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Oracle RDBMS security patch reports

Posted on 2013-01-15
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Aside from using costly commercial vulnerability scanners, are there any easy techniques to produce a management friendly report on what security patches are missing from an Oracle 11g database? Or better still to produce a “fully security patched” type assurance report to management.

Could you provide simple steps to get to the report, or direction to a sample report?
Also, excuse my ignorance, but I have heard systems administrators say they often fall behind on database security patches as they are concerned applying the patch could cause issues with the proper functioning of the application, is this a valid concern or a load of nonsense? Have you ever applied a security patch that has had an unfortunate knock on effect on the application that it drives.

Please keep answers simple to a non DBA/management freindly.
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Question by:pma111
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slightwv (䄆 Netminder) earned 1000 total points
ID: 38778623
>>what security patches are missing from an Oracle 11g database

I don't know of a way to produce a list of missing patches.  Maybe another Expert will know a way.

You can get a list of applied patches with: opatch lsinventory

>>patch could cause issues with the proper functioning of the application

Sadly, this is accurate.  Oracle patches can, and do, introduce new bugs.

I have this same exact 'debate' with our Security folks all the time because I don't patch my databases just because Oracle releases a patch.

They typically back off when I state:  I'll apply whatever patch you direct me to but will not be responsible for what it breaks.

You need to apply Oracle patches in a test environment and test, test ,test.
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by:pma111
ID: 38778647
are the release of security patches pretty common for 11g?

Could you give a rough indication of how many security related patches are released per year?
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 38778696
You can take a look at:
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/topics/security/alerts-086861.html

Now the fun:  I'm not sure what Oracle considers a 'Security' patch over a normal patch that might 'fix' a vulnerability.  I've never taken the time to dive into that end of the pool.

Hopefully another Expert will be along soon that can help shed some light on this topic.
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by:pma111
ID: 38778706
Ok, thanks for your help so far though...
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by:Geert Gruwez
Geert Gruwez earned 1000 total points
ID: 38778819
>>>You need to apply Oracle patches in a test environment and test, test ,test.
after applying to a production database: pray, pray, pray
and if it does break: patch, patch, patch

every 3 months there is an "planned"  patch.
however any customer can ask for a fix which can lead to a patch.

for the report
> what patch is your database on now ? for example: 11.2.0.3 patch #10 from september
> what patch is the latest for that database version 11.2.0.3 ?
list all of the cve in slightwv's comment:

Security Alert Number And Description       Latest Version/Date
>>>> Alert for CVE-2013-0422       Rev 1, 13 January 2013
Alert for CVE-2012-4681       Rev 1, 30 August 2012
Alert for CVE-2012-3132       Rev 1, 10 August 2012
Alert for CVE-2012-1675       Rev 1, 30 April 2012

The Alert for CVE... describes all the vulnerability problems the databases prior to that version have.
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 38778838
>>after applying to a production database: pray, pray, pray

I second that statement!

I have had things to beautifully in test only to break once it hits production.  It's impossible to test for everything...

Oracle is famous for rolling out some pretty major rewrites of code in what is considered a minor patchset.

For example from 10.2.0.3 to 10.2.0.4 a TON of their XML stuff was basically new code (which means, basically untested).  Of course, they will never tell you this...
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by:pma111
ID: 38778910
"for the report
> what patch is your database on now ? for example: 11.2.0.3 patch #10 from september
> what patch is the latest for that database version 11.2.0.3 ?"

How can you see "what patch your database is on now?", and "what patch is the latest for that version"?
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 38778927
>>How can you see "what patch your database is on now?",

re: http:#a38778696

You can get a list of applied patches with: opatch lsinventory

>>and "what patch is the latest for that version"?

The latest alerts and vulnerabilities should be posted on the link I provided in the first post.

For all patches:  The only way I know if is log into Oracle Support and select your database version and platform.
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