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7 Administering User Accounts and Security

This chapter describes how to create and manage user accounts. It contains the following sections:

About User Accounts

For users to access your database, you must create user accounts and grant appropriate database access privileges to those accounts. A user account is identified by a user name and defines the attributes of the user, including the following:

  • Authentication method

  • Password for database authentication

  • Default tablespaces for permanent and temporary data storage

  • Tablespace quotas

  • Account status (locked or unlocked)

  • Password status (expired or not)

When you create a user account, you must not only assign a user name, a password, and default tablespaces for the account, but you must also do the following:

  • Grant the appropriate system privileges, object privileges, and roles to the account.

  • If the user will be creating database objects, then give the user account a space usage quota on each tablespace in which the objects will be created.

Oracle recommends that you grant each user just enough privileges to perform his job, and no more. For example, a database application developer needs privileges to create and modify tables, indexes, views, and stored procedures, but does not need (and should not be granted) privileges to drop (delete) tablespaces or recover the database. You can create user accounts for database administration, and grant only a subset of administrative privileges to those accounts.

In addition, you may want to create user accounts that are used by applications only. That is, nobody logs in with these accounts; instead, applications use these accounts to connect to the database, and users log in to the applications. This type of user account avoids giving application users the ability to log in to the database directly, where they could unintentionally cause damage. See "About User Privileges and Roles" for more information.

When you create a user account, you are also implicitly creating a schema for that user. A schema is a logical container for the database objects (such as tables, views, triggers, and so on) that the user creates. The schema name is the same as the user name, and can be used to unambiguously refer to objects owned by the user. For example, hr.employees refers to the table named employees in the hr schema. (The employees table is owned by hr.) The terms database object and schema object are used interchangeably.

When you delete a user, you must either simultaneously delete all schema objects of that user, or you must have previously deleted the schema objects in separate operations.

Predefined User Accounts

In addition to the user accounts that you create, the database includes several user accounts that are automatically created upon installation.

All databases include the administrative accounts SYS, SYSTEM, SYSMAN, and DBSNMP. Administrative accounts are highly privileged accounts, and are needed only by individuals authorized to perform administrative tasks such as starting and stopping the database, managing database memory and storage, creating and managing database users, and so on. You log in to Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Express (EM Express) with SYS, SYSTEM, or SYSMAN. You assign the passwords for these accounts when you create the database with Oracle Database Configuration Assistant (DBCA). You must not delete these accounts.

All databases also include internal accounts, which are automatically created so that individual Oracle Database features or components such as Oracle Application Express can have their own schemas. To protect these accounts from unauthorized access, they are initially locked and their passwords are expired. (A locked account is an account for which login is disabled.) You must not delete internal accounts, and you must not use them to log in to the database.

Your database may also include sample schemas, if you chose the option to create the sample schemas in your database when the database was installed. The sample schemas are a set of interlinked schemas that enable Oracle documentation and Oracle instructional materials to illustrate common database tasks. These schemas also provide a way for you to experiment without endangering production data.

Each sample schema has a user account associated with it. For example, the hr user account owns the hr schema, which contains a set of simple tables for a human resources application. The sample schema accounts are also initially locked and have an expired password. As the database administrator, you are responsible for unlocking these accounts and assigning passwords to these accounts.

See Also:

About User Privileges and Roles

User privileges provide a basic level of database security. They are designed to control user access to data and to limit the kinds of SQL statements that users can execute. When creating a user, you grant privileges to enable the user to connect to the database, to run queries and make updates, to create schema objects, and more.

The main types of user privileges are as follows:

  • System privileges—A system privilege gives a user the ability to perform a particular action, or to perform an action on any schema objects of a particular type. For example, the system privilege CREATE TABLE permits a user to create tables in the schema associated with that user, and the system privilege CREATE USER permits a user to create database users.

  • Object privileges—An object privilege gives a user the ability to perform a particular action on a specific schema object. Different object privileges are available for different types of schema objects. The privilege to select rows from the EMPLOYEES table or to delete rows from the DEPARTMENTS table are examples of object privileges.

Managing privileges is made easier by using roles, which are named groups of related privileges. You create roles, grant system and object privileges to the roles, and then grant roles to users. You can also grant roles to other roles. Unlike schema objects, roles are not contained in any schema.

