Modern applications are data-driven and easily accessible from the internet. This has led to SQL injection vulnerabilities becoming more widespread and criminals are exploiting them.
According to the UKFast Threat Monitoring service, almost 30,000 SQL injection attempts were detected in the first quarter of the year. On a global scale, these types of attacks are affecting millions of organisations every day. Any application, which uses SQL databases, will be a potential target and you need to know how to protect them. Looking at products such as a data centre cooling may help in the long run.
What Is An SQL Injection Attack?
Criminals and hackers will create malicious SQL statements and inject them into the input fields for execution by the SQL database. When the database runs, the applications will perform the actions listed in the malicious code. This type of attack is due to improper coding of the vulnerable web applications. The primary vulnerability is the entry fields which are available for user input which also allows SQL statements to enter and query the database directly.
These attacks are often done to steal personal information. As this is the case, the consequences of these attacks can be devastating and include:
- The extraction of sensitive data which causes a data breach that incurs fines and reputation damage due to GDPR.
- Authentication details such as logins and passwords can be used for future attacks.
- The corruption or deletion of databases, which render applications unusable.
- The use of compromised data to attack other systems in the network.
With so much at stake, it is important that any application with an SQL database is provided from these types of attacks.
The best way to prevent an SQL injection attack is to use parameter statements. These statements are dynamic and will allow for faster execution. You will need to make use of parameter database questions with typed and bound parameters and carefully use parameter stored procedures in the database.
Doing this ensures that any statements input into the database will be sage. The parameter and string will be passed to the database separately. This will ensure that the code is never vulnerable to an attack.
Use A WAF
A WAF will have thousands of rule sets that will cover the common application-layer attacks you could face including SQL injection attacks. This is the first layer of defence and will give you the protection that you need even when your database is vulnerable or has some weak links.
Scan For Vulnerabilities
Hackers and criminals are always probing the internet and looking for flaws in websites. There are some tools, which automatically discover SQL injection flaws and will exploit them. This allows cyber criminals to have a quicker return on their investment and improved chances of success. You can also use specialised vulnerability scanners to detect the vulnerabilities in your database.
ORM or Object Relational Mapping frameworks are written in a number of programming languages. They have been designed to wrap around databases such as the SQL database you use. While this framework will not completely protect you from these attacks, it will allow you to create SQL queries in the programming language that you know and are more comfortable with.
This will make the process easier and simpler. It also reduces the chances of errors in the code which can be exploited by hackers. There is a range of pre-built features that will boost security such as SQLAlchemy and will use parameter statements as the standard.
Principle Of Least Privilege
If your database is compromised, you need to use the basis of least privilege. This will stop the attacker from accessing other parts of your network. You should use this principle when there are provisional accounts connected to the database.
If you encounter a SQL injection attack, you need to use password hashing to minimise the damage that it is done. This will ensure that all passwords are unreadable. The storing of unencrypted passwords is a serious security flaw and you need to avoid this. Applications that store passwords as on-way hashes will mitigate the risks.