale systems from SAP had a vulnerability that allowed them to be hacked using a $25 Raspberry Pi or similar device, according to research unveiled at the Hack in the Box conference in Singapore last week. Critical vulnerabilities in SAP's POS – since resolved – created a means for hackers not only to steal customers …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Failures like this seem common and widespread. What shocks me, now, is not that all these systems are full of holes, but that banking, the financial industry, still allows these transactions to take place over the Internet.

    Sadly, I'm sure most of these code issues could be avoided from the start with better planning, code review and paying programmers who know what they're doing the amount they should be paid.

    Then, of course, there's the issue with chip makers building in trap doors, so not just a code issue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      most of these code issues could be avoided from the start with better planning, code review and paying programmers

      The bigger code houses work in two ways - offshore new or maintenance coding to anywhere willing to write code for peanuts, or more commonly they buy other companies, and Borg the code into their ERP suite. Not sure which applied to SAP's POS, although I note SAP bought Canadian POS house Triversity back in 2005.

      The problem with the purchased companies is that these were (at the time) mostly smaller, slow growing companies. The code was built to work at a basic level of functionality, often by a cash starved gang of five or six developers operating in a small shed, and shovelled out the door. By the time the big ERP house buys the company, it is a package of customer accounts with high switching cost (ready to be milked) and this sticky tarball of code. The ERP houses (not just SAP, Oracle, Infor, Epicor and others) get rid of all the acquired company staff. Usually quickly, sometimes slowly, but it always happens, and so there's this blob of code, for which some designs and documentation exist, but which soon nobody in the big ERP house understands. They don't know the design logic, the botches and bodges, the workarounds, they don't understand any commenting unless it is written in the English of a ten year old, they don't know WHY the code is the way it is. Factor in that doing proper error and pen-testing is expensive, and that proactively maintaining code is also expensive, and the big ERP house has no incentive to find all the holes and fix all this legacy code, other than the initial makeover to bolt it into the Frankenstein core ERP suite.

      Obviously if something nasty crops up in the public domain, big ERP leap into action like a greased mammoth to avoid commercial or legal problems, But that's when they hand it all over to cheap code monkeys in developing countries, and hope for the best. Within months they've solved the original problem, and probably added a whole host more latent problems through low quality code.

  2. teknopaul

    once on the network...

    be interesting to see how many companies post snowden have implemented 100% S-Protocols inside the lan.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: once on the network...

      If it involves a windows server at any point, forget about secure protocols.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: once on the network...

        Not sure who would down-vote this statement, possibly someone who hasn't tried to secure windows servers in an enterprise environment.

        Netbios ffs?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    SAP server connects back to hacker laptop

    Have SAP ever considered connecting their POS terminals to the servers through an encrypted VPN connection?

    Secure retail POS systems with virtual private network (VPN) ..

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: SAP server connects back to hacker laptop

      Unfortunately a VPN doesn't help if someone has control of one of the end-points.

      Didn't the attack simulation involve the servers that were on store premises (rather than the back-end servers running the databases)?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. chrismeggs

    Foot: shooting of one's own

    Stepping back and scanning the horizon - what can we see? Precious little onion approach to layering security and the obvious ones : using a bank account number or any other extrinsic part of the "what he knows" information or requiring persistent and continuous authentication.

  6. JeffyPoooh

    Why bother hacking into SAP?

    If you can spell "SAP", then you can rob people in broad daylight as a "SAP Consultant".

    "Install the ERP software? Why yes. That'll be $10 million... Oh, I mean $20 million. Unless you also want the 'Put The Fricken' Boxes on the Fricken' Trucks' module. That's extra. A retail outlet in Canada once forgot to buy that module. Hilarious. Store shelves empty for an entire year."

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like