Table 7-1 lists three widely used roles that are predefined in Oracle Database. You can grant these roles when you create a user or at any time thereafter.

Table 7-1 Oracle Database Predefined Roles

Role Name Description

CONNECT

Enables a user to connect to the database. Grant this role to any user or application that needs database access.

RESOURCE

Enables a user to create, modify, and delete certain types of schema objects in the schema associated with that user. Grant this role only to developers and to other users that must create schema objects. This role grants a subset of the create object system privileges. For example, it grants the CREATE TABLE system privilege, but does not grant the CREATE VIEW system privilege. It grants only the following privileges: CREATE CLUSTER, CREATE INDEXTYPE, CREATE OPERATOR, CREATE PROCEDURE, CREATE SEQUENCE, CREATE TABLE, CREATE TRIGGER, CREATE TYPE.

DBA

Enables a user to perform most administrative functions, including creating users and granting privileges; creating and granting roles; creating, modifying, and deleting schema objects in any schema; and more. It grants all system privileges, but does not include the privileges to start or shut down the database instance. It is by default granted to users SYS and SYSTEM.


See Also:

About Administrative Accounts and Privileges

Administrative accounts and privileges enable you to perform administrative functions such as managing users, managing database memory, and starting up and shutting down the database.

This section contains the following topics:

SYS and SYSTEM Users

The following administrative user accounts are automatically created when you install Oracle Database. They are both created with the password that you supplied upon installation, and they are both automatically granted the DBA role.

  • SYS

    This account can perform all administrative functions. All base (underlying) tables and views for the database data dictionary are stored in the SYS schema. These base tables and views are critical for the operation of Oracle Database. To maintain the integrity of the data dictionary, tables in the SYS schema are manipulated only by the database. They should never be modified by any user or database administrator. You must not create any tables in the SYS schema.

    The SYS user is granted the SYSDBA privilege, which enables a user to perform high-level administrative tasks such as backup and recovery.

  • SYSTEM

    This account can perform all administrative functions except the following:

    • Backup and recovery

    • Database upgrade

    While this account can be used to perform day-to-day administrative tasks, Oracle strongly recommends creating named user accounts for administering the Oracle database to enable monitoring of database activity.

Note:

SYSBACKUP is another automatically created account that is used to perform backup and recovery. See "Configuring Users to Perform Backup and Recovery" for more information.

SYSDBA and SYSOPER System Privileges

SYSDBA and SYSOPER are administrative privileges required to perform high-level administrative operations such as creating, starting up, shutting down, backing up, or recovering the database. The SYSDBA system privilege is for fully empowered database administrators and the SYSOPER system privilege allows a user to perform basic operational tasks, but without the ability to look at user data.

The SYSDBA and SYSOPER system privileges allow access to a database instance even when the database is not open. Control of these privileges is therefore completely outside of the database itself. This control enables an administrator who is granted one of these privileges to connect to the database instance to start the database.

You can also think of the SYSDBA and SYSOPER privileges as types of connections that enable you to perform certain database operations for which privileges cannot be granted in any other way. For example, if you have the SYSDBA privilege, then you can connect to the database using AS SYSDBA.

The SYS user is automatically granted the SYSDBA privilege upon installation. When you log in as user SYS, you must connect to the database as SYSDBA or SYSOPER. Connecting as a SYSDBA user invokes the SYSDBA privilege; connecting as SYSOPER invokes the SYSOPER privilege. EM Express does not permit you to log in as user SYS without connecting as SYSDBA or SYSOPER.

When you connect with the SYSDBA or SYSOPER privilege, you connect with a default schema, not with the schema that is generally associated with your user name. For SYSDBA this schema is SYS; for SYSOPER the schema is PUBLIC.

Caution:

When you connect as user SYS, you have unlimited privileges on data dictionary tables. Be certain that you do not modify any data dictionary tables.

See Also:

Administering Roles

Roles are named groups of related system and object privileges. You create roles and then assign them to users and to other roles.

This section contains the following topics:

See Also:

Viewing Roles

You view roles on the Roles page of EM Express.

To view roles: 

  1. Log into EM Express with a user account that has privileges to manage roles. An example of such a user account is SYSTEM.

    See Also:

    "SYS and SYSTEM Users" for information about the recommended alternative to using the SYSTEM account for day-to-day administrative tasks
  2. From the Security menu, select Roles.

