[ISN] Oracle paints a bull's-eye for hackers

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Dec 11 2001 - 21:54:13 PST

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    December 10, 2001 5:38 AM PT
    SAN FRANCISCO -- Since Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison began
    boasting that his software was "unbreakable," hackers have taken that
    as a challenge to try to crack the company's code and the confidence
    behind its brash marketing effort, executives said this week.
    In the seven weeks Oracle's "Unbreakable" ad campaign has been
    running, hacking attempts on the company's Web site have increased
    ten-fold, Ellison said during his Oracle OpenWorld keynote this week.
    `"Normally we get roughly 3,000 attacks a week. Now we're getting
    30,000 attacks a week," Mark Jarvis, senior vice president and chief
    marketing officer, told Reuters. "We are not inviting hackers to come
    and attack our site. They have decided to take it on of their own
    So far the Oracle fortress is holding up, mostly because the attackers
    are trying to break in by exploiting potential holes in Windows NT and
    Oracle is running Oracle 9i Application Server on Unix, according to
    "People are sending attacks to Oracle.com to try to find the NT bugs,
    but sadly it's like a fly hitting a wind screen. The wind screen
    doesn't budge," Jarvis said.
    "Microsoft doesn't even use NT on their own Web site. They use Unix,"  
    he added. "It's rather ironic."
    Microsoft executives were unavailable for comment, a spokeswoman said
    on Thursday and Friday.
    The "Unbreakable" marketing campaign, which shares its title with the
    2000 movie starring Bruce Willis as a security guard with seemingly
    superhuman powers of survival, has been the company's most successful
    marketing effort ever, according to Jarvis.
    The Redwood Shores, California company has spent $30 million on it and
    plans to spend another $70 million--"every marketing dollar we have,"  
    he said, adding that it has resulted thousands of phone calls, e-mails
    and registrations on the Web site seeking more information.
    Oracle executives had been trying since June to figure out a simple
    way to say their software is robust and reliable when Ellison thought
    of "Unbreakable" in early September, Jarvis said.
    After the attacks of Sept. 11, executives discussed briefly whether it
    was appropriate to go ahead with their marketing plan and decided they
    would, he said.
    In his keynote, Ellison said his engineers warned him that hackers
    might take up the challenge.
    "And they said, 'Are you crazy? We're going to get creamed, ...  
    everybody from the Soviet Union to Redmond, Washington, is going to be
    attacking our site,'" he recounted.
    "People aren't supposed to be able to break into our site, by the way,
    guys. That's how we distinguish ourselves from the game
    manufacturers," Ellison quipped, in a reference to software rival
    Microsoft, which launched its next-generation game platform, the Xbox,
    last month.
    There's no doubt the slogan accurately reflects Oracle's image.
    "It's a little brash, a little boastful, a bit challenging," said
    Jarvis, who could easily be describing Ellison himself. "It's so
    typically Oracle. It's just our style."
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