Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

10/20/2006
09:25 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Database Threat Intensifies

Attackers are pulling out the stops to break into Oracle databases

Everyone knows the database holds the crown jewels of the organization, so it's no surprise database attacks are on the rise.

Attackers are using the popular SQL injection, as well as the default passwords in Oracle's database (DBSMNP), buffer overflows, and cross-site scripting to get to database information, says Aaron Newman, co-founder and CTO of AppSecInc. "The ultimate goal of hackers is to break into the database, where anything they want to steal is stored."

Newman, who will give a presentation on database threats and forensics next week called "Oracle Forensics: Collecting Evidence After an Attack" at Oracle OpenWorld, says the inside threat is just as great as the outside one. "A disgruntled DBA or employee is still the bigger threat today," he says.

And studies show users often have access to data resources that don't relate to their jobs, leaving their organizations vulnerable to an inside attack. Secerno, a U.K.-based database monitoring startup, in a new survey found that 41 percent of U.K. employees with access to computer records have access to data they don't need for their jobs. And one in 10 has been tempted to abuse this access, according to the survey.

The number of data records compromised in the U.S. due to security breaches is at 93.7 million since the infamous ChoicePoint breach in February 2005, which exposed 163,000 records according to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

Trouble is, while the database threat is increasing, database security is still in its infancy. "Oracle database security today is where network and OS security was three or four years ago," says AppSecInc's Newman.

There aren't many security tools specifically for databases either, he adds. "This market is in its very early stages."

David Aitel, president of Immunity, says the majority of the databases he hacks have default passwords, which makes it simpler to get in. "On 80 percent of my assessments, the default password is still set on at least one database instance on the network."

"Databases are big, complex, third-party components designed for speed, not for security," Aitel says. "But they are almost always behind a firewall. If you can touch a company's databases, they typically have so many other problems that their databases are not on their radar."

And the bad guys are honing in on databases. There have been two Oracle worms this year, and a rootkit was released at Defcon. "You're starting to see those types of tools becoming available for hackers out there to download and start using," Newman says.

And you can't just slap on Oracle patches. It takes about three months to get an Oracle patch fully implemented, because the process is mostly manual, Newman notes. Then the cycle often starts all over again, with new Oracle patches, so your database is almost always vulnerable to some bug. (Oracle's latest patch release contained fixes for over 101 vulnerabilities in its database and other software.)

Forget about encryption as the first step in securing your database, however, he says. "Find all the vulnerabilities and inventory them and lock them down as much as possible," and deploy layers of defense as well.

Newman also recommends real-time database monitoring systems. The last step is possibly encrypting Social Security and credit card numbers or other sensitive data.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Application Security Inc.
  • Immunity Inc. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
    Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
    Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
    Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
    Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
    6 Small-Business Password Managers
    Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  11/8/2019
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
    Current Issue
    Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
    In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
    Flash Poll
    Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
    Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
    Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-18986
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
    Pimcore before 6.2.2 allow attackers to brute-force (guess) valid usernames by using the 'forgot password' functionality as it returns distinct messages for invalid password and non-existing users.
    CVE-2019-18981
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
    Pimcore before 6.2.2 lacks an Access Denied outcome for a certain scenario of an incorrect recipient ID of a notification.
    CVE-2019-18982
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
    bundles/AdminBundle/Controller/Admin/EmailController.php in Pimcore before 6.3.0 allows script execution in the Email Log preview window because of the lack of a Content-Security-Policy header.
    CVE-2019-18985
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
    Pimcore before 6.2.2 lacks brute force protection for the 2FA token.
    CVE-2019-18928
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
    Cyrus IMAP 2.5.x before 2.5.14 and 3.x before 3.0.12 allows privilege escalation because an HTTP request may be interpreted in the authentication context of an unrelated previous request that arrived over the same connection.