    The Roles page appears.

    Description of exp_roles_page.gif follows
    Description of the illustration exp_roles_page.gif

  3. To view the details of a particular role, select the name of the role you want to view, and then from the Actions list, select View Details.

    You can also use the Search area of the page to search for a particular role. In the Search field, enter the first few letters of the role. As you type, the list of roles in the table are restricted to the roles whose names include the letters you entered.

    The View Role page appears. In this page, you can see all the privileges and roles granted to the selected role.

Example: Creating a Role

Suppose you want to create a role called APPDEV for application developers. Because application developers must be able to create, modify, and delete the schema objects that their applications use, you want the APPDEV role to include the system privileges shown in Table 7-2.

Table 7-2 System Privileges Granted to the APPDEV Role

Privilege Description

CREATE TABLE

Enables a user to create, modify, and delete tables in his schema.

CREATE VIEW

Enables a user to create, modify, and delete views in his schema.

CREATE PROCEDURE

Enables a user to create, modify, and delete procedures in his schema.

CREATE TRIGGER

Enables a user to create, modify, and delete triggers in his schema.

CREATE SEQUENCE

Enables a user to create, modify, and delete sequences in his schema.

CREATE SYNONYM

Enables a user to create, modify, and delete synonyms in his schema.


Note:

If you create an APPDEV role for application developers at your company, you should follow the principle of least privilege, in which you grant to your application developers only the privileges needed to perform their job function, and no more. Therefore, the set of privileges that you grant to the APPDEV role for your company may be different than the system privileges that are granted to the APPDEV role in Table 7-2.

To create the APPDEV role: 

  1. Go to the Roles page, as described in "Viewing Roles".

  2. Click Create Role.

    The Create Role wizard appears, with the New Role page showing.

  3. In the Role Name field, enter APPDEV.

  4. Click the right arrow.

    The Privilege page appears.

    Description of exp_create_role_privs.gif follows
    Description of the illustration exp_create_role_privs.gif

    The available system privileges and roles table on the left shows the available system privileges that can be assigned to the role. Roles are identified by a check mark in the Is Role column. The selected system privileges and roles table on the right shows the system privileges and roles that are currently selected for the role. Select one or more system privileges or roles in either table, and then click the appropriate arrow button to move those privileges to the other table.

    Move the CREATE TABLE, CREATE VIEW, CREATE PROCEDURE, CREATE TRIGGER, CREATE SEQUENCE, and CREATE SYNONYM system privileges to the selected system privileges and roles table for the APPDEV role that is being created.

    In the selected system privileges and roles table, enable the WITH ADMIN option for a system privilege or role if you want users who will be granted the APPDEV role you are defining to be able to grant the system privilege or role in the selected system privileges and roles table to other users.

  5. Click OK.

    The APPDEV role now appears in the table of database roles on the Roles page.

Example: Modifying a Role

Suppose your applications make use of Oracle Streams Advanced Queuing, and you determine that developers must be granted the roles AQ_ADMINISTRATOR_ROLE and AQ_USER_ROLE to develop and test their applications. You must edit the APPDEV role to grant it these two Advanced Queuing roles.

To modify the APPDEV role: 

  1. Go to the Roles page, as described in "Viewing Roles".

  2. Select the APPDEV role, and from the Actions menu, choose Alter Privileges.

    The Alter Privileges page appears.

  3. Move the AQ_ADMINISTRATOR_ROLE and AQ_USER_ROLE roles from the available system privileges and roles table on the left to the selected system privileges and roles table on the right to grant these two roles to the APPDEV role.

  4. Click OK.

    A confirmation statement appears.

Deleting a Role

Use caution when deleting a role, because EM Express deletes a role even if that role is currently granted to one or more users. Dropping (deleting) a role automatically removes the privileges associated with that role from all users that had been granted the role.

To delete a role: 

  1. Go to the Roles page, as described in "Viewing Roles".

  2. Select the role you want to delete, and then click Drop Role.

    A confirmation page appears.

  3. Click OK.

    A confirmation message indicates that the role has been deleted successfully.

Administering Database User Accounts

This section provides instructions for creating and managing user accounts for the people and applications that use your database. It contains the following topics:

Viewing User Accounts

You view user accounts on the Users page of EM Express.

