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From: petard at (petard)
Subject: ISV unwilling to provide security patches on Oracle?

On Thu, Nov 06, 2003 at 07:05:48PM -0800, adam morley wrote:
> Hi,
> (Short version: ISV doesn't think security patches are needed, I need to convince them otherwise.  Long version follows)
> I'm writing because I'm working with an ISV that develops accouting products on Oracle (Specifically Oracle 8i, 9i and 9i app).  Currently, they license the Oracle database as an application specific license.  My current problem is they refuse to offer security patches for 8i, 9i or 9i app server, saying that the functioning of their app is more important than security fixes, and that a customer will have a firewall which is "good enough."  I'd love to suggest users get patches themselves, but that requires each customer that uses this product get a metalink account, which costs money and the ISV says they won't support the database once the patches are applied (which, obviously is a problem for accounting software!).
> I've done some preliminary google searches to find white papers/articles/etc. to support my argument that security patches *in addition* to best practices like firewalls, good passwords, etc. lead to a secure product.  I've found some, but I'd love to get some other white papers/articles/etc. in order to convince the ISV that security patches aren't an "optional" kind of thing, but rather a requirement in today's world.  Any pertinent legal pointers would be helpful too (though the ISV is in Canada, so. . .NAFTA)

Here's a very short version of why your firewall is not "good enough". Suppose that
I want to 0wn your accounting system for some reason. With an unpatched Oracle 8i server,
here's an easy recipe:

1. Send email to your accounting department enticing them to visit a web page that
I control... say I announce a contest whereby whomever correctly tells me the number
of jelly beans in this picture wins $500:

2. Prior to directing them to my contest entry form, use a page like the one Liu Die Yu
sent to cause them to execute my own code from within your firewall, at their user account's
level of privilege. (This will, naturally, be sufficient to allow them to connect to the
database server.) You've patched their IE browsers like a good administrator, but this attack
is still trivial.

3. While they're happily counting jellybeans and imagining the joy that the $500 and the
accompanying tax form will bring, my code scans their ODBC settings for information on
how to connect to your database server then uses one of my old exploits to execute
code of my choosing on your DB. I could exploit this:
or this:

or any of several others that have been patched by Oracle.

Since you don't say what industry you're involved in or where you're located, it's hard
to provide legal pointers. If you're publicly traded, unauthenticated access to your DB
server might pose audit problems. If you're bound by HIPAA regulations, this hole could
land your C-levels in jail. ISTM that the threat of losing customers ought to be enough
to persuade this vendor to clean up their act...



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