Oracle Plugs 36 Holes in Critical Patch Update

Database server giant Oracle on April 18 shipped its scheduled quarterly critical patch update with fixes for 36 security vulnerabilities in several enterprise-facing products.

The mega update includes a fix for a gaping flaw in the Oracle PL/SQL Gateway that was reported to Oracle more than six months ago and was the subject of a war of words between Oracle and database security expert David Litchfield at the Black Hat Federal security conference earlier in 2006.

Fed up with what he described as Oracle’s “backward approach” to dealing with security issues, Litchfield used the spotlight of the January conference to warn that the PL/SQL Gateway flaw could be exploited to gain full database administrator control of the back-end database server.

Litchfield, co-founder of London-based NGSS (Next Generation Security Software), said at the time that an attack could be launched without a user name ID or password and could be used to hijack sensitive information from corporate databases.

In its April CPU, Oracle included a fix for the bug, which affects components of the Oracle Internet Application Server, the Oracle Application Server and the Oracle HTTP Server.

The PL/SQL Gateway serves as a proxy for sending queries between the Web server and the database back-end server, and provides an easy target for malicious hackers wishing to bypass certain exclusions to gain access to “excluded” packages and procedures.

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