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Determining the "SYS" password

I want to know the password when we are connected as a "sys" in Oracle8i.

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It would be great if there were a query such as the following:

   SELECT user,password FROM dual; 

   USER  PASSWORD 
   ----- --------- 
   SYS   change_me 
Unfortunately, while the 'user' psuedo-column exists in the above query, the 'password' psuedo-column does not.

You can query DBA_USERS to see the encrypted forms of everyone's passwords. But the encryption form does not help you. Furthermore, the encryption algorithm that Oracle uses is a one-way hash. This means that there is no way to decrypt the password.

The bottom line is that you cannot find out what a password is once it has been set. The default password for SYS is 'change_on_install'. But it is highly likely that the person who created the database has changed the password to something else (at least I hope so). Your only alternative is to then change the SYS password to something that you know. Anyone with DBA privileges, like INTERNAL or SYSTEM, can change anyone else's password.

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This was first published in July 2002

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