What Is the Product User Profile?

The product user profile is an Oracle table, owned by the SYSTEM user, that contains a list of SQL*Plus command restrictions by user. The table may contain role restrictions as well. The name of this table used to be product_user_profile . Now it is product_profile , but a synonym named product_user_profile exists to ensure backward compatibility.

13.1.1 Why Does the Product User Profile Exist?

Primarily, the aproduct user profile enables you to give end users access to SQL*Plus for reporting and ad hoc query purposes, yet restrict them from using SQL statements such as INSERT and DELETE that might damage production data.

Real-world applications typically implement many business rules, edit checks, and security at the application level rather than within the database. Modifying the data using an ad hoc tool, such as SQL*Plus, bypasses the rules and risks data integrity. Because of this, it's usually important to ensure that data are modified through the application, where the rules can be enforced.

If you give people an application that requires a database username and password, and those people have access to SQL*Plus, it won't be too long before some curious and adventurous soul will figure out that the same username and password that works for the application will work for SQL*Plus. Next thing you know, you will have someone running ad hoc queries that haven't been tuned , or, worse yet, you may have someone issuing ad hoc INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statements. The product user profile allows you to defend against this risk.

13.1.2 The product_profile Table

The product_profile table is owned by SYSTEM and has the following structure:

Name Null? Type

 ------------------------------- -------- ----

 PRODUCT NOT NULL VARCHAR2(30)

 USERID VARCHAR2(30)

 ATTRIBUTE VARCHAR2(240)

 SCOPE VARCHAR2(240)

 NUMERIC_VALUE NUMBER(15,2)

 CHAR_VALUE VARCHAR2(240)

 DATE_VALUE DATE

 LONG_VALUE LONG

Most users won't have SELECT access on the table itself, so if you aren't logged in as SYSTEM, you may not be able to DESCRIBE the table. Instead, you should have access to a view on the table named product_privs . This view returns all the records from the product_profile table that apply to the currently logged-on user ”you. Figure 13-1 shows the table, the view, the synonyms that normally exist, and the relationships among them.

Figure 13-1. The product user profile table, view, and synonyms

figs/sqp2_1301.gif

Table 13-1 summarizes the purpose of each of the elements shown in Figure 13-1.

Table 13-1. Product user profile elements

Element

Who sees it?

Purpose

product_profile table

SYSTEM

This is the product user profile table itself

product_user_profile private synonym

SYSTEM

Provides backward compatibility, because the table name used to be product_user_profile

product_privs view

All users

A view that shows each user the restrictions that apply to him

product_user_profile public synonym

All users

A public synonym pointing to the view

product_profile public synonym

All users

A public synonym pointing to the view

 

13.1.3 How the Product User Profile Works

When you log into an Oracle database using SQL*Plus, SQL*Plus issues two SELECT statements against the product user profile. The first SELECT retrieves a list of command restrictions and looks like this:

SELECT attribute, scope, 

 numeric_value, char_value, date_value 

FROM system.product_privs 

WHERE (UPPER('SQL*Plus') LIKE UPPER(product)) 

 AND (UPPER(user) LIKE UPPER(userid))

 

The two fields of interest to SQL*Plus are attribute and char_value . Together, these columns tell SQL*Plus which commands to disable for the logged-on user. For example, the following two rows are returned for a user who has been denied access to the DELETE and HOST statements:

ATTRIBUTE CHAR_VALUE

---------- ---------------------

DELETE DISABLED

HOST DISABLED

 

A second SELECT is issued against the product user profile to retrieve any role restrictions for the user. Here's what that statement looks like:

SELECT char_value 

FROM system.product_privs 

WHERE (UPPER('SQL*Plus') LIKE UPPER(product)) 

 AND ( (UPPER(user) LIKE UPPER(userid)) 

 OR (UPPER(userid) = 'PUBLIC')) 

 AND (UPPER(attribute) = 'ROLES')

 

In this case, the char_value column returns a list of roles to be disabled whenever the user connects using SQL*Plus. SQL*Plus then disables these roles with a SET ROLE command. By way of example, assume that the following data were returned:

CHAR_VALUE

---------------------

PAYROLL_ADMINISTRATOR

HR_ADMINISTRATOR

 

There are two roles to be disabled. SQL*Plus turns them off by issuing the following command to Oracle:

SET ROLE ALL EXCEPT payroll_administrator, hr_administrator

 

This establishes the default condition for the user of having those roles turned off. The user may be able to issue another SET ROLE command to turn them back on again, but the starting condition is that the roles are off.

