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Oracle patches high-risk security hole
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 02:32:18 -0500 (CDT)


By: Stephen Shankland
7/5/01 4:40 PM
Source: News.com  

Researchers have found a security hole in Oracle's 8i database program
that could let an outside attacker take over the software and--in the
case of a Windows computer--the entire system.  Researchers at Covert
Labs, part of Network Associates' PGP Security group, discovered the
vulnerability and ranked its risk as "high." Oracle has acknowledged
the problem, fixed it in the newest 9i version of its software and
issued a patch for the earlier releases.

"This is a pretty significant vulnerability for Oracle users," said
Jim Magdych, security research manager for PGP Security.

The problem occurs in a part of Oracle's database software called the
"listener," which handles communications between people using the
database and the database itself, Magdych said. The attack works by
sending more information than the software expects, a process called a
"buffer overrun."

In a buffer overrun attack, the extra characters are written into the
computer's memory. A clever attacker can place commands in just the
right patch of memory to make the computer's chip run a program that
can be used to give access to the attacker, Magdych said.

What the attacker does next varies according to what type of system
has been compromised. In the case of the Oracle security hole, the
attacker would have access privileges to the database itself, granting
him permission to view or change any information in the database.

Oracle runs with very broad powers on a Windows system, so an attacker
there would have complete control over the system, Magdych said.
Oracle has narrower powers running under the Unix operating system,
but the Oracle permission would be a useful foot in the door for
further attacks that could lead to complete control, he said.

Covert Labs has a staff of about six scouring software commonly used
on the Internet, Magdych said. Earlier this year, the team discovered
several serious problems with Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND),
widely-used software that links a computer's numerical Internet
address with its URL.


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