Feeds

Oracle's first monthly patch batch fails to placate critics

Behind MS on security, says top bug hunter

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Oracle this week released a multitude of security fixes in a long-awaited and extensive series of patches that constitute its first monthly security update.

In January and February, UK-based security tools firm Next Generation Security Software (NGSSoftware) notified Oracle of 34 security vulnerabilities affecting various versions of its database software. Patches have at last been delivered, along with fixes other vulns discovered by other security researchers and Oracle itself.

David Litchfield, managing director of NGSSoftware, told El Reg that there are probably approximately 100 security fixes in all. "There are tons of bugs for a supposedly 'unbreakable' product," he said, referring to an ill-fated marketing campaign by the database giant a couple of years back when it claimed its products were immune to attack.

The vulnerabilities affect various versions of Oracle Database Server (including the latest 10g release), Application Server and Enterprise Manager software. Oracle's Collaboration Suite and E-Business Suite 11i contain the vulnerable software and are affected as well.

Some of the flaws might be exploited to compromise a vulnerable system, cause a DoS (Denial of Service), or conduct SQL injection attacks, according to security firm Secunia. The risk remains unclear because Oracle is providing no details of the various vulnerabilities. It fears that any information would give vital clues to criminal crackers about how to exploit unpatched systems.

We can't say what this patch does- but apply it now!

In a change of policy, NGSSoftware is holding back information on the bugs it discovered in Oracle's software for three months to give users an opportunity to patch systems (NGSSoftware's stripped down advisory is here). "Some of the bugs we discovered as easy to exploit without even a user ID or password. We've decided to protect people by not releasing the information. All database administrators need to know is that their systems are massively vulnerable and they ought to apply patches. They don't need to know the details," Litchield said.

Oracle's first monthly patch invites comparisons with Microsoft, which adopted the same approach last year. Litchfield said the release of its first monthly security patch showed Oracle was improving its security response ("it's had a change of attitude"), but he is scathing about the firm's overall security stance. "Oracle is maturing, but it still got a long way to go to catch up with Microsoft," he said. ®

Related stories

Oracle joins the monthly patch bandwagon
Oracle 'sitting on security fixes'
Oracle 9i Database, Ap Server bust six ways to Sunday
How to hack unbreakable Oracle servers
Ballmer's new MS security fix same patches, but nicer

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.