To view users: 

  1. Log into EM Express with a user account that has privileges to manage users, for example, SYSTEM.

    See Also:

    "SYS and SYSTEM Users" for information about the recommended alternative to using the SYSTEM account for day-to-day administrative tasks
  2. From the Security menu, select Users.

    The Users page appears.

    Description of exp_users_page.gif follows
    Description of the illustration exp_users_page.gif

  3. To view the details of a particular user, do one of the following:

    • Click the user name.

    • Select the user by clicking anywhere in the row except on the user name, and from the Actions menu, select View Details.

    The View User page appears, and displays all user attributes.

Example: Creating a User Account

Suppose you want to create a user account for a database application developer named Nick. Because Nick is a developer, you want to grant him the database privileges and roles that he requires to build and test his applications. You also want to give Nick a 16 MB quota on his default tablespace so that he can create schema objects in that tablespace.

To create the user Nick: 

  1. Go to the Users page, as described in "Viewing User Accounts".

  2. On the Users page, click Create User.

    The Create User wizard appears, showing the User Account page.

  3. Enter the following values:

    • In the Name field, enter NICK.

    • Accept the default value Password in the Authentication list.

      For information about other more advanced methods to authenticate users, see Oracle Database Security Guide.

    • In the Password and Confirm Password fields, enter a secure password for user Nick.

      See Oracle Database Security Guide for more information about secure passwords.

    • In the Profile list, accept the value DEFAULT.

      This setting assigns the default password policy to user Nick.

      See "Setting the Database Password Policy".

    • Enable the Password Expired option. When this option is enabled at user creation time, then the user must create a new password the first time he logs into his account.

    • Do not select Account Locked.

      You can lock the user account later to prevent users from logging in with it. To temporarily deny access to a user account, locking the user account is preferable to deleting it, because deleting it also deletes all schema objects owned by the user.

  4. Click the right arrow button.

    The Tablespaces page appears.

  5. Enter the following values:

    • For the Default Tablespace field, select the USERS tablespace.

      All schema objects that Nick creates will then be created in the USERS tablespace unless he specifies otherwise. If you leave the Default Tablespace field blank, then Nick is assigned the default tablespace for the database, which is USERS in a newly installed database. For more information about the USERS tablespace, see "About Tablespaces".

    • For the Temporary Tablespace field, select the TEMP tablespace.

      If you leave the Temporary Tablespace field blank, then Nick is assigned the default temporary tablespace for the database, which is TEMP in a newly installed database. For more information about the TEMP tablespace, see "About Tablespaces".

  6. Click the right arrow button.

    The Privilege page appears.

  7. Grant roles, system privileges, and object privileges to the user, as described in "Example: Granting Privileges and Roles to a User Account".

  8. Assign a 16 MB quota on the USERS tablespace, as described in "Example: Assigning a Tablespace Quota to a User Account".

Creating a New User Account by Duplicating an Existing User Account

To create a user account that is similar in attributes to an existing user account, you can duplicate the existing user account.

To create a new user account by duplicating an existing user account:

  1. Go to the Users page, as described in "Viewing User Accounts".

  2. Select a user to duplicate.

  3. Click Create Like.

  4. The Create User wizard appears, showing the User Account page.

    To finish creating the new user, follow steps 3 through 8 in "Example: Creating a User Account".

Example: Granting Privileges and Roles to a User Account

Suppose you are creating or modifying a user account named NICK for an application developer named Nick. Because Nick is a database application developer, you will grant NICK the APPDEV role, which enables him to create database objects in his own schema (you created the APPDEV role in "Example: Creating a Role"). You also want him to be able to connect to the database, so you will grant him the CREATE SESSION system privilege. In addition, because he is developing a human resources application, you want him to be able to view the tables in the hr sample schema that is provided with Oracle Database, so you will grant him the SELECT object privilege for all the tables in the hr sample schema. The sample schemas that are provided by Oracle Database include fictitious data that is intended to be used for example and demonstration purposes, so granting NICK access to the hr sample schema provided by Oracle Database does not grant him access to any sensitive data. The following table summarizes the privileges and roles that will be granted to NICK.

