Data is the most valuable asset that an organization holds, and the most common target for malicious attackers. According to Forbes, in the first six months of 2019, data breach incidents exposed an astounding 4.1 billion records worldwide. Hackers successfully attacked government agencies as well as private corporations, keeping everyone under a constant threat of exploit. Although data breaches are not a new phenomenon anymore, what stood out in this year’s attacks was the sophistication in which these attacks were carried out. Learned users as well as experienced officials fell prey to the traps, resulting in massive information leakage.
Considering that database systems hold extremely valuable and sensitive information, one would assume that most organizations would fiercely protect these “crown jewels” with great care. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Throngs of databases in organizations worldwide are unsafe, at high risk of being breached by malicious hackers, rogue employees and crooked partners. This sorry state of database security puts financial data, customer information, health records, intellectual property treasures and more in grave danger.
Below we’ll discuss the two main causes for database security breakdowns — unpatched vulnerabilities and configuration errors — along with helpful tips for reducing the risk of database breaches.
Oracle kicked off the New Year with its first installment of the quarterly CPU (critical patch update) for 2017. The update contains fix for 270 security issues across wide range of products. The graph below shows distribution of the update. More than 100 vulnerabilities that were fixed could be compromised by a remote attacker without requiring any credentials. Most remote vulnerabilities could be exploited over the HTTP protocol.
Today Oracle released its July critical patch update fixing 276 security issues across hundreds of Oracle products. On average in 2015 Oracle fixed about 161 vulnerabilities per update and the number was 128 in 2014. That makes today’s update the largest and here is a breakdown of the vulnerabilities. Out of the 276 vulnerabilities, 159 can be exploited remotely without authentication, typically over a network without the need of any credentials. The table lists components ordered by the number of issues and description below has details. Since most organizations have different teams to patch databases, networking components, operating systems, applications server and ERP systems, I have broken down the massive update in these categories.
Oracle released another massive critical patch update (CPU) today which contains 104 new security fixes. Java SE took the lion’s share of fixes followed by Fusion Middleware and MySQL. Only two vulnerabilities were fixed in the flagship Database Server 11g and 12c and both the vulnerabilities need credentials to be exploited remotely.