The US government's Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) and software security companies have issued warnings about a number of security vulnerabilities in versions of Oracle's software.

US-CERT has issued an alert citing several security flaws in Oracle products that could be used to shut down or take control of vulnerable systems running the software or to corrupt or steal data from the Oracle Databases.

The security holes affect a number of Oracle products, including versions of its 8i, 9i and 10g Database, Application Server and Enterprise Manager software, according to a bulletin posted by Oracle, which also released a patch for the vulnerabilities.

Few details of the vulnerabilities were available from Oracle or other companies. Oracle said that the holes in its Database Server and Application Server were rated "high" and that exploiting some required network access, but not a valid database user account. Holes in the Enterprise Manager were rated "medium," by Oracle and required both network access to the vulnerable machine and a valid user account to take advantage of, Oracle said.

According to an alert issued by Next Generation Security Software(NGSS), the vulnerabilities include SQL injection attacks, in which attackers inject malicious code into Web-based forms and other features that are used to generate Web content dynamically, denial of service attacks and buffer overflows, in which malicious code is placed on a vulnerable system by exceeding an area of a vulnerable computer's memory that is allocated for use by a software program.

NGSS is withholding details about the vulnerabilities for three months to give Oracle database administrators the time to test and patch vulnerable systems.

Oracle "strongly" recommends that customers apply the patch, noting that there is no work-around that addresses the new security vulnerabilities.