"This is not trivial; this would rank up there as the sort of thing you don't want to let sit around," warns Jim Magdych, security research manager for PGP Security, a unit of Network Associates Inc. Covert Labs labeled a vulnerability it found in the Oracle 8i Transparent Network Substrate Listener, which establishes remote communications with Oracle database services. According to Covert, if the correct buffer overflow condition is created by a hacker, arbitrary code can be executed that would hand over full control of the database services to the attacker. In some instances, attackers can gain full control of the operating system. Covert warns that since the buffer overflow occurs before any security authorization, the TNS Listener is vulnerable despite password protection.
This vulnerability applies to Oracle 8i Standard and Enterprise Editions version 8.1.5, 8.1.6, 8.1.7 and previous versions for Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, and Tru64 Unix, says Covert. Oracle has issued a patch, with bug number 1489683, which can be found at metalink.oracle.com.
A second, medium-risk vulnerability in the Oracle implementation of the TNS over net* (SQLNet) protocol permits a denial-of-service attack, launched by a remote attacker, against any Oracle server relying on the protocol, including the TNS Listener, Oracle Name Service, and Oracle ConnectionsManager. This vulnerability also applies to Oracle 8i Standard and Enterprise Editions version 8.1.5, 8.1.6, 8.1.7 and all previous versions for Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, and Tru64 Unix. Oracle has also posted a patch for this vulnerability, with bug number 1656431, at metalink.oracle.com.
Magdych predicts companies will take this vulnerability seriously. "A database vulnerability is a little different than a Web server vulnerability that allows a defacement. Companies store a lot of sensitive information on these databases; allowing someone to read or modify that information is not something to be taken lightly."
More information on both vulnerabilities can be found at www.pgp.com/research/covert/advisories.asp.