Risk
2/12/2013
07:06 AM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Quick Hits
50%
50%

Building And Maintaining Database Access Control Permissions

Provisioning user access to database resources can be tricky and time-consuming. Here are a few tips to help you keep up

[Excerpted from "Building and Maintaining Database Access Control Permissions," a new report posted this week on Dark Reading's Database Security Tech Center.]

Database permissions can cause headaches for even the most sophisticated security organizations. Indeed, many of the most persistent problems with malicious or risky database access start before the database server software is even up and running.

Why are database access controls so maddeningly complex? In a word, flexibility -- the very flexibility that enables organizations to create multiple and interlocking roles can also create a knot of confusion and vulnerability.

Why are database permissions such a sore spot for otherwise sophisticated organizations? Security experts agree that many of the most persistent problems with malicious or risky database access start before the database server software is even up and running.

There are many reasons for this disconnect. For one thing, access controls in modern databases are designed to be infinitely flexible to support the vast array of applications and uses that enterprise databases are called on to perform.

"It's in the nature of many of these databases that they have a straightforward role-based access control system at the center, but -- being flexible -- it becomes very complex," says Josh Shaul, the CTO at Application

Security, a database activity monitoring firm. Users, Shaul notes, might be assigned access permissions individually and as a member of one or more "roles."

All this talk about complex user and role-based privileges ignores what experts consider the biggest security gap of all: catch-all pseudo-user groups like Oracle's PUBLIC. These groups are intended to be bare-bones, minimum privilege roles that encompass every database user. The truth, however, is often very different.

Older Oracle databases -- like Oracle 9 and 10, for example -- granted PUBLIC execute privileges on a number of important packages by default, including the Oracle encryption toolkit and utilities that allow PUBLIC users to read and write to the file system, access TCP-based networking functionality and send mail. Newer versions have eliminated some of those permissions from PUBLIC but still give the PUBLIC group access to many database objects.

Once organizations have a handle on their most powerful super users and have curtailed the privileges of the unwashed masses in pseudo-user groups like PUBLIC, they need to tackle a thornier problem: how to monitor user activity and identify abhorrent, malicious or just unwanted behaviors.

To get details on how to monitor database access activity -- and to learn more about the technologies and practices for controlling database resources -- download the free report on database access control.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8148
Published: 2015-01-26
The default D-Bus access control rule in Midgard2 10.05.7.1 allows local users to send arbitrary method calls or signals to any process on the system bus and possibly execute arbitrary code with root privileges.

CVE-2014-8157
Published: 2015-01-26
Off-by-one error in the jpc_dec_process_sot function in JasPer 1.900.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted JPEG 2000 image, which triggers a heap-based buffer overflow.

CVE-2014-8158
Published: 2015-01-26
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in jpc_qmfb.c in JasPer 1.900.1 and earlier allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted JPEG 2000 image.

CVE-2014-9571
Published: 2015-01-26
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admin/install.php in MantisBT before 1.2.19 and 1.3.x before 1.3.0-beta.2 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) admin_username or (2) admin_password parameter.

CVE-2014-9572
Published: 2015-01-26
MantisBT before 1.2.19 and 1.3.x before 1.3.0-beta.2 does not properly restrict access to /*/install.php, which allows remote attackers to obtain database credentials via the install parameter with the value 4.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.