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Oracle Database Security Checklist

April 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Checklist to keep secure an Oracle Database:

1. Install only what is required
The Oracle Database CD pack contains a host of options and products in addition to the database server. Install additional products and options only as necessary.

2. Lock and Expire Default User Accounts
If a manual (i.e. without using Database Configuration Assistant) installation of Oracle Database is performed, then no default database users are locked upon successful installation of the database server. Left open in their default states, these user accounts can be exploited to gain unauthorized access to data or disrupt database operations.

a) Enterprise Manager Accounts
The preceding list of accounts depends on whether you choose to install Enterprise Manager. If so, SYSMAN and DBSNMP are open as well, unless you configure Enterprise Manager for Central Administration. In this case, the SYSMAN account (if present) will be locked as well.

3. Change Default User Passwords
The most trivial method by which Oracle Database can be compromised is a default database server user account which still has a default password associated with it even after installation.

a) Change default passwords of administrative users
Oracle Database 10g enables you to use the same or different passwords for the SYS, SYSTEM, SYSMAN and DBSNMP administrative accounts. Use different passwords for each: in any Oracle environment (production or test), assign strong, secure, and distinct passwords to these administrative accounts.

b) Change default passwords of all users
Each of the accounts install with a default password that is exactly the same as that user account (For example, user MDSYS installs with the password MDSYS).

c) Enforce password management
Oracle recommends that basic password management rules (such as password length, history, complexity, and so forth) as provided by the database be applied to all user passwords and that all users be required to change their passwords periodically.

Oracle also recommends, if possible, using Oracle Advanced Security (an option to the Enterprise Edition of Oracle Database) with network authentication services (such as Kerberos), token cards, smart cards or X.509 certificates.

4. Enable Data Dictionary Protection
Oracle recommends that customers implement data dictionary protection to prevent users having the ANY system privileges from using such privileges on the data dictionary.

To enable dictionary protection, set the following configuration parameter to FALSE, in the init<sid>.ora control file: O7_DICTIONARY_ACCESSIBILITY = FALSE

5. Practicing the principle of least privilege

a) Grant necessary privileges only
The principle of least privilege is that users be given only those privileges that are actually required to efficiently perform their jobs.

To implement this principle, restrict the following as much as possible:
1) The number of SYSTEM and OBJECT privileges granted to database users, and
2) The number of people who are allowed to make SYS-privileged connections to the database.

b) Revoke unnecessary privileges from the public user group
Revoke all unnecessary privileges and roles from the database server user group PUBLIC. PUBLIC acts as a default role granted to every user in an Oracle database.

The more powerful packages that may potentially be misused are:
1. UTL_SMTP 2. UTL_TCP 3. UTL_HTTP 4. UTL_FILE

c) Grant a role to users only if they need all privileges of the role
Ensure that the roles you define contain only the privileges that reflect job responsibility. If your application users do not need all the privileges encompassed by an existing role, then apply a different set of roles that supply just the right privileges.
Altenatively, create and assign a more restricted role.

d)Restrict permissions on run-time facilities
Do not assign all permissions to any database server run-time facility such as the Oracle Java Virtual Machine (OJVM). Grant specific permissions to the explicit document root file paths for such facilities that may execute files and packages outside the database server.

6. Enforce access controls cffectively and authenticate clients stringently

a) Authenticate client properly
By default, Oracle allows operating-system-authenticated logins only over secure connections, which precludes using Oracle Net and a shared server configuration. This default restriction prevents a remote user from impersonating another operating system user over a network connection.

Setting the initialization parameter REMOTE_OS_AUTHENT to TRUE forces the RDBMS to accept the client operating system user name received over a nonsecure connection and use it for account access. Since clients, such as PCs, are not trusted to perform operating system authentication properly, it is very poor security practice to turn on this feature.

7. Restrict Operating System Access
Limit the number of operating system users. Limit the privileges of the operating system accounts (administrative, root-privileged or DBA) on the Oracle Database host (physical machine) to the least privileges needed for the user’s tasks.

Oracle also recommends:
•     Restricting the ability to modify the default file and directory permissions for the Oracle Database home (installation) directory or its contents. Even privileged operating system users and the Oracle owner should not modify these permissions, unless instructed otherwise by Oracle.
•     Restricting symbolic links.

8. Restrict Network Access

a) Use a firewall
Keep the database server behind a firewall. Oracle Database network infrastructure, Oracle Net (formerly known as Net8 and SQL*Net), offers support for a variety of firewalls from various vendors.

b) Never poke a hole through a firewall
If Oracle Database is behind a firewall, then do not, under any circumstances, poke a hole through the firewall.
For example, do not leave open port 1521 for Oracle Listener to make a connection to the Internet or vice versa.

c) Protect the Oracle listener
Because the listener acts as the database gateway to the network, it is important to limit the consequences of malicious interference:
Restrict the privileges of the listener, so that it cannot read or write files in the database or the Oracle server address space.

Secure administration of the database by doing the following:

1. Prevent online administration by requiring the administrator to have write privileges on the LISTENER.ORA file and the listener password:

Add or alter this line in the LISTENER.ORA file ADMIN_RESTRICTIONS_LISTENER=ON
Then RELOAD the configuration.

2. Use SSL when administering the listener, by making the TCPS protocol the first entry in the address list as follows:

LISTENER=
 (DESCRIPTION=
 (ADDRESS_LIST=
 (ADDRESS=
 (PROTOCOL=tcps)
 (HOST = ed-pdsun1.us.oracle.com)
 (PORT = 8281)))

3. Always establish a secure, well-formed password for the Oracle listener to prevent remote configuration of the Oracle listener.
4. Remove the external procedure configuration from the listener.ora file if you do not intend to use such procedures.
5. Monitor listener activity.

d) Monitor who accesses your systems

Instead of authenticating client computers over the Internet, make use of user authentication which avoids client system issues that include falsified IP addresses, hacked operating systems or applications, and falsified or stolen client system identities.

The following steps improve client computer security:
a) Configure the connection to use SSL.
Using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) communication makes eavesdropping unfruitful and enables the use of certificates for user and server authentication.
b) Set up certificate authentication for clients and servers such that:

i. The organization is identified by unit and certificate issuer and the user is identified by distinguished name and certificate issuer.
ii. Applications test for expired certificates.
iii. Certificate revocation lists are audited.

e) Check network IP addresses

Use the Oracle Net valid node checking security feature to allow or deny access to Oracle server processes from network clients with specified IP addresses. To use this feature, set the following protocol.ora (Oracle Net configuration file) parameters:

tcp.validnode_checking = YES
tcp.excluded_nodes = {list of IP addresses}
tcp.invited_nodes = {list of IP addresses}

The first parameter turns on the feature whereas the latter parameters respectively deny and allow specific client IP addresses from making connections to the Oracle listener (This helps in preventing potential Denial of Service attacks).

f) Encrypt network traffic

If possible, use Oracle Advanced Security to encrypt network traffic between clients, databases, and application servers.

g) Harden the operating system

Harden the host operating system by disabling all unnecessary operating system services. Both UNIX and Windows platforms provide a variety of operating system services, most of which are not necessary for most deployments. Such services include FTP, TFTP, TELNET, and so forth. Be sure to close both the UDP and TCP ports for each service that is being disabled. Disabling one type of port and not the other does not make the operating system more secure.

9. Apply all security patches

Always apply all relevant and current security patches for both the operating system on which Oracle Database resides and Oracle Database itself, and for all installed Oracle Database options and components.

10. Contact Oracle Security products if you come across a vulnerability in Oracle Database

Source: Based on Oracle Documentaion

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