Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

7/10/2011
11:13 PM
50%
50%

As SQL Injection Attacks Surge, New Report Offers Insight On How To Prevent Them

SQL injection has taken its place among the top Web threats and compromised some of the Internet’s best-known companies. Here's a look at how SQL injection attacks happen -- and what you can do about it

[Excerpted from “Stop SQL Injection: Don’t Let Thieves In Through Your Web Apps,” a new report posted this week on Dark Reading’s Database Security Tech Center.]

SQL injection continues to be one of the primary methods by which attackers exploit vulnerable Web applications and gain access to critical corporate databases. These attacks strike various types of infrastructures and software platforms; sometimes they are launched from inside the corporate network, but more typically external attackers use globally accessible Web applications as entry points.

There have been several instances of SQL injection attacks in the news recently, including a major breach that hit Sony Corp. What all these attacks have in common is that they rely on structured data, stored in a relational database in a multitier application structure.

SQL injection flaws are arguably public enemy No. 1. Even after years as a leading Web security threat, SQL injection still makes up the largest portion of the vulnerabilities discovered today. In 2010, they were by far the most commonly found Web application vulnerability, followed by cross-site scripting errors, and have been on the OWASP Top 10 list of most serious Web security issues for years.

SQL injection, at its most basic level, is simply manipulating an existing SQL query to perform an action not intended by the developer. This is typically done through the user interface in some area of a Web application.

All SQL injection vulnerabilities begin with nonvalidated user input of some type. User input can take many forms and include anything an attacker can manipulate that is processed by the server in some way. This includes user-agents, HTTP headers, POST parameters, cookies, GET parameters, and even referrer headers.

What makes nonvalidated user input unique is that the application does not perform sufficient checks to ensure that the input received is of the type and manner expected. Simplified, this means that although your application is written to receive, for example, a string of alphanumeric characters to be input as a user name, it does not validate that input and allows an attacker to insert, in the case of SQL injection, a database query.

There are two broad methods attackers use to take advantage of SQL injection vulnerabilities: automated and manual. These two kinds of attacks are mechanically very different. Automated exploitation is generally the result of a tool built for a specific purpose. LizaMoon and Asprox, for example, use mass injection attacks to maximize their breadth and spread their code indiscriminately. These types of mass attacks generally target a very specific application architecture, such as IIS servers running classic ASP with Microsoft SQL Server database servers, in the case of Asprox.

In many cases, the attacker can take complete control over the underlying operating system of the SQL server; the attacker can even take over the Web application, and ultimately the Web server itself.

To get a detailed description of how SQL injection attacks work -- and to get recommendations on how to prevent them -- download the free report.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Cybersecurity Bounces Back, but Talent Still Absent
Simone Petrella, Chief Executive Officer, CyberVista,  9/16/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-25826
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
PingID Integration for Windows Login before 2.4.2 allows local users to gain privileges by modifying CefSharp.BrowserSubprocess.exe.
CVE-2020-25821
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
** UNSUPPORTED WHEN ASSIGNED ** peg-markdown 0.4.14 has a NULL pointer dereference in process_raw_blocks in markdown_lib.c. NOTE: This vulnerability only affects products that are no longer supported by the maintainer.
CVE-2020-3130
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A vulnerability in the web management interface of Cisco Unity Connection could allow an authenticated remote attacker to overwrite files on the underlying filesystem. The vulnerability is due to insufficient input validation. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a crafted HTTP re...
CVE-2020-3133
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A vulnerability in the email message scanning of Cisco AsyncOS Software for Cisco Email Security Appliance (ESA) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass configured filters on the device. The vulnerability is due to improper validation of incoming emails. An attacker could exploit t...
CVE-2020-3135
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack on an affected device. The vulnerability is due to insufficient CSRF protections for the web-based...