Grant Type Privilege or Role Name
Role APPDEV
System privilege CREATE SESSION
Object privilege SELECT on all tables in the hr sample schema provided with Oracle Database

The following example assumes that you are in the process of creating the user account for Nick. The example also assumes that you have not yet granted any privileges or roles to Nick.

To grant privileges and roles to the user Nick: 

  1. On the Privilege page, find and select the APPDEV role and the CREATE SESSION system privilege in the available system privileges and roles table on the left, and use the right arrow button to move them to the selected system privileges and roles table on the right.

    Description of exp_create_user_role_privs.gif follows
    Description of the illustration exp_create_user_role_privs.gif

  2. Click OK.

    A confirmation message appears, and user NICK is created.

  3. Go to the View User page for user NICK, as described in "Viewing User Accounts".

  4. Click the Object Privileges subtab.

    The Object Privileges subpage appears.

  5. Click the Grant button.

    The Grant Object Privileges wizard appears, with the Select Schema and Object Type page displayed.

    Description of exp_grant_obj_priv_sch.gif follows
    Description of the illustration exp_grant_obj_priv_sch.gif

  6. In the Schema list, select HR, and in the Object Type list, select Tables.

    In this example, user NICK is being granted the SELECT object privilege for all the tables in the hr sample schema provided by Oracle Database, which contains fictitious data intended for example and demonstration purposes. He is not being granted access to any sensitive data.

  7. Click the right arrow button.

    The Select Objects page appears.

  8. Move all the tables from the available objects table on the left to the selected objects table on the right to make those tables available to user NICK.

  9. Click the right arrow button.

    The Grant Object Privileges page appears.

  10. Select the SELECT privilege in the Privilege list to grant NICK the SELECT privilege for all of the tables in the hr sample schema provided by Oracle Database.

  11. Click OK to save the new object privilege grants.

    A confirmation message appears.

Example: Assigning a Tablespace Quota to a User Account

Suppose you are creating or modifying a user account named Nick. You want to assign Nick a space usage quota of 16 MB on his default tablespace.

You must assign Nick a tablespace quota on his default tablespace before he can create objects in that tablespace. (This is also true for any other tablespace in which Nick wants to create objects.) After a quota is assigned to Nick for a particular tablespace, the total space used by all of his objects in that tablespace cannot exceed the quota. You can also assign a quota of UNLIMITED.

The following example assumes that you are in the process of creating the user account for Nick or editing the account. The example also assumes that Nick has not yet been assigned a quota on any tablespaces.

To assign a tablespace quota to user Nick: 

  1. Go to the View User page for user Nick, as described in "Viewing User Accounts".

  2. Select the Quotas subpage.

    The Quotas subpage appears, showing that user Nick does not have a quota assigned on any tablespace.

  3. Select the USERS tablespace, and then click Edit.

    The Alter Quota page appears.

  4. In the Quota field, enter 16M to assign a quota of 16 MB on the USERS tablespace for user Nick.

    When you enter a value in the Quota field, EM Express rounds the value up to a multiple of the number of database blocks when it changes the quota for the selected tablespace. For example, if the database uses database blocks that are 8K in size and you enter a value of 10K in the Quota field, EM Express will round 10K up to 16K (2 blocks) when it changes the quota for the tablespace.

  5. Click OK to save the new quota assignment.

    A confirmation message appears.

Example: Modifying a User Account

Suppose you want to remove the quota limitations for the user Nick on his default tablespace, USERS. To do so, you must modify his user account.

To modify the user Nick: 

  1. Go to the Users page, as described in "Viewing User Accounts".

  2. Select the user account NICK, and from the Actions menu, select View Details.

    The View User page appears, with the Privileges & Roles subpage displayed.

  3. Click the Quotas subtab.

    The Quotas subpage appears.

  4. Select tablespace USERS and then click Edit.

    The Alter Quota page appears.

  5. In the Quota field, enter Unlimited.

  6. Click OK.

    A confirmation message appears.

Locking and Unlocking User Accounts

To temporarily deny access to the database for a particular user account, you can lock the user account. If the user then attempts to connect, then the database displays an error message and does not allow the connection. You can unlock the user account when you want to permit database access again for that user.

To lock or unlock a user account: 

  1. Go to the Users page, as described in "Viewing User Accounts".

  2. Click the desired user account.

  3. From the Actions menu, select Alter Account.

    The Alter Account page appears.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To lock the account, enable the Account Locked option, and then click OK.

