Feeds

Oracle Database 12c's data redaction security smashed live on stage

Microsoft should school Ellison on safeguarding privates, says infosec bod

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Defcon 22 Oracle’s much-ballyhooed data redaction feature in Database 12c is easy to subvert without needing to use exploit code, attendees at Defcon 22 in Las Vegas have heard.

The redaction features in 12c are designed to automatically protect sensitive database material by either totally obscuring column data or partially masking it – for example, recalling just the last four digits of a US social security number when a search query is run.

But according to David Litchfield, security specialist at Datacomm TSS and the author of The Oracle Hacker’s Handbook, the mechanism is so riddled with basic flaws that you don’t even need to execute native exploit code to defeat the redaction – some clever SQL is all that's needed, we're told.

“If Oracle has a decent security development lifecycle in place anyone would have found these flaws and stopped them in tracks,” Litchfield said.

“Anyone with a modicum of SQL would have found these bugs.”

Litchfield said that within five minutes of investigating the redactions system, he found serious flaws in the coding. He's previously documented his findings here [PDF].

He demonstrated how with some simple keystrokes an evil employee – or someone able to inject SQL queries remotely – could gain sufficient privileges to defeat data redaction, and get access to the information in the database.

He mocked Oracle boss Larry Ellison’s assertion in January that no one had hacked an Oracle database in two decades to his knowledge. Litchfield claimed that the 2011 Sony PlayStation Network hacking attack that took the network offline for nearly two months was traced back to an Oracle database.

As a security researcher, Litchfield said he always reported flaws to vendors as he found them. But he expressed frustration that Oracle was slow to patch, and when it did get around to issuing fixes they were either broken or incomplete.

Typically, Oracle engineers will patch against exploit code, rather than fixing the fundamental flaw, he told the Defcon audience on Friday. This isn't a good approach since small changes to exploit code may defeat the new protections.

Litchfield pointed to Microsoft as an example of what could be done in database security. In the wake of the Bill Gates security memo, the entire SQL 2005 development team stopped work and went over old code with a security review.

The result down the line was that patching and flaw detection in Microsoft SQL dropped sharply, and the code security of IIS and Exchange has also been much improved. Oracle should take a leaf out of Redmond’s book when it comes to security, he suggested, and customers should demand change.

“If you're running Oracle database servers and don't like the way they are treating you on security, then get on the phone to them, because we really need to get this sorted,” he concluded.

It's understood Oracle has not fully patched the bugs described by Litchfield. The database giant was not immediately available for comment. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
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
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
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.