Oracle Database Attack To Be Shown in Europe

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This week’s Black Hat Europe event will be shown how user credentials can be stolen from Oracle databases

A  man-in-the-middle attack on Oracle databases which can can be used to swipe user credentials and hijack sessions will be shown at this week’s Black Hat Europe security conference in Barcelona.

Armed with a new proof-of-concept tool, Trustwave Director of Security Research Steve Ocepek and Security Consultant Wendel Henrique will demonstrate how attackers can steal credentials by downgrading authentication mechanisms, as well as taking over existing user sessions.

SQL injection could affect all databases

“We’re highlighting the dangers of man-in-the-middle by showing attacks that go beyond what most people are familiar with,” Ocepek told eWEEK. “Wendel’s downgrade attacks can fool a client into giving up weak hash values and even Windows hashes, just by changing a few bytes of data. And the thicknet tool completely takes over, and allows arbitrary SQL injection. These are not common attacks, but they (creatively) exploit a known problem with plaintext data.”

As database users perform legitimate queries, information is often transmitted in clear text, easily readable by attackers with access to the data, the researchers explained.

“What we’re recommending is the use of encryption more frequently, something that’s built into the protocol from the beginning, just making it that much harder for an attacker to manipulate these packets,” Ocepek said. “We’re also again trying to beat the drum of shutting down some of these methods of doing man-in-the-middle attacks. It’s just far too easy right now.”

Using their thicknet tool, Ocepek and Henrique plan to demonstrate how to gain unauthorised access to Oracle and launch both types of attacks. The tool will be available after the show, Ocepek said.

“(The attacks can) be done remotely; it depends on where the client is,” he explained. “So let’s say that you are at a hotspot, you’re at a coffee shop, and somebody’s got the laptop on and they’re connecting to a database remotely. That would be a case where absolutely you could do that as well.”

The duo only focused their research on Oracle due to its large presence in the market and because it is “very rare to find Oracle encryption turned on,” Ocepek said.

“Because man-in-the-middle attacks have been around so long, we’ve gotten to the point of acceptance here,” he added. “But attacks like these highlight the fact that we might have underestimated the potential of these attacks.”

The conference will be held April 12-15 in Barcelona, Spain, with briefings April 14 and 15.

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