Vulnerabilities / Threats
10/28/2011
03:55 PM
50%
50%

3 Steps To Make Your Database More Secure

Database security often takes a backseat to performance and other concerns. Here's how to strike a balance that works.

InformationWeek Healthcare Digital Supplement - Oct. 31, 2011 InformationWeek Green
Download the entire InformationWeek supplement, distributed in an all-digital format as part of our Green Initiative
(Registration required.)
We will plant a tree for each of the first 5,000 downloads.

Databases

Sound IT risk management is all about identifying critical data assets and giving them the most protection. The more critical an asset, the more defenses should be around it. Unfortunately, when it comes to databases, most companies get that formula backward.

The problem is that database performance can take priority over security at many companies. Rather than balancing security and performance issues, database security is too often left for some other time.

"DBAs and the application developers just don't have time or don't want to deal with security. It increases the cost of their product development," says Julie Lockner, an analyst at research firm Enterprise Strategy Group. They're being asked to add more applications and features, and deal with rising data volume, and that's making their test cycles longer. Says Lockner: "It's a priority thing: Do we get the features out? Or do we take the extra cycles to tie in and add the security layers around it?"

Malicious insiders and wily hackers can take advantage of this priority war within IT departments. They're accessing data they shouldn't, launching SQL injection attacks to take advantage of poorly protected app-to-database links, and exploiting vulnerabilities in database management systems to get into potentially huge and valuable data stores.

The only way to truly protect data is to make critical database security a top concern. It starts with these three principles of database protection.

Know Thyself

Many companies aren't able to protect mission-critical data because they simply don't understand how all the moving parts of their database environments work. For controls to work, IT must have a clear understanding of where the important data is, who's using it, and how it's being used.

"You have one data store, but you might have many applications hooked into it. You might not know who it is that's using the systems if you've given out a lot of privileges," says Mel Shakir, CTO of NitroSecurity, a database activity monitoring (DAM) and security information and event monitoring company recently purchased by McAfee. "And you might not even know where the critical data is if it's been copied off the system and moved to, say, test databases somewhere else."

Valuable steps include scanning for unsanctioned, rogue databases that might have been set up on the fly by other departments, documenting privilege schemas, and classifying a company's database assets by risk according to the type of data they hold. That can help get more out of database security investments.

Once IT teams know where all your databases are, they can make sure they're securely configured and patched, and use vulnerability assessment to decide what level of protection they need. For example, they can decide if they warrant constant oversight through activity-monitoring software to track what users are doing in these data stores at all times.

To read the rest of the article,
Download the Oct. 31, 2011 InformationWeek digital supplement

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5426
Published: 2014-11-27
MatrikonOPC OPC Server for DNP3 1.2.3 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (unhandled exception and DNP3 process crash) via a crafted message.

CVE-2014-2037
Published: 2014-11-26
Openswan 2.6.40 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and IKE daemon restart) via IKEv2 packets that lack expected payloads. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE 2013-6466.

CVE-2014-6609
Published: 2014-11-26
The res_pjsip_pubsub module in Asterisk Open Source 12.x before 12.5.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via crafted headers in a SIP SUBSCRIBE request for an event package.

CVE-2014-6610
Published: 2014-11-26
Asterisk Open Source 11.x before 11.12.1 and 12.x before 12.5.1 and Certified Asterisk 11.6 before 11.6-cert6, when using the res_fax_spandsp module, allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via an out of call message, which is not properly handled in the ReceiveFax dia...

CVE-2014-7141
Published: 2014-11-26
The pinger in Squid 3.x before 3.4.8 allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information or cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read and crash) via a crafted type in an (1) ICMP or (2) ICMP6 packet.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?