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Viewing passwords in Oracle

I have to accomplish a task that deals with Oracle user names and passwords. Is there any way to see the passwords in Oracle, where it will be physically stored?

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There is no way to know the user's password. You can query DBA_USERS and see an encrypted form of the users password, but Oracle does not store this password anywhere. It only stores this encrypted form. This encrypted password does not have an decrypt function. It is a one-way hash function. When a user signs on to the database, they give the system their username and password. The system uses both of these values and other unknown values and runs all values through a function. It then compares the output of this function to the value found in DBA_USERS.PASSWORD. If the values matched, then the user must have supplied the correct password. If they don't, then some combination of the username and password are not correct.

This was first published in October 2003

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