If SQL*Plus's attempt to query the product user profile results in an error, perhaps because the table doesn't exist, you will see the following message from SQL*Plus:

Error accessing PRODUCT_USER_PROFILE

Warning: Product user profile information not loaded!

You may need to run PUPBLD.SQL as SYSTEM

Connected.

 

If you do happen to get this error message, see the section Section 13.2.1 later in this chapter, or notify your DBA.

The SYSTEM user presents a special case. If you log into Oracle as SYSTEM, SQL*Plus detects this and does not query the product user profile. Therefore, you can never restrict what the SYSTEM user is allowed to do.

 

13.1.4 Product User Profile Limitations

The product user profile is used for application security. The application is SQL*Plus. No other applications respect the limitations set in the profile. In today's world, with Open DataBase Connectivity (ODBC) on every desktop, and every application under the sun capable of connecting to an Oracle database, securing SQL*Plus should be a small part of your overall security plan. Someone with Microsoft Access, for example, can easily connect to an Oracle database. Once that's done, users will be able to edit, insert, and delete any data to which they have access. Guard against this by implementing as much of your security as possible at the database level.

You should be aware of some potential security "holes" when using the product user profile to secure SQL*Plus. Oracle is a complex product, and there is often more than one way to accomplish any given task. You have to be vigilant about the possible use of PL/SQL, for example. The next two sections describe some issues to be aware of when setting limits with the product user profile.

13.1.4.1 Issues related to PL/SQL

Any SQL statement you can issue from the SQL*Plus prompt can be issued from a PL/SQL block. Using the profile, you can restrict a user's access to an SQL statement, but it may be possible to get around that restriction with PL/SQL. For this reason, you may want to restrict access to PL/SQL as well.

Take the UPDATE statement, for example. Using the profile, you can restrict a SQL*Plus user from issuing the UPDATE statement. Should the user try an update, an error will be returned, as the following example shows:

SQL>

UPDATE sqlplus.employee

invalid command: update

 

This is all well and good, but the update can easily be coded in PL/SQL. Here's how:

SQL>

BEGIN

2

UPDATE sqlplus.employee

3

SET employee_billing_rate = 300

4

WHERE employee_id = 101;

5

END;

6

/

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

 

That was easy enough, wasn't it? So much for your security. If you need to restrict a user from issuing any INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, or SELECT statements, you should restrict the user from using PL/SQL.

Data definition language (DDL) statements, such as GRANT or CREATE TABLE, are more difficult to code from PL/SQL, but they can be done. As long as a user has EXECUTE access to the DBMS_SQL package, you should consider the possibility that the user may be able to code dynamic SQL statements.

A new method of issuing dynamic SQL was implemented in the Oracle8 i Database release. This method allows users to code dynamic SQL by simply embedding the desired statements in a PL/SQL block. Thus, the lack of EXECUTE privileges on the DBMS_SQL package won't necessarily stop the user from being able to issue dynamic SQL.

 

There are two obvious ways to execute PL/SQL from SQL*Plus. One way is to type a PL/SQL block at the command prompt and execute it. The other way is to use the SQL*Plus EXECUTE command. To restrict a user's access to PL/SQL, you must disable the following three SQL*Plus commands:

  • DECLARE
  • BEGIN
  • EXECUTE

Leave any one of the above commands enabled, and you might as well leave them all enabled; the user will still have full access to PL/SQL. There are even less obvious ways to execute PL/SQL, and you may want to guard against these as well. The user could create a stored function and execute that from a SELECT statement, or the user could create a trigger on a table and then fire that trigger. The easiest way to guard against either of these possibilities is to ensure that the user doesn't have the system privileges required to do these things. An alternative would be to restrict access to the CREATE statement from SQL*Plus.

