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The 2020 Security Best Practices for Oracle Database

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On exploring the legacy database applications of many of the leading enterprises across the globe, we can see Oracle technologies powering up their database systems. Oracle databases are considered to be a potent and integral part of the technological infrastructure of many organizations. By processing their online transactions with optimum speed and accuracy, Oracle acts as the backbone of many enterprise success stories.

As most of the critical and sensitive data of any given organization are stored in the databases, they always remain as the appealing targets of the hackers too. Because data-focused cyberattacks are on an all-time rise now, the organizations need to ensure all possible measures in place to safeguard their data.

Including Oracle, no DBMS are void of security risks. Still, you can always custom configure and manage your database systems to eradicate or drastically reduce the possibility of a security breach. Here, in this post, we will explore some of the latest security best practices for Oracle database. These products and practices can help you take a step ahead in securing enterprise database systems and also reduce the vectors of vulnerabilities which can be used against you, which is denoted by the term ‘Oracle database hardening.’

Oracle DBA security best practices

Some of the top tips from the experts for Oracle database hardening at a glance are

  • Change the default passwords
  • Patch early
  • Patch as often as possible
  • Limit and control the user privileges
  • Monitor your database continuously
  • Audit your database regularly
  • Ensure robust authentication processes in place
  • Usage add-on security tools for managing sensitive data
  • Make use of reliable tools like database performance analyzer, patch manager, security event manager, database firewalls etc.
  • Most importantly, educate the internal and external users of your database and always stay vigilant.

Let us next explore the most critical Oracle best security practices in detail

Changing the default passwords

It is an easy and obvious security best practice to get rid of the default passwords and replace those with more secured custom-made passwords. Easily hackable passwords are the first target of hackers. They tend to start with the techniques which require the least amount of effort and trying to fake the password is the first option.

It is also noted that misconfigured databases remain most susceptible to cyberattacks. So, the administrators need to change the default or weak passwords with something more complex. Also, make sure that the stored passwords are always encrypted. On Oracle, it is accessible to with the Secure External Password Store, which can create a wallet for protection of all the stored credentials.

As RemoteDBA experts suggest for you, Oracle Database features a lot of useful tools to ensure password security, but most of them may be disabled by default. So, you need first to ensure that these tools and features are enabled to take full benefit of the same. One tool you can find which is built-in thee is the password cracker ‘checked’. It can scan local password hashes of users and then compress it against the given dictionary file. It will thereby identify the accounts with the weakest password, and you can also use the SQL scripts to determine if any of the user’s accounts access your databases with the default passwords.

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Another best feature available is password verification which is also there by default, though it is disabled by default. However, this can be easily enabled by simply logging not the SQL*Plus which gives you the admin privileges. The default password requirements can be easily modified to suit your specifications and needs of your enterprise.

Oracle database also has features like a lockout, which will help prevent any cyberattacks by keeping the user’s credentials locked after a set number of invalid tries. This will reduce the threats of brute force attacks which allow the hackers to try and access your database relentlessly.

Patch often

You need to keep the software application up to date, which is a vital part of maintaining a very secured database. In addition to installing the latest version of the DBMS and keeping the host OS up to date, you also need to be concerned about patching it timely.

Oracle used to release the critical patch updates yearly four times in January, April, July, and in October. Each of these patches will have fixed for all Oracle products and also information about the potential vulnerabilities. Security professionals always insist on applying these patches immediately as they get released. You can prepare yourself for the scheduled updates and then view the security alerts also from time to time at the Oracle website.

Limit the user privileges to only needed

It is always better to ask their forgiveness than giving the permissions to all. The most preferred approach here is to prevent any security issues in the first place than looking for the cure later once the harm is already made. One reliable way to do this is to by limiting the user privileges assigned to each type of user accounts. You need only to grant the sole privileges necessary for each of the user to carry out their job-related responsibilities.

This approach will prevent users from carrying out any unnecessary activities by gaining access to tools and applications they do not need. It will also prevent the database from suffering any unauthorized additions, deletions, or editing of information stored in the DB. 

Countering the internal threats this way is one of the most challenging aspects of the Oracle security practices. The practice is to ask the users to follow the protocol of approaching the administrators for assistance than giving them access to all admin privileges to do the one-off tasks by themselves. It is also an excellent practice to review this regularly and revise the user privileges whenever necessary. Strictly following this will surely help prevent any unauthorized access and security threats to the most sensitive enterprise data.

Along with the above measures on Oracle database, the provider also insists on doing regular database audits, implementing the strongest authentication methods, and using all available security tools to handle sensitive data.

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