Feeds

'Big one' coming for Oracle database users?

Hoodies hit Microsoft, big lads do Larry

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.