Oracle issues largest patch bundle ever, fixing 276 security flaws

The patches address flaws in over 80 products

Oracle has released a new quarterly batch of security updates for more than 80 products from its software portfolio, fixing 276 vulnerabilities.

This is the largest Oracle Critical Patch Update (CPU) to date. The average number of flaws fixed per Oracle update last year was 161, according to security vendor Qualys. Furthermore, out of the 276 security flaws fixed in this update, 159 can be exploited remotely without authentication.

At the top of the priority list should be the Java patches, which address 13 new vulnerabilities. That's because Java is used in a lot of applications and is installed on a large number of systems.

"Customers really do need to apply these Java CPU patches as soon as possible,"  said John Matthew Holt, the CTO of application security firm Waratek, via email. Among the patches that require urgent attention are those for the HotSpot Java virtual machine for desktops and servers, which received high CVSS (Common Vulnerabilities Scoring System) scores, Holt noted.

The Oracle Database Server received patches for nine vulnerabilities, one of which is rated critical with a score of nine out of 10 in the CVSS. Meanwhile, the Oracle MySQL database received fixes for 22 new security issues, four of them with a high severity rating.

While databases are not typically exposed to the internet, they often hold a company's most important data, so these fixes should be given a high priority.

According to Qualys, companies should also turn their attention to assets that can be directly attacked from the internet. These include web and application servers like Oracle HTTP Server, WebLogic Server and GlassFish Server, which are part of Oracle's Fusion Middleware suite.

Fusion Middleware products and components received fixes for a total of thirty-five flaws, five of them rated critical with a CVSS score of 9.8.

The Oracle Sun Systems Products Suite also received a large number of patches: 34. This includes fixes for the Solaris OS and networking switches that can be targeted by attackers remotely.

Depending on their industry vertical, companies should also look at the fixes for industry-specific products such as Oracle Supply Chain, Oracle Communications, Oracle Banking Platform, Oracle Financial Services Applications, Health Sciences, Oracle Insurance Applications, Oracle Utilities Applications and the Oracle products for the retail sector.

Issues were identified and patched in application components like Integration Bus, Order Broker, Service Backbone, and Inventory management.

The components "play a vital role in Retail infrastructure and provide integration between other Oracle retail components and the rest of a company infrastructure including other mission-critical applications," said analysts from security firm ERPScan via email. "Attacks on those applications can disrupt business processes (such as payment or supply chain) in a retail company. Also, an attacker can exploit those issues to control all data transferring between components and, thus, commit fraud by changing some data during transfer."

Oracle advises users to install patches without delay, warning that attackers constantly try to exploit flaws for which the company has already released fixes. Sometimes attackers are successful because customers didn't apply the existing patches, the company said.

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Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
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