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Don Burleson Blog 








Oracle is the victim of a web "Smear" 
Oracle Corporation is falsely accused of hosting hacker attacks

In a report that might have become a scalding blemish on the security of the Oracle database, Oracle's corporate servers were recently (and falsely, it turns out) "accused" of hosting hacker attacks.

Reports of these accusations were published on July 13, 2007 by "The Register" with a headline that was guaranteed to draw in readers:

"Oracle UK systems accused in 'SSH hacking spree'",

Now, readers would assume that The Register was reporting on someone who made this "accusation".   Nope.  The accuser, in this case, was a computer-generated report, which, evidently, the reporter failed to fully understand.

Inflammatory headlines always draw attention, and anonymous trolls leaped-in, happy to have a chance to publish more lies about Oracle without getting caught.

At the end of this "smear job" article, we see a plethora of nasty factual allegations of misconduct by Oracle Corporation:  (Note: The "facts" below are submitted by anonymous authors)

"Oracle's networks have long been a significant source of spam, apparently injected from compromised machines.  I've reported it on numerous occasions to their postmaster and their abuse desk but never even had a reply. . .

the servers involved are running Oracle databases and hence have to be held down at some ancient patch level . .

For some years we've had drivel and utter lies from Oracle about the resilience of their products."

Buried in the comments section of the article, one reader dares to reveal the likely truth:

"I don't doubt that to date, there is no evidence for any attack originating from that machine. However, given the machine is listed as emea-netcache1 its highly likely its just a proxy and forwarder.

Regrettably, it has become very easy for irresponsible publishers to hurl false accusations against innocent corporations, especially since the UK appears to have criminal libel laws

The too-late Retraction

In a too-late retraction (eight days later, on July 21st) this author attempts to undo his "accusations" that Oracle servers were hosting hacker attacks:

"The listing implied a computer (or multiple computers) at Oracle UK been compromised for weeks, allowing hackers to gain access to Oracle's bandwidth to hack other boxes elsewhere on the net."

Regardless of the retraction, who knows how many people believed this irresponsible journalism?  As an Oracle professional, I saw-through the "smear job", but it's sad that a major publication can grossly mislead the public with false allegations of criminal wrongdoing. 


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