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I am currently working as IT-maintenance-guy for a classic MVC-system(oracle-db/jboss) at public sector. The newest feature should be the shutdown of my oracle-db-readOnly-Account cause of "security reasons" (<-- Yes, it is not any more specific than that). I tried to some investigation on what that security threats might be, but i ended up finding no argument suiting my case.

My question is: Can a readOnly-Access to an Oracle-Database cause any serious security issues? I am looking for arguments that i can toss at the decision-maker that there is no threat coming from me having a readOnly-Account!

Additional information:

  • I am also inside the house-LAN (behind exterior firewall)
  • I am a learned SQL-user.
  • I don't store data on my local machine and i have no intention of selling/leaking any data. Beside the fact that the data is not the slightest bit intresting for any outsider ;)

Thanks in advance for any good ideas/arguments/issues/hints!!

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    A properly setup read-only account is no threat except that you can log in and see the data that you are allowed to. When you get a generic excuse such as 'security reasons' it really doesn't mean anything to anyone. Perhaps you can justify your reason to access and try again. – Raj Mar 17 '16 at 16:18
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    It all depends on what the security issue is. If your account can read data that you don't need to read, then yes, it might considered a risk. Perhaps the account is a shared account? My advice is to speak with your security team. Do make clear why it is necessary or useful for your work to have an read only account. e.g. if you frequently use this account to test a connection, then a full blown read internal data user is not necessary. – jmk Mar 17 '16 at 16:45
  • if i get some problems reported within the software that is using the database, my first approach is to narrow down the issue with some Selects in the database. After cutting me off, i will have to ask every single SQL-Statement via a chain of employees, which can take weeks and renders my work pretty ineffective ... – bofredo Mar 17 '16 at 16:57
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    First try explaining to whoever sees this as a security risk what your manager expects you to be able to do and why that means you need RO access. If they still don't understand and cannot say anything other than 'security risk' then escalate to your manager saying your job has become impossible as you're DB access has been revoked. Managers get bothered when the work they expect to happen doesn't. – BriteSponge Mar 17 '16 at 17:13
  • BriteSponge, this doesn't work in the public sector :-) Though all your comments sound like, that there is no real threat coming from an RO-Account, so i will start writing a pledge for reason to the superior. – bofredo Mar 17 '16 at 17:35
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Yes, there are.

  1. every account puts load on the server and has the potential to bring it down by overloading it with silly queries or sometimes just bad luck.
  2. more and more important: privacy issues. When a company leaks data they can get serious fines.
  3. company secrets can be stored in the database. Leaking them does not help their case.

control and audits are getting more and more important.

A solution can be to have a copy system in place that generates an adhoc query database that is de-personified enough so privacy concerns can be remedied. It also alleviates the production host from the load caused by the research queries.

A controlled reporting tool can also be helpful, I just don't see how that mitigates privacy concerns other than having predefined reports that just don't show personal data.

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