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Pete Finnigan's Oracle security weblog

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Security Matters

August 1st, 2005 by Pete

I read with interest Duncan Mills blog post the other day titled "Security Matters". This post talks about Mary Ann Davidson's news article "When security researchers become the problem". Duncan makes some good comments about this article and also talks about some of the comments posted against Mary Ann's article. If you read this article some days ago it is worth re-visiting it to read the comments posted.

Whether you are with Mary Ann or with the hackers (actually I think in this case we are talking about researchers) on the issue of full-disclosure / non full-disclosure or anything else that was discussed - is moot as far as I can see. The real issue is why it takes 650 - 700 days to fix a security bug and why is there a backlog of fixes that are known about publicly. These questions were not answered. She talks about the process of fixing bugs and how much work is involved and why she cannot work to timescales imposed by hackers because of such a complex product and large numbers of platforms to support (actually I though Oracle had a platform interface layer - I have read about this before - so that most of the code is platform independent?) but she does not justify why it takes two years to make fixes.

I am also not convinced about Duncan suggesting (with his Forms example) that the way to release information about unfixed bugs is to do it silently. The problem with this is that researchers and hackers are now resorting to Google and other search engines to find security holes that are not initially reported or documented as security holes. Alex did this recently with his Google hacking and Metalink hacking papers.

August 2005

This is the weblog for Pete Finnigan. Pete works in the area of Oracle security and he specialises in auditing Oracle databases for security issues. This weblog is aimed squarely at those interested in the security of their Oracle databases.

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