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Oracle security basher found to have ties to Microsoft

According to this article, noted Oracle-basher David Litchfield has financial ties to Microsoft Corporation, leading some to question motives and objectivity:

"After this story was published, the reporter asked David Litchfield follow-up questions about ties to Microsoft and Oracle upon learning that Microsoft was a customer of NGS Software."

Litchfield's company's financial ties to Microsoft are not surprising to me, given his  claims that a Windows-based database has "solved" security issues that he claims that Oracle somehow cannot overcome:

"While dissing Oracle, Litchfield is cheerleading for Microsoft. He has publicly stated that SQL Server 2005, the latest version of Microsoft's database software, is secure. This must hurt at Oracle, a Microsoft arch rival, which has already seen a significant piece of the database market go to the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. . .

SQL Server 2005 is secure. (Microsoft has) solved the problem"

Not everyone agrees.  This article describes how to do SQL injection attacks in SQL Server.

Ulterior motives?

Oracle's chief of security has also noted a concern about putting Oracle customers at-risk, for what appears to be publicity:

"In reality, when a researcher puts customers at risk by releasing exploit code for a vulnerability before the vendor has had a chance to fix it, it's ridiculous to expect the vendor to say, "Thank you for putting our customers at risk."

Bad workarounds?

As author of "Oracle Privacy Security Auditing", I'm concerned about Litchfield's "sky is falling" hyperbole about exploits about Oracle, many of which were exaggerated, such as Oracle exploits that require insider access (and thus presented no real threat from the public), plus this note where Oracle found his "workaround" to be inept, and actually "break" Oracle, discrediting this workaround.

“Oracle was notified of the workaround before it was released, but has found it "inadequate," said Duncan Harris, Oracle's senior director of security assurance. It will break a large number of E-Business Suite applications, he said.

"We know it will break a number of Oracle products higher in the stack than the Oracle Application Server that the vulnerability exists in," Harris said.”

Putting Oracle customers at-risk?

Evidently, Oracle Corporation also has "issues" with profiteer security companies who threaten disclosures that might aid criminals:

"Many researchers think that the more vulnerabilities they disclose publicly, the more vendors will hire them as consultants.

Some engage in explicit threats ("Pay me $X or I sell this to iDefense") or implicit threats ("Fix it in the next three weeks because I am giving a paper at Black Hat")."

Oracle goes on to criticize these security advisors, claiming that they actually perform a disservice to the Oracle community by exploiting the internals of vulnerabilities and Oracle rootkits:

"By just revealing what he has in this workaround, it definitely is a very strong starting point for any malicious hacker... to try and understand the vulnerability and produce an exploit," Harris said.

"Yes, we are clearly disappointed that he felt the need to say anything about this vulnerability before we had a patch available."

A dangerous thing to do?

Plus, many Oracle security experts suggests that the publication of "real" exploits constitutes aiding and abetting criminals, and Oracle Corporation recently chided some security experts as being "selfish", "irresponsible" and "dangerous" for openly publishing instruction on how-to hack into Oracle databases:

"A few hours after Litchfield went public with a technical description of the flaw, including a blow-by-blow demonstration of ease in which an attack could occur, Oracle lashed back, accusing the British researcher of putting its customers at severe risk for selfish, irresponsible reasons...

Even as he downplayed the severity of the flaw, Harris said Litchfield's decision to go the way of "irresponsible disclosure" was a "dangerous thing to do.""


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