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Oracle 9i Database, Ap Server bust six ways to Sunday

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Oracle admins are in for a busy time with the publication of no less than six vulnerabilities over the last week.

Four of the vulnerabilities are buffer overflow flaws affecting various components of Oracle9i Database Server. Then there's two flaws affecting Oracle9i Application Server, which pose denial of service risks... or worse.

Some are potentially very nasty indeed. Oracle describes them as critical and that's not the half of it...

The buffer overflows in Database server involve: the ORACLE.EXE binary, the TO_TIMESTAMP_TZ function, the TZ_OFFSET function and DIRECTORY parameter of Oracle9i Database Server.

These are explained in greater depth in the BugTraq advisories linked to above and the security section of Oracle's Web site.

The web site also gives more refers to two Oracle9i Application Server vulnerabilities (involving DAV_PUBLIC Directory
and the mod_oradav Module)

All vulnerabilities were posted to BugTraq, and patched published by Oracle, last weekend. Over the weekend security researchers have been digesting these reports, and coming up with some potentially unsettling conclusions.

David Litchfield, of NGSSoftware, the security firm that has carved something of a niche for itself in unearthed Oracle flaws (and did the lion's share of the work this time too), tells us the majority of the Oracle9i Database Server require an attacker to have a valid user name and password.

So the greatest risk here comes from a buffer overflow glitch within the Database Server's authentication process, which a post from NGSSoftware to BugTraq today explains in much greater depth. Various flavours of Database Server (8i, 8.1.7, 8.0.6) as well as Oracle9i are potentially vulnerable to this attack, according to NGSSoftware.

Combine that with an Oracle9i Application Server Format String Vulnerability, and we have a way an attacker might gain control of Ap Server and get around what firewall rules might otherwise guard against attack against (potentially vulnerable) Database Servers.

Oracle describes this as only a denial of service risk but the issue, albeit it tricky to exploit, seems to go deeper than this would suggest.

Litchfield, in masterly understatement, says these various vulnerabilities "need attention".

Once again: Oracle's patches can be obtained via links on its Web site here. ®

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