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Don Burleson Blog 









Oracle rootkits

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

I first discovered an Oracle rootkit attack in 1999 when I had a client complain of poor performance.  Commands such as "ps ef" were not showing the top CPU consumer.  After an investigation we discovered that an Oracle rootkit was hiding a daemon processes which was Hoovering the clients Oracle database via e-mail to a foreign address!

This was a simple Oracle rootkit that replaced the common UNIX detection commands with altered commands.  The Oracle rootkit did this my altering the $PATH variable for the user:

PATH = /u01/oracle/rootkit.$PATH

The Oracle rootkit altered the UNIX ps command to hide the Oracle rootkit process:

ps=`ps |grep v oracle_rootkit`

In UNIX and Linux you can remove the possibility of an Oracle rootkit by having an unalterable master $PATH variable defined by the system administrator with the true $ORACLE_HOME first in the path.

However, Oracle rootkits may be more sophisticated, altering Oracle view definitions to hide the Oracle rootkit processes within Oracle, such as altering the definition of the v$process view to add a WHERE clause to hide the Oracle rootkits malicious process, as shown here:

create view v$session as
. . . .
where user != oracle_rootkit_user;

Oracle security experts properly note that most security exploits are "inside jobs" by trusted people and that many Oracle rootkit attacks require continuous vigilance.  Here is an excellent presentation describing Oracle rootkits and preventative measures.



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