1 Security Overview

This chapter provides a brief overview of security concepts and concerns.

The following topics are discussed:

The dynamic and complex nature of today's IT environments, the potential fallout of security breaches in terms of the financial implications and loss of goodwill coupled with stringent regulatory requirements make security a critical area of consideration for both business and IT managers. While security considerations are important for standalone applications, the introduction of distributed system management applications can make it yet more challenging. While standardized security best practices are available for databases and application servers, there aren't any standardized security benchmarks specifically for system management products. However, Enterprise Manager has been evaluated and in the past, has received a third party security certification, by the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement.

Securing Enterprise Manager requires working closely with System Administrators, Network Administrators, Database Administrators, Application Administrators and the Security team. This document can be used by all concerned parties to identify various security considerations and the best practices for securing Oracle Enterprise Manager deployments. The recommendations in this document are based on our experience with both customer deployments and Oracle's own internal usage of Enterprise Manager.

1.1 Security Threats

The following table briefly summarizes the primary security threats to your Enterprise Manager Cloud Control environment.

Table 1-1 Security Threats

Threats Security Consideration Resolution/Best Practice

Man-in-the-middle attacks

Data confidentiality and integrity

Data Confidentiality and Integrity

  • Not disclosed to any entities unless they are authorized to access

  • Not changed, destroyed, or lost in unauthorized or accidental manner

Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

  • Interrupts, intercepts, modifies or fabricates data in transit

man in the middle attack

Best Practice: Secure communication between Enterprise Manager components.

Denial-of-service attacks

Data availability

Data Availability

  • Available and usable upon demand by an authorized entity

Denial-of-Service attacks

  • Makes Management Repository or OMS unavailable to intended users by flooding them with more requests than they can handle.

denial of service

Best Practice: Secure individual Enterprise Manager components

Password crack attacks



  • The process to verify the identity, usually username and password, claimed by a user

Password Crack Attacks

  • Obtains password from an authentication exchange, then uses the password to log on to Enterprise Manager Cloud Control

    Examples: guessing, dictionary and brute force attacks

denial of service

Best Practice: Change passwords and enable password profiles

Exploitation of authorization

Segregation of duties

Exploitation of Authorization

  • Accesses resources (targets, jobs, templates and so on) not authorized to you

Segregation of Duties

  • No person should be given responsibility for more than one related function

Best Practice: Follow principle of least privileges



Accountability of Actions

  • Network security: Neither sender nor recipient can later deny having processed the information

  • Web Application security: No one can later deny the actions he/she has taken in the application


  • Refuses authoring of something that happened


Best Practice: Audit Enterprise Manager actions

1.2 Security Principles

Underlying all strategies to implement effective system security are the following basic principles:

1.2.1 Separation of Duties and Principle of Least Privilege

The principle of least privilege and separation of duties are concepts that, although semantically different, are intrinsically related from the standpoint of security. The intent behind both is to prevent people from having higher privilege levels than they actually need. Now that their relationship has been framed, let us define the concepts.

  • Principle of Least Privilege: Users should only have the least amount of privileges required to perform their job and no more. This reduces authorization exploitation by limiting access to Enterprise Manager resources such as targets, jobs, or monitoring templates for which they are not authorized.

    Example: A user whose sole responsibility is to monitor and maintain a human resources database does not need privileges to access and manage Enterprise Manager plug-ins on the Oracle Management Services (OMS).

  • Separation of Duties: Beyond limiting user privilege level, you also limit user duties, or the specific jobs they can perform with Enterprise Manager. No user should be given responsibility for more than one related function. This limits the ability of a user to perform a malicious action and then cover up that action.

    Example: You have an Enterprise Manager administrator who is responsible for creating user accounts. However, that administrator may create unnecessary accounts, perhaps for unauthorized colleagues to access confidential systems. If that administrator also has the ability to view and erase the audit logs, then there is a potential problem in that it prevents a wayward administrator from being caught. In this situation, you want to separate the account creation duties from the security administration duties. The person who is the account administrator, in this case, should also not be the security administrator.

In order to be effective, the principle of least privilege and separation of duties should be enforced for all Enterprise Manager users in your organization.

1.2.2 Encryption

Encryption is the process of transforming data into an unreadable format using a secret key and an encryption algorithm. For Enterprise Manager, emkey is the key to encrypting and decrypting sensitive data within your Enterprise Manager environment. It is important that emkey be accessible only to authorized users.

1.2.3 Monitoring for Suspicious Activity (Auditing)

Whenever an Enterprise Manager administrator makes use of higher-level privileges, such as creating new Super Administrator accounts, you should be able to look at the Enterprise Manager audit logs and tell whether those account creation actions were warranted. Enterprise Manager's audit capabilities allow you to monitor and record all administrator actions that take place. You can perform activities such as:

  • Investigating suspicious activity. For example, if a user is frequently accessing systems outside their job responsibilities, then a security administrator might decide to track access to those machines.

  • Notify a supervisor of the actions of an unauthorized user. For example, an unauthorized user could be changing or deleting data, or the user has more privileges than expected, which can lead to reassessing user authorizations.

1.2.4 Non-repudiation

Non-repudiation is a method of establishing user action accountability by "proving" that a user performed a specific action: Users cannot falsely deny that they performed that action. Conversely, non-repudiation also protects users from later being accused of having performed a specific action.

With regard to data, non-repudiation, is a way to prove that a given sender actually sent a particular message. Non-repudiation is typically achieved through the use of digital signatures. The originator of a message uses a cryptographic tool to convert plain, readable messages or plaintext into encrypted ciphertext. While the original text is present, its appearance changes into a form that is unintelligible if intercepted. The message recipient likewise uses a cryptographic tool to decrypt the ciphertext into its original readable format.