The patches are available on OTN (the Oracle Technology Network).
The product flaws vary in terms of exploitability. Oracle Database has 12 flaws, including a flaw in Database 10gs Oracle OLAP (online analytical processing) that requires Database privilege—execute on olapsys—but which, according to Oracles posting, is both easily accessible and would have a wide impact.
Oracles Application Server also has a dozen flaws that span the range in terms of authorization required, severity of impact and ease of exploitation. Collaboration Suite has six flaws and E-Business Suite has 17, while Enterprise Manager has two.
The new database vulnerabilities addressed by this Critical Patch Update dont affect Oracle Database Client-only installations (installations that dont have the Oracle Database Server installed).
Therefore, according to Oracles posting, it is not necessary to apply this Critical Patch Update to client-only installations if a prior Critical Patch Update, or Alert 68, has already been applied to the client-only installations.
The Oracle Database Server, Enterprise Manager and Oracle Application Server patches are cumulative, containing all fixes from the previous Critical Patch Update.
Not so for E-Business Suite or Collaboration Suite patches, however, so customers using these products should refer to previous Critical Patch Updates to identify previous fixes they need to apply.
This is the third of Oracles Critical Patch Updates since the company started cumulative patch releases in January.
Jon Oltsik, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said that Oracle customers are mostly comfortable with Oracles new patching strategy, but they would like Oracle to be more proactive with emergency patches.
"If any are high impact, if I were a customer and had a major investment in Oracle, I wouldnt want to wait around for the cumulative patch release," he said. "I want to know about them immediately and apply them immediately."
In contrast, Microsoft offers custom services for big enterprise customers. Oracle has resisted that, Oltsik said, since its more difficult from a process perspective to offer such services. "[But] if Im a big customer, I dont care about your processes," he said. "If Im buying from you, give me good service."
"People tend to criticize Microsoft from [the standpoint of] general security and number of vulnerabilities," Oltsik said. "But from [the perspective of] patching and management strategies, theyre very, very good and flexible. Id say, more so than Oracle."