This was an internal application, so I wasn't surprised to find that it was vulnerable to SQL injection in several areas. However, in-band injection attacks weren't working for the application I was testing - I couldn't use UNION SELECTs, for example, to merge my query results with data rendered in the browser. So I had to leverage an out-of-band technique for retrieving data through SQL injection: Oracle's UTL_HTTP.REQUEST function. David Litchfield mentioned this approach almost two years ago in Data-mining with SQL Injection and Inference, but I never had the need to use it "in the wild" until now.
UTL_HTTP is a built-in Oracle SQL function that issues HTTP requests. The syntax is pretty simple:
For example, consider the following SQL:
The SELECT statement returns the value "SYS" - the first user in the DBA_USERS table. The HTTP request issued by the database is therefore for the URL "http://www.foo.com:80/SYS". In www.foo.com's HTTP access log, the request would look like:
126.96.36.199 - - [08/Aug/2007:10:02:40 +0000] "GET /SYS HTTP/1.1" 404 0 - -
(assuming 188.8.131.52 is our target DB server)
So as an attacker, you simply need to run a web server and point the UTL_HTTP.REQUESTs to your own IP address. You can then view the result of each SQL injection in your server logs. If in Windows, I like to use SHTTPD as it is lightweight and simple to turn on and off.
The biggest limitation to this approach is that you can only query for one row at a time - you'll get an error message if your statement returns multiple rows. (That is due to the UTL_HTTP.RQUEST function itself, not the web server end). But it is still a lot more efficient then using blind SQL injection to brute force one character of a response at a time. Oracle will also throw an error if it can't reach your web server, which may be the case depending on network controls between yourself and the database. Experiment with running on different ports.
There are probably a few things you could do to make the attack more elegant, like setting up a CGI script on your server to better collect and parse the calls from the database. You could also create and inject a PL/SQL function that concatenates results from multiple rows to get around the single-row limitation. I needed a quick and dirty solution to get a few key database records, so I didn't bother venturing beyond the basics for this test.
Outbound HTTP requests originating from a database server should look suspicious, but I think the attack is obscure enough to slip by most admins.