Feeds

Oracle in war of words with security researcher

'What David Litchfield has done is put our customers at risk'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Litchfield notified the database maker of the issue in October, stating that the fix is fairly straightforward. On Wednesday, he posted a workaround for the vulnerability on SecurityFocus' BugTraq mailing list.

However, Oracle said it studied the workaround proposed by Litchfield and found it inadequate. The configuration changes have at least five technical problems that could cause problems for some applications, Oracle's Harris said. He recommended that any customer that considers deploying the workaround first test it on a non-production server.

The release of details regarding the vulnerability has put more pressure on the company, he said.

"Exploits could be generated using the details provided in a short amount of time," Harris said. "We are still making an analysis. If we feel the risk is significant, we will release a one-off patch much as Microsoft did with the recent WMF patch."

The Apache module, which contains the flaw, allows Web applications to use the Procedural Language/Structured Query Language (PL/SQL) to dynamically create database calls. The code has security weaknesses that have been perennial sources of problems for the database maker. Oracle has patched various issues found by NGSSoftware four times, and each time, the company finds a way around the patch, Litchfield said.

"It has been four years and Oracle has not fixed this simple thing," Litchfield said. "It was trivial to find, and because the functions have had bugs in the past, people are looking at this."

Other security professionals have also taken Oracle to task for its troubles in effectively handling security researcher and vulnerability disclosure.

"I think Oracle does have some work ahead of it in working better with security researchers," Michael Sutton, director of research for iDefense, a subsidiary of VeriSign, said following the Black Hat presentation. "It is embarrassing for the vendor and bad for users that the same problem has been patched (unsuccessfully) four times. If the vendor and researcher collaborated more closely, this problem would be solved."

While other companies, especially Microsoft, have gotten much better at working with security researchers, Oracle continues to have problems, he said.

This article was originally published at SecurityFocus.

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
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
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
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.