13.1.4.2 Issues related to roles

When you disable a role, SQL*Plus turns that role off when the user first connects, but that doesn't prevent the user from turning the role on again. The user can issue a SET ROLE command of his own, as the following example shows, turning the desired role back on:

SQL>

SELECT employee_name, employee_billing_rate

2

FROM gennick.employee;

FROM gennick.employee

 *

ERROR at line 2:

ORA-00942: table or view does not exist

 

 

SQL>

SET ROLE ALL;

Role set.

 

SQL>

SELECT employee_name, employee_billing_rate

2

FROM gennick.employee;

EMPLOYEE_NAME EMPLOYEE_BILLING_RATE

---------------------------------------- ---------------------

Marusia Churai 169

Mykhailo Hrushevsky 135

Pavlo Virsky 99

 . . .

 

In this example, the first SELECT failed because the PAYROLL_ADMINISTRATOR role had been disabled by SQL*Plus, and the user couldn't see the employee table. All the user has to do is issue a SET ROLE ALL command to enable the role, allowing him to see the data. It is not even necessary for the user to know the name of the specific role that needs to be enabled. For this reason, disabling the SET ROLE command should usually go hand in hand with disabling roles.

If you have disabled a role for a user and disabled the SET ROLE command, you should give some thought to disabling PL/SQL as well. You might want to revoke EXECUTE privileges on the DBMS_SQL package. The reason for this is that by using dynamic SQL, the SET ROLE command can be executed from within a PL/SQL block. Admittedly, this would take a knowledgeable and determined user, but it can be done. Here is an example:

SQL>

SELECT employee_name, employee_billing_rate

2

FROM gennick.employee;

FROM gennick.employee

 *

ERROR at line 2:

ORA-00942: table or view does not exist

 

 

SQL>

SET ROLE ALL;

invalid command: set role

SQL> 

SQL>

DECLARE

2

set_role_cursor INTEGER;

3

rows_affected INTEGER;

4

BEGIN

5

set_role_cursor := DBMS_SQL.OPEN_CURSOR;

6

DBMS_SQL.PARSE (set_role_cursor,

7

'SET ROLE payroll_administrator',

8

DBMS_SQL.NATIVE);

9

rows_affected := DBMS_SQL.EXECUTE(set_role_cursor);

10

DBMS_SQL.CLOSE_CURSOR(set_role_cursor);

11

END;

12

/

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

 

SQL>

SELECT employee_name, employee_billing_rate

2

FROM gennick.employee;

EMPLOYEE_NAME EMPLOYEE_BILLING_RATE

---------------------------------------- ---------------------

Marusia Churai 169

Mykhailo Hrushevsky 135

Pavlo Virsky 99

...

 

SQL*Plus honors the restriction against using the SET ROLE command from the SQL*Plus prompt, but it has no way of knowing what is going on inside a PL/SQL block. Remember that PL/SQL is sent to the database for execution; SQL*Plus does not look inside a block.

     

Introduction to SQL*Plus

Command-Line SQL*Plus

Browser-Based SQL*Plus

A Lightning SQL Tutorial

Generating Reports with SQL*Plus

Creating HTML Reports

Advanced Reports

Writing SQL*Plus Scripts

Extracting and Loading Data

Exploring Your Database

Advanced Scripting

Tuning and Timing

The Product User Profile

Customizing Your SQL*Plus Environment

Appendix A. SQL*Plus Command Reference

Appendix B. SQL*Plus Format Elements

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Oracle SQL Plus The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
Oracle SQL*Plus: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides)
ISBN: 0596007469
EAN: 2147483647
Year: N/A
Pages: 151
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