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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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An interesting thread on Oracle-l about BBED

I was looking at the Oracle-L mailing list yesterday and saw an interesting thread about BBED, the Oracle block editing tool. The thread index is "How can I get the BBED password?". The poster asked how to find the password for this tool. No one actually gave out the password as it is supposed to be secret and the tool is only to be used by trained Oracle support staff. There were a number of posters who said the tools password can be found easily. I will not propagate the "how" here. I guessed the password at my first attempt when I first tried the tool a few years ago.

The thread was interesting for me for a number of reasons. First BBED is an essentially undocumented tool, I like undocumented tools and information. The thread also has some great posts talking about blocks structure as well. Oracle blocks are documented in a lot of places but not fully anywhere outside of Oracle (I assume?). One posted said that very few people fully understand blocks and BBED and indeed there are only a small handful of them. The poster also said that some of these guys who do know how to edit blocks tend to use their own tools not BBED as its archaic and also that they sometimes need to consult the source code to understand and specify certain block flags.

One interesting point made by someone was that if the BBED password were public and people cause damage with this tool Oracle could remove it from future releases.

This is another issue that interested me. I saw the potential for damage with BBED a few years ago as it could be used not just for fixing corrupt blocks but also for "fixing" blocks for hacking purposes. I raised this as a security issue with Oracle but it is not clear as to the extent of Oracle's actions on this one.