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Pete Finnigan's Oracle Security Weblog

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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Mark Rittman talks about Trace format utilities

I just found one of Marks recent posts on his blog entitled "A Couple Of Alternative Event 10046 Resource Profilers". Mark is talking about a couple of trace profiling tools. The first is Andy Rivenes's - (broken link) resource profiler, the second is SimpleProfiler by Niall Litchfield and needs HTML DB to run. There is of course the Hotsos profiler as well and also a good Trace file repository from Miracle AS in Denmark called Miracle tracefile repository. There are probably many more similar tools available.

I have also written a paper detailing many ways that can be used to set trace either for the current session or for another session running in the database. It also shows how to set extended trace either for binds or waits or both.

OK, so what has this got to do with Oracle security? Quite a bit actually. I often highlight to customers the dangers of allowing users access to set trace for their own session or others. Worse still is allowing these users access to trace files or even via autotrace in SQL*Plus. Actually being able to see the trace will reveal a lot of information about the structure of an application and even in some cases critical information about security settings or passwords in some versions or password hash values in others that could be cracked using one of the tools listed on my tools page. So we know the dangers of allowing users to set trace or to access trace data but these tools simply summarise details from the trace files without revealing structure. In some cases this sort of information could be used by a malicious person still to plan a Denial Of Service attack. Some of the tools mentioned above, such as Niall's and the Miracle AS tool allows trace files to be accessed remotely via a web interface. This implies that trace files are one step closer to a remote user or even an in-house user who does not have access to tools such as SQL*Plus.

There have been many posts to newsgroups about simple PL/SQL code that can be used to load trace files into the database so that they can be viewed remotely. This is a great practice for admin staff and for tuning and monitoring but you should consider the security aspects of allowing internals data and structure to be exposed externally.