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Not So Unbreakable

By Steve Jones,

There's a report on Dark Reading that says some researchers think Oracle is not working on security as hard as they should. The proportion of security fixes has diminished, which some people think implies that they are not taking security as seriously as they should. The window of time between the disclosure and the patch has grown wider, which is troubling, especially when newer software displays vulnerabilities.

I've been proud to work on SQL Server over the last 6 years from a security perspective as there have been very few security patches issued, and correspondingly, few vulnerabilities disclosed. It's possible Microsoft has muzzled some researchers, but I doubt it. I would guess that if any serious security issues existed in SLQ Server 2005, 2008, or R2, we'd have heard about them. I think the security engineering process that is used for SQL Server has truly resulted in more secure software.

It's possible that Oracle faces a resource issue with all their acquisitions, but for a billion dollar company that employs over 100,000 people, they shouldn't be having resource issues with their development process. It's a question of accepting greater development costs in order to ensure their software is secure.

This is one area where we ought to have independent security researchers that can discuss, debate, and disclose vulnerabilities, after a limited amount of time. That would help us at least understand the security risks we face, and perhaps pressure companies to build better software.

Steve Jones


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