Oracle GRANT Privileges

Summary: in this tutorial, you will learn how to use the Oracle GRANT statement to give privileges to a specific user.

The overview of Oracle privileges

After creating a user, you need to decide which actions the user can do in the Oracle database.

In the CREATE USER tutorial, we used the GRANT statement to provide the user john the CREATE SESSION system privilege to enable the user to log in the Oracle database.

GRANT CREATE SESSION TO john;

What is a privilege?

By definition, a privilege is a right to execute an SQL statement or a right to access an object of another user.

Oracle defines two main types of privileges: system privileges and object privileges

System privileges

System privileges determine what a user can do in the database. They mainly allow a user to add or modify schema objects in the database like creating tables, creating views, and removing tablespaces.

The most important system privileges are:

  •  CREATE SESSION
  •  CREATE TABLE
  •  CREATE VIEW
  •  CREATE PROCEDURE
  •  SYSDBA
  •  SYSOPER

Object privileges

Object privileges decide how a user can access the data in the database. The object privileges apply to rows in tables or views.

Here are some common object privileges:

  •  INSERT
  •  UPDATE
  •  DELETE
  •  INDEX
  •  EXECUTE

To grant one or more privileges to a user, you use the GRANT statement

Introduction to the Oracle GRANT statement

The GRANT statement assigns one or more privileges to a specific user. The following illustrates the basic syntax of the GRANT statement:

GRANT {system_privileges | object_privileges } 
TO user 
[WITH ADMIN OPTION]

In this syntax:

First, specify the system or object privileges that you want to assign to a user after the GRANT keyword. If you assign more than one privilege, you use a comma-separated list of privileges.

Second, specify the user that receives the privileges after the TO keyword.

Third, optionally use the WITH ADMIN OPTION if you want the user to be able to perform the following:

  • Grant / revoke the privilege to / from another user.
  • Alter the privilege to change the authorization needed to access it.
  • Drop the privilege.

The user who receives the privileges via the GRANT statement is also known as a grantee.

Note that the GRANT statement also works with roles.

Oracle GRANT statement examples

Let’s practice with the GRANT statement to get a better understanding.

1) Use Oracle GRANT to grant system and object privileges to a user example

In this tutorial, we will launch two SQL*Plus sessions, one for the user ot that will grant privileges and another for the user john.

First, launch SQL*Plus and log in to the Oracle database using the user john. Note that we assigned the user john the CREATE SESSION system privilege, so it should be able to log in.

In case you’re not following the CREATE USER tutorial, you can create the user john and grant the CREATE SESSION system privilege by using the following statements:

CREATE USER john IDENTIFIED BY abcd1234;

GRANT CREATE SESSION TO john;

Second, use the user john to log in to the Oracle Database and create a new table:

CREATE TABLE t1(id NUMBER PRIMARY KEY);

Oracle issued the following error:

ORA-01031: insufficient privileges

To allow the user john to create the table, you need to grant the CREATE TABLE system privilege to the user as shown in the following statement:

GRANT CREATE TABLE TO john;

Now, the user john can create a new table:

CREATE TABLE t1(id NUMBER PRIMARY KEY);

The following statement shows the privileges of the current user:

SELECT * FROM session_privs;

Here are the privileges of the user john:

PRIVILEGE
------------------
CREATE SESSION
CREATE TABLE

Third, use the user john to insert a new row into the t1 table:

INSERT INTO t1(id) VALUES(10);

Oracle issued the following error:

ORA-01950: no privileges on tablespace 'USERS'

This is because the user john has a quota of zero on the USERS tablespace.

To fix this, you use the ALTER USER command to change the quota of the user john on the USERS tablespace:

ALTER USER john QUOTA UNLIMITED ON USERS;

Now, the user john should be able to insert a row into the t1 table:

INSERT INTO t1(id) VALUES(10);

And query data from the t1 table as well:

SELECT * FROM t1;

Here is the output:

        ID
----------
        10    

2) Use Oracle GRANT to assign privileges WITH ADMIN OPTION example

First, create a new user called jack and grant the user the CREATE SESSION so that the user can log in:

CREATE USER jack IDENTIFIED BY abcd1234 
    QUOTA UNLIMITED ON users;

GRANT CREATE SESSION TO jack;

Second, grant the CREATE TABLE system privilege to john, but this time, use the WITH ADMIN OPTION:

GRANT CREATE TABLE TO john WITH ADMIN OPTION;

Now, the user john can grant the CREATE TABLE system privilege to another user e.g. jack.

Third, login as john and grant the CREATE TABLE system privilege to jack:

GRANT CREATE TABLE TO jack;

Finally, login as jack and create a new table:

CREATE TABLE t2(id NUMBER PRIMARY KEY);

The user jack can create the table.

3) Using Oracle GRANT to assign privileges which has ANY option example

Some system privileges have the keyword ANY that enables a user to perform the corresponding action on any objects in the database.

For example, SELECT ANY TABLE allows a user to select data from any table in any schema in the database.

Consider the following example.

First, log in as jack and select the data from t1 table in the john‘s schema:

SELECT * FROM john.t1;

Oracle issued the following error:

ORA-00942: table or view does not exist

Second, login as ot and grant the SELECT ANY TABLE system privilege to jack:

GRANT SELECT ANY TABLE TO jack;

Third, from the session of john, execute the SELECT statement:

SELECT * FROM john.t1;

Here is the output:

        ID
----------
        10

Now the user jack can select data from any table in any schema in the Oracle database.

4) Using Oracle GRANT to grant object privileges to a user example

First, launch the first SQL*Plus session, log in as ot user and create a new table named t2:

CREATE TABLE t2(id INT);

Second, insert some values into the t2 table:

INSERT INTO t2(id) VALUES(1);
INSERT INTO t2(id) VALUES(2);

Third, launch the second SQL*Plus session, log in as john, and query data from the ot.t2 table:

SELECT * FROM ot.t2;

Oracle issued the following error:

ORA-00942: table or view does not exist

This is because the user john does not have a privilege to query data from the ot.t2 table.

Fourth, go back to the first SQL*Plus session and grant the SELECT object privilege on ot.t2 to john:

GRANT SELECT ON ot.t2 TO john;

Fifth, go the second session SQL*Plus and query data from the ot.t2 table:

SELECT * FROM ot.t2

Now, john should be able to query data from the ot.t2 table.

Sixth, try to insert some rows into the ot.t2 table:

INSERT INTO ot.t2(id) VALUES(3)

Oracle issued the following error:

ORA-01031: insufficient privileges

To allow john to insert and update data in the ot.t2 table, you need to grant the INSERT and UPDATE object privilege to john:

GRANT INSERT, UPDATE ON ot.t2 TO john;

Now, john should be able to insert and update data in the ot.t2 table.

In this tutorial, you have learned how to use the Oracle GRANT statement to assign system and object privileges to a specific user.

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