Feeds

'Big one' coming for Oracle database users?

Hoodies hit Microsoft, big lads do Larry

Website security in corporate America

Oracle users could be headed for a Microsoft-scale hack or a major database breach as master criminals begin to target valuable business systems.

That's the verdict of a UK database security consultant who's warned those running legacy versions of Oracle in particular are at risk from attack.

David Litchifield, managing director of Next Generation Security Software, said Oracle must shake up its system of patching databases to ensure users remain protected.

"There is a potential for a big one," Litchfield told The Register. "In terms of the little vandal - they will go for Microsoft. The professional hacker is going to break into a database server, (he) wants to steal 100,000 credit cards - he will go after the money."

Of particular concern is the number of unprotected versions of Oracle in use - especially version 8.1.7.4. Litchfield's Database Exposure Survey last year found 140,000 installations of Oracle are unprotected and could become hosts for a worm. Such databases have unfixed vulnerabilities like an arbitrary library loading issue with external procedures that could be exploited by an attack vector.

Litchfield was speaking as his company released its latest report on vulnerabilities in Oracle - dangling cursor snarfing. That followed recent publication of a report by fellow security consultant ESG Lab that claimed investments by Microsoft in SQL Server mean it's "years ahead" of Oracle in the security field.

Litchfield has criticized Oracle in the past for not moving quickly enough to fix such security holes, while being attacked by the database giant for allegedly putting customers at risk by releasing details of holes.

According to Litchfield, Microsoft still remains a target of hackers and disgruntled employees, but the difference is Microsoft has shifted its focus on SQL Server from purely new features to place greater emphasis on security. He approves of Microsoft's reliable delivery of patches.

"People who say no-one is looking at Microsoft anymore - that's nonsense, everyone wants to hack Microsoft. The fact they aren't finding bugs says Microsoft has done a good job," Litchfield said.

While Oracle has made improvements in security, such as releasing patches every three months, there's room for improvement. "They do need to shake things up in certain respects. They know they have bugs, and they are fixing them. Where they fail is in the advisories and the quality of the patches," Litchfield said.

He voiced optimism that procedures in place at PeopleSoft, known for good security and acquired by Oracle last year, could rub off on Oracle.®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.