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Severe Oracle vulnerability discovered

Imperva security web site this just published this warning about a severe Oracle security vulnerability titled “Security Advisory: Oracle DBMS – Critical Access Control Bypass in Login Bug”:


Imperva claims that there is a bug in the authorization mechanism for Oracle 8i, 9i, and 10g that allows someone to use the tnsnames.ora file to issue privileged SYS commands, with nothing more than "create session" privileges:


"The standard authentication mechanism requires a client to supply a valid pair of user name and password. During the login process an Oracle user with no more than “create session” privileges can execute commands in the context of the special database user SYS. This grants any user the highest administrative privileges possible."


Imperva has details on this alleged vulnerability:


“The authentication part of the protocol is comprised of two steps, including two different client requests and two server responses respectively. The first request (message code 0x76) contains only the user name while the second (message code 0x73) contains the user name and an obfuscated password.


This second request also contains a list of name-value pairs describing various attributes of the client. The value named “AUTH_ALTER_SESSION” is intended for setting up session attributes related to the locale and language, in the form of an ALTER SESSION SQL statement.


It turns out that this value can contain any SQL statement. Moreover, this command is executed in the context of the SYS user, which operates outside of the Oracle access control mechanism. Thus, by setting the value of “AUTH_ALTER_SESSION” to an arbitrary SQL statement an attacker can execute any arbitrary command in the database. In particular, the attacker can create a new database account and create DBA privileges to the new account.”


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