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ODBC vs. SQL*Net security

A software application I am reviewing uses ODBC to connect to an Oracle (or SQL Server) database. Someone mentioned to me before, that ODBC is not as secure as SQL*Net. Is this true? Are there any other implications of using ODBC connectivity I should be aware of? Can you direct me to any documentation on this?

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For Oracle, ODBC is just a layer on top of SQL*Net. All of Oracle's ODBC drivers just translate the ODBC calls made by the application into OCI calls that are transported to the database server via SQL*Net. I'm not sure that there are any additional security concerns surrounding ODBC, but there certainly are some performance issues that you may encounter. If you can avoid ODBC completely, that's the best thing. If you must use ODBC, I would highly recommend using Oracle's ODBC drivers (available for download at instead of any other vendor's ODBC drivers (i.e. Microsoft, Merant, etc.).

This was first published in April 2004

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