Oracle’s patch update offers 41 fixes

Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) released 41 security fixes for its flagship database and several other products Tuesday, including 15 patches for vulnerabilities that can be exploited remotely without a username or password.

The presence of vulnerabilities that can be exploited without authentication “means that your database is a sitting duck unless you deploy this patch,” says Slavik Markovich, CTO of database security vendor Sentrigo.

Oracle database products account for 17 security patches, two of which could be exploited remotely over a network without authentication. The rest of the fixes are spread across Oracle’s Application Server, Collaboration Suite and E-Business Suite products, as well as Oracle’s PeopleSoft and Siebel software.

SQL injections might be among the attacks customers risk if they don’t install the patches, Markovich says. The Advanced Queuing technology in Oracle’s database has been linked to SQL injections in which malicious users gain elevated privileges and steal data such as credit card information, he says. Two vulnerabilities related to the Advanced Queuing database component were listed in Tuesday’s quarterly critical patch update.

The 41 fixes exceed the 26 security bugs in the last patch update released in January, but fall short of the 51 patches released by Oracle last October. Markovich doesn’t see any signs that vulnerabilities will become fewer over time.

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“It seems the database contains so many modules and so many lines of code I really expect it to keep up that pace,” he says.

Oracle database customers can avoid some problems from the start by not installing modules they aren’t going to use, Markovich says. Users get into trouble when they install every database component even when it’s not necessary.

“By having [unnecessary modules] in the database, you actually increase your attack surface,” Markovich says. Among the Oracle database vulnerabilities, the two that can be exploited remotely without a username and password affect the database authentication system and Oracle Application Express, a Web application development tool for the database.

Eleven security fixes were announced for the Oracle E-Business Suite and related applications, including seven that can be exploited without authorization. Three security fixes affected the Oracle Application Server, all of which can be exploited remotely without authorization.

Six fixes, including three for problems that can be exploited without authentication, affect the Oracle Siebel Enterprise Suite’s SimBuilder, a content development tool for building online training programs. Three fixes affect PeopleSoft tools and one affects Oracle Enterprise Manager.

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