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Don Burleson Blog 








DBA charged with data theft

Lewis Cunningham alerts us to this press release about a DBA named William Sullivan who is charged with charged stealing for profit, taking sensitive data and selling it to criminals:

“About 2.3 million records are believed to be at issue, including about 2.2 million [records] containing bank account information and 99,000 containing credit card information, Certegy said in a release.”

A web search suggests that Fidelity National is an Oracle shop, although this “inside job” could have happened on any database product.

This “inside job” theft by a trusted DBA is a serious area of Oracle security and many products how audit the DBA:

  • Oracle Data Vault  – Cunningham notes: “Oracle Data Vault uses Virtual Private Database/ASO to prevent DBA access to application data. The DBA can still manage and maintain the database but cannot view or change application data.”

  • Lumigent Integra – Lumigent has a product (Integra) that does not allow the DBA to bypass Oracle auditing and detects data theft.

Oracle DBA’s threats include the following: 

·         Root kit attacks – In a root kit attack, the operating system is compromised.  I once fixed a client site with a root kit that had installed a daemon process that was constantly accessing confidential information and e-mailing Oracle to a competitor.  This attack went undiscovered for more than a year and virtually all of the company’s proprietary information was lost.

·         Fire-me attacks – Internal Oracle personnel have been know to write routines that trigger a Oracle data extraction on the day when their user ID is removed from the computer system.  Because most Oracle procedures required pulling the user ID before notifying the employee, these hackers will return home to find all of the confidential information waiting for them in their in-box.

·         Trojan horse – Once an employee gets the internal IP address of another employee, they can map-out phony sign-on screens to their boss and get a privileged password.  These attacks are usually easy using tools such as X-Windows that allow screen images to be redirected onto other screens.


·         PC Privacy tools – Common tools such as PC Anywhere can be used to look-over the shoulder of a co-employee, snooping into their activities and passwords.

For more examples of inside jobs by DBA’s, read my article on database horror stories.


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