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Oracle posts fix – servers ‘unbreakable’ again?

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Oracle Corp has been forced to issue security patches for its 9i Application Server and database management system: products that it had previously claimed were "unbreakable",

writes Matthew Aslett.

The security holes were discovered by David Litchfield, co-founder of Sutton, UK-based Next Generation Security Software, and would enable a cracker to take complete control of a web server running Oracle 9i Application Server, or an Oracle 9i database server.

The security holes were discovered as NGSSoftware was developing a vulnerability assessment scanner for Oracle. As well as compromising 9i, NGSS said the holes also effect previous versions of Oracle's software. NGSS has worked with Oracle to produce the fixes for the security holes, which are now available from http://metalink.oracle.com/.

The discovery of the security holes is not just an embarrassment for Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle, which has been marketing 9i on the basis that it is unbreakable, but also for the security industry as a whole.

Oracle has completed 14 separate independent security evaluations, including the US Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC) and the European Information Technology Security Evaluation Criteria (ITSEC) and the International Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation.

"I am amazed this has escaped notice for as long as it has, especially when you consider the number of independent security evaluations Oracle has undergone," comments Litchfield, who will be demonstrating precisely how easy it is to compromise an Oracle database server at the Blackhat Security Briefing in New Orleans this week.

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