Breach, Data Security, Vulnerability Management

Oracle PeopleSoft attack could enable big data breaches

Vulnerabilities in Oracle PeopleSoft systems could be enabling data breaches at businesses, government organizations and universities.

Researchers with ERPScan have identified 549 Oracle PeopleSoft systems that are accessible via the internet, and observed that 231 of those systems are vulnerable to the TokenChpoken attack that the security firm demonstrated at conferences earlier this year.

For starters, Oracle PeopleSoft is a platform used by large organizations – many in the Fortune 100 – to manage different company resources, including personal information such as Social Security numbers and payment card data, Alexander Polyakov, CTO of ERPScan, told in a Monday email correspondence.

According to a post, the TokenChpoken attack can ultimately be used to login under any account and gain full access to the PeopleSoft system, and it additionally opens the door for attacks against other systems and third-party data stores.

Of the 549 PeopleSoft systems accessible via the internet, 249 servers belong to commercial enterprises, with 169 of those being in the U.S., the research showed. Another 64 servers belong to military and government institutions and the remaining 236 servers belong to universities.

Honing in on that last figure, ERPScan revealed, in additional information emailed to, that about 80 of the universities have PeopleSoft systems that are accessible via the internet and are vulnerable to the TokenChpoken attack.

Polyakov said one institution with PeopleSoft systems accessible via the internet is Harvard University, which announced last week that an intrusion was discovered on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Central Administration information technology networks, and that Harvard login credentials may have been exposed.

“We do not want to make any groundless conclusions and speculation about how organizations were hacked,” Polyakov said, going on to add that “what we can say for sure is that [about] 80 other universities have that critical vulnerability that can be used or is already used today to gain access to critical data.”

PeopleSoft systems are complex and simply patching may not be enough, Polyakov said, explaining that users should take actions such as changing all default PeopleSoft and WebLogic passwords and implementing certificate authentication for token nodes.

“Those changes will require some configuration, especially if [the] customer uses multiple nodes,” Polyakov said. “And, of course, it requires [users] to turn off systems for some time to reconfigure it. Every time customers stop [these types] of systems, they stop business processes that can result in loss profits, for instance.”

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.