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

4/17/2013
04:37 PM
Adrian Lane
Adrian Lane
Commentary
50%
50%

How Do You Use DAM For Blocking? You Don't

Curiously, many view blocking malicious Web application requests via WAFs as the appropriate approach

SQL injection remains a top database threat, at least if you put faith in the OWASP Top Ten threat list. In fact, it has been a top threat for about a decade. So why don't more companies use database activity monitoring (DAM) to block malicious traffic?

Most customers I speak with do not and will not use DAM to block database queries. If they view SQL injection as a threat, then they use Web application firewalls (WAFs). More to the point, they view blocking malicious Web application requests via WAFs as the appropriate approach.

Again, I ask, "Why?" SQL injection is a database attack. DAM is a tool that can block SQL injection, yet it's not the first thought in customers' minds when they think about solving this problem.

According to my research, about 2 percent to 3 percent of the companies I speak with use DAM for blocking malicious events in general. SQL injection is just one of the types of events they consider when selecting DAM for activity blocking. Of those companies I speak with that have DAM, only a handful of the databases have the blocking capability of DAM enabled -- let's say 10 percent. (I haven't exactly been scientifically rigorous in my accounting, but that's close.) Still, it's a small, small percentage of databases and an even smaller percentage of companies. It seems to be growing a bit as some customers are applying security policy not through changing application logic, but externally with DAM policies -- for example, data usage policies for HIPAA or EU privacy. But it's still a minority.

I ask why because I am still not sure why more companies don't use blocking for databases on a more regular basis. The technology is embedded in most of the DAM platforms and a handful of other database security tools. And in the case of SQL injection specifically, if I were to sit down and select a protection solution in a vacuum, personally I'd lean toward DAM as a means of filtering queries. I do acknowledge my preference is at odds with the market trend. But I think a lot of that is because of WAFs and customer perception of need is greatly altered by WAFs.

Here is why customers don't use DAM