4. Authorizing User Access : Users and Profiles : Working with User Objects : User Password
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User Password
A password can be specified as part of the user definition.
How the password is used depends on whether DBMS authentication is enabled. If it is enabled, the user name and password supplied by the connection attempt must match this user name and password. If no password is supplied by the connecting application, a remote connection attempt fails. A local connection attempt with no password will succeed, assuming that the user was not defined with DBMS_AUTHENTICATION = 'REQUIRED'.
If DBMS authentication is not enabled, the DBMS password operates as a second level of password after the initial connection is established (using the configured GCF security mechanism, such as authentication against an OS user and password). In this case, the application sends the DBMS password in the clear, after the connection is established. If no DBMS password is provided by the application, the DBMS server asks the client libraries to prompt for one if possible; or, the connection attempt fails if no prompting is possible.
When a session requires a password and one is not specified, a prompt requests a password. For security reasons, a password prompt is issued if either a required password is missing or the user name is unknown or illegal. This behavior is consistent with that of operating systems during logon.
Note:  If a user with the Security privilege starts a session using the –u flag to impersonate another user, the real user’s password--not the impersonator’s--is required.
A user with the Change_Password privilege is permitted to change his own password; to do so, however, he must supply his old password. A user with the maintain_users privilege can change the password of another user, in addition to changing the method of password validation or removing the password altogether.
Note:  Passwords also apply to roles.