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Security

Your Network Access Could Be for Sale on the Dark Web. Why ABAC is Critical for ERP Data when Your Network is Vulnerable

By Michael Cunningham • June 1, 2020

Thanks to TV commercials for identity protection services, you’re forgiven for thinking that that dark web is primarily a place where criminals and hackers buy and sell personal information such as credit cards, usernames and passwords, and social security numbers (and other PII). Lately, however, the dark web has seen a flurry of activity for offers to purchase corporate network access, according to a recent “Access for Sale” report from Positive Technologies.  

Criminals Are Becoming More Interested in Corporate Network Access 

Just a year ago, according to the report, cybercriminals were focused more on trading in access to the servers of private individuals for as little as $20. During the second half of 2019, Interest has since picked up in the sale of access to corporate networks. In Q1 2020, the number of postings advertising access to these networks increased by 69 percent from the previous quarter. Prices have also increased: the average cost of privileged access to a single local network is now in the $5,000 range. Additionally, hackers are offering a commission of up to 30 percent of the potential profit from a hack of a company’s infrastructure. 

It’s bad enough that your threat surface has increased due to so many employees working from home, now you have a posse of hackers roaming the dark web looking for bounties to collect. We have a few suggestions to help you keep your ERP data safe even if hackers manage to gain access to your corporate network.   

Adopt Attribute-Based Access Controls (ABAC) to Strengthen ERP Data Security 

Companies using ERP systems are already leveraging role-based access controls. These controls, which align data access privileges and job function resources, provide a baseline for data governance. With the rapid expansion to a remote workforce earlier this year, organizations needed to create more detailed and more dynamic access controls—policies to determine who, what, where, when, and how workers can access ERP data and what transactions they’re allowed to perform.  

With attribute-based access controls (ABAC), a company can incorporate additional context such as geolocation, time of day, and IP address to both ensure the appropriate user is accessing the resources and prevent users from having more access than they need. For example, if the organization knows that an employee should be working from Connecticut, ABAC can prevent access to resources, mask highly sensitive data, or prevent a transaction entirely if the user’s location is suddenly California – or a foreign country.  

These granular, data-centric access privileges can help an organization ensure that users–internal or malicious–do not get too much access to important ERP data – limiting the potential negative effects of a network intrusion by hackers. 

ABAC Should be Coupled with User Activity Monitoring  

Let’s revisit how ABAC helps organizations establish roles and permissions to determine who, what, where, when, and how workers can access ERP data and what transactions they’re allowed to perform. It’s important that you don’t set these controls and “forget” them. You want to make sure what you’ve established is working and to watch for any anomalies that reveal unusual or unwelcome activity.  

Most organizations are already performing some kind of monitoring of user access – but it has to extend beyond manual audits of instances of logging in and logging out of applications and what pages were displayed. Understanding data access, usage, and transactions performed is now a key requirement when maintaining visibility over business data and enforcing security policies. 

Here are five details we recommend monitoring (more details here): 

  1. Who – Details of the User Accessing the Data  
  2. What – Details of the Data Being Accessed  
  3. Where – Location Where the User is Accessing the Data   
  4. When –Time of Day When User is Accessing Data  
  5. How – Type of Device Accessing Data 

Data is only as useful as the insights it provides. Using an analytics platform that includes granular access details, rapid aggregation, and visualization of user access data is a crucial requirement for data security. 

Conclusion 

You know that hackers are already looking for any and all security lapses on your perimeter to gain access to your corporate network. The “Access for Sale” report serves as an important reminder that hackers are willing to do anything to gain an advantage, and organizations must deploy a variety of ERP data security protocols in addition to the standard role-based access controls. 

Appsian has helped hundreds of organizations that leverage legacy ERP applications like PeopleSoft and SAP ECC strengthen their data security posture with ABAC and user-activity monitoring. 

Request a demonstration of the Appsian Security Platform today. Learn how Appsian can help you manage the risks of the dark web in little as 30 days! 

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