    • To unlock the account, disable the Account Locked option, and then click OK.

Expiring a User Password

When you expire a user password, the user is prompted to change his or her password the next time that user logs in. Reasons to expire a password include the following:

  • A user password becomes compromised.

  • You have a security policy in place that requires users to change their passwords on a regular basis.

    Note:

    You can automate the automatic expiring of user passwords after a certain interval. See "Setting the Database Password Policy".
  • A user has forgotten his or her password.

    In this third case, you modify the user account, assign a new temporary password, and expire the password. The user then logs in with the temporary password and is prompted to choose a new password.

To expire a user password: 

  1. Go to the Users page, as described in "Viewing User Accounts".

  2. Click the desired user account.

  3. From the Actions menu, select Alter Account.

    The Alter Account page appears.

  4. Enable Password Expired, and then click OK.

Example: Deleting a User Account

Suppose user Nick has moved to another department. Because it is no longer necessary for him to have access to the database, you want to delete his user account.

You must use caution when deciding to deleting a user account, because this action also deletes all schema objects owned by the user. To prevent a user from logging in to the database while keeping the schema objects intact, lock the user account instead. See "Locking and Unlocking User Accounts".

To delete user Nick: 

  1. Go to the Users page, as described in "Viewing User Accounts".

  2. Select the user account Nick, and then click Drop User. If you select the Cascade option, all the objects in Nick's schema will be deleted before user Nick's account is deleted.

    A confirmation page appears.

  3. Click OK to confirm the deletion of the user account.

Setting the Database Password Policy

This section provides background information and instructions for setting the password policy for all user accounts in the database. It contains the following topics:

About Password Policies

When you create a user account, a default password policy is assigned to that user account. The default password policy for a newly installed database includes these directives:

  • The password for the user account expires automatically in 180 days.

  • The user account is locked 7 days after password expiration.

  • The user account is locked for 1 day after 10 failed login attempts.

The default password policy is assigned to user accounts through a database object called a profile. Each user account is assigned a profile, and the profile has several attributes that describe a password policy. The database comes with a default profile (named DEFAULT), and unless you specify otherwise when you create a user account, the default profile is assigned to the user account.

For better database security, you may want to impose a more strict password policy. For example, you may want passwords to expire every 70 days, and you may want to lock user accounts after three failed login attempts. (A failed login attempt for a user account occurs when a user enters an incorrect password for the account.) You may also want to require that passwords be complex enough to provide reasonable protection against intruders who try to break into the system by guessing passwords. For example, you might specify that passwords must contain at least one number and one punctuation mark.

You change the password policy for every user account in the database by modifying the password-related attributes of the DEFAULT profile.

Note:

It is possible to have different password policies for different user accounts. You accomplish this by creating multiple profiles, setting password-related attributes differently for each profile, and assigning different profiles to different user accounts. This scenario is not addressed in this section.

Modifying the Default Password Policy

You modify the default password policy for every database user account by modifying the password-related attributes of the profile named DEFAULT.

To modify the default password policy: 

  1. Log into EM Express with a user account that has privileges to manage the default password policy. An example of such a user account is SYSTEM.

    See Also:

    "SYS and SYSTEM Users" for information about the recommended alternative to using the SYSTEM account for day-to-day administrative tasks
  2. In the Security menu, select Profiles.

    The Profiles page appears.

  3. Select the profile named DEFAULT, and from the Actions menu, select Alter Profile.

    The Alter Profile wizard appears, with the General page showing.

  4. Click the right arrow button.

    The Password page appears.

    Description of exp_alter_profile_pwd.gif follows
    Description of the illustration exp_alter_profile_pwd.gif

  5. Change field values as required. Click the down arrow next to each field to view a list of choices. Select a value from the list, or enter a value.

  6. Click OK to save your changes.

    A confirmation message appears.

Users: Oracle By Example Series

Oracle By Example (OBE) has a series on the Oracle Database 2 Day DBA guide. This OBE steps you through the tasks in this chapter and includes annotated screenshots.

To view the Administering User Accounts and Security OBE, enter the following URL in your web browser:

https://apex.oracle.com/pls/apex/f?p=44785:24:0::NO:24:P24_CONTENT_ID,P24_PREV_PAGE:6287,1