There is only one reason why you landed on this page. To secure your database, right? Well, we have the best guide to show you how to prevent SQL Injection attacks.
SQL injection that is abbreviated as Structured Query Language Injection is a hacking technique that was discovered some fifteen years ago and is still devastatingly effective today. It is considered as a top database security priority. This was used in the USA 2016 election to compromise the personal data of about 200,000 voters. The SQL injection was also used against specific organizations like PBS, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Sony Pictures, Heart Land, Payment System, and even the CIA.
SQL is a control and command language that is used for relational databases such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL. Today as we have modern web development, these databases are used on the back end of the web apps and content management systems that are written in PHP, ASP.NET, and other scripting languages. So, from this, we conclude that both the behaviour and content of multiple websites is built on data in a database server.
Any successful attack towards a database that is used to drive a web app or website such as the SQL injection login bypass attack gives the hacker a lot of power. From capturing sensitive information which includes internal business database commands or account credentials to modifying website content (defacing) is all they can do and maintain. The command list of SQL is probably the same as the command list of the database. It includes potentially catastrophic ones like the Drop table.
Getting ready to secure your SQL Database
The first thing you need to do to prevent a SQL injection attack is to see which applications are vulnerable. The best and easy way to do this is to activate your attacks to see they get successful or not. As SQL is a complex and challenging language, it is not a trivial task to construct code snippets that could be injected or inserted into a query in an attempt to compromise a database.
Well, the best part about this is that all of this is not necessary all you can do is run an automated SQL injection attack tool, and that shall do all the work for you.
We have one example that we can see here. It is Havij it is also a tool that was developed by Iranian security professionals. You can point this at a potential target, and Havij shall probe the site to determine what type of database is being in use. Based on this, it then builds specific queries to examine the characteristics of the database. Here little to no SQL expertise is required from the user’s end.
Havij can extract fields, tables, and sometimes even full data dumps from a target. Havij is an error fixing feature that is used to help the user to remove some of the vulnerabilities that it finds. You can get Havij in a free version and also in the fully-featured commercial version.
We also have other automated SQL injection tools that are SQLmap and jSQL. The Tyrant SQL is a GUI version of the SQL map. These tools are used to do a powerful SQL injection attack, one which would otherwise be limited only to experts, into the hands of anyone who feels to attack your apps. It is, therefore, best to test your applications with the help of these tools and then fix any vulnerability they find out before someone malicious finds them out.
Check Also: How to Stay Safe from Ransomware Viruses.
How to Prevent Against SQL Injection Attacks to Keep your Databases Safe
You can prevent yourself from the SQL injection attack by adopting the following steps:
- You are not supposed to trust anyone
Assume that all the data submitted by the user is terrible so use input validation through a function such as MySQL’s mysql_real_escape_string to make sure that any dangerous characters are not passed to the SQL query in data. You also need to clean everything by filtering user data by context. Like, you need to filter email addresses and phone numbers for the best security.
- You should not use Dynamic SQL
You do not need to construct queries with the user input. Even cleaning data can be flawed, so you need to use prepared statements, parameterized questions, or stored procedures when possible. Keep one thing in mind that stored procedures are not capable of preventing all the SQL injection attacks, so no need to entirely rely on them.
- You need to update and patch frequently
Vulnerabilities that are found in applications and databases are discovered regularly, so it is best to apply patches and updates as soon as possible. This might be worth the investment.
Use a WAF (Web Application Firewall) to Prevent SQL Injection Attacks
The WAF is used to provide protection and security against a new vulnerability before a patch is there.
- You need to reduce the attack surface
You need to get rid of any database function that you don’t require a hacker to take advantage of it. For example, we all about the xp_cmdshell extended stored procedure in MSSQL. It is used to spawn the windows command shell and then pass in a string for execution. This indeed could be very useful for the hacker. This has the same security privileges as the SQL server service account.
- You need to use appropriate privileges
Without any reason, you are not supposed to connect your database using an account with admin-level rights. When you use a limited access account, it becomes much safer, and it can limit what a hacker can do
- You are supposed to keep your secrets as secret
You need to assume that your app is not protected or secured and then act accordingly by encrypting passwords and other private data, including the connection strings.
- You do not need to give away more information than required
Hackers can learn and get a lot from the error messages, so make sure that they display little information. You need to use the remote only custom error mode to provide and post short error messages on the local machine and ensure that any external hacker shall get nothing more than the fact that his actions resulted in an unhandled error.
Also Check: How to Protect your Network from DDoS Attacks.
- Keep an eye on SQL statements
This shall help to identify the rogue SQL vulnerabilities and statements. Monitoring tools that can utilize behavioral analysis, however, can be handy.
- You need to buy better software
You can give responsibility to the code writers to check the code and to fix security flaws in custom applications before the software gets delivered.
SQL is a common language used mainly for databases. Today we have shown you how you can prevent SQL injection attacks. Follow the ways mentioned above and make your data secure and protected. If you found this article helpful, then do leave comments in the section below. I hope you have now protected against SQL attacks. You can learn how to hack SQL server passwords by watching our tutorial to see how these attacks happen.