What You Need to Know About SQL Injection Attacks

Mar 20, 2019

What You Need to Know About SQL Injection Attacks Image

Do you remember the data breach that occurred to Heartland Payments, the sixth-largest payments processor in U.S., back in 2009? The breach occurred by an SQL injection attack which compromised approximately 100 million credit cards and more than 650 financial services companies; the estimated cost was $300 million, making it the largest criminal breach of card data to ever occur. SQL injection attacks aren’t as popular as phishing or malware attacks, but have been around for decades. Let’s review what an SQL injection attack is, how it works, and ways to protect your organization.

What is an SQL injection?

Structured Query Language (SQL) is the language used by developers, database administrators, and applications to manage the massive amounts of data being generated everyday by organizations. An SQL Injection is known as a web security vulnerability and is one of the most dangerous attacks found in Closed source applications. This type of attack allows the hacker to have complete control over an organization’s database by inserting arbitrary SQL code into database queries. Its important to note that SQL injections occur because of flaws in web application development and are not database or web server issues.

There are multiple ways a hacker can inject SQL code into a database – user input through a form, the modification of cookies to inject SQL into the back-end database, or the use of server variables such as HTTP headers to inject into the database. Attackers can even use an SQL injection attack to compromise the server and back-end infrastructure, or making database drive applications unavailable (denial-of-service attack).

Enhancing Your Database Security

Managing your database security is an important aspect of minimizing risk in your organization and preventing a data breach from happening. Your organization’s database not only hosts your users’ connections, but automated connections such as backups, reporting to servers, data integration, app integrations, and more. Implementing cybersecurity best practices including having Managed Detection and Response capabilities (MDR), with continued vulnerability and penetration testing will help protect from SQL injection attacks, stolen passwords, and brute-force attempts. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has many helpful resources like their SQL injection cheat sheet which provides guidance for preventing SQL injection flaws in applications, including these six defenses:

  1. Use of Prepared Statements (With Parameterized Queries)
  2. Use of Stored Procedures
  3. White List Input Validation
  4. Escaping All User Supplied Input
  5. Enforcing Least Privilege
  6. Performing White List Input Validation as a Secondary Defense

As the cyber security landscape continues to evolve, its more important than ever to enhance your database and web application security and protect your organization from strategic hackers.

For more information on SQL injection attacks or how Secuvant can help you implement a Cybersecurity Program, reach out to us at contactus@secuvant.com or 855-732-8826.