Feeds

Oracle to provide clearer vulnerability ratings

In at number one it's the latest Buffer Overflow...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Oracle is to start ranking the severity of security bugs it fixes using an industry-standard scoring system starting with its next quarterly patch update, due on 17 October.

The database giant will grade the threat posed by the bugs it fixes using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). It has also promised to give an easy-to-understand execuctive summary of the flaws it has addressed, highlighting bugs that lend themselves to remote exploitation by hackers. In the past, Oracle published an internally developed risk matrix (example here) along with its quarterly patch cycle but this is to be sidelined if favour of a simpler - and clearer - method of explaining the relative importance of security bugs.

The changes are designed to make it easier for database admins and other users' of Oracle's enterprise software applications to assess the severity of security bugs within their environment and thereby make more informed decisions about how to prioritse security remediation work. That's clearly important because the last two quarterly security updates brought fixes for 65 and 36 flaws respectively, creating plenty of scope for confusion about the relative importance of these various fixes.

"Oracle introduced these changes as the result of feedback we received from many of our customers," Eric Maurice, manager for security in Oracle's Global Technology Business Unit, said in a blog posting. "We hope that these changes will help our customers assess the criticality of the vulnerabilities resolved with each CPU and help them obtain patching decisions from their senior management more quickly."

The changes make sense but fail to address one of the main criticisms of Oracle's security practices - its perceived tardiness in developing security fixes. Oracle has come under fire in the past from security researchers, such as Red Database Security and NGS Software, over the time it takes to release security updates. For example, Red Database Security published information on six flaws in July 2005 after becoming frustrated with a lack of an official security update from Oracle more than 650 days after it notified the software giant about serious flaws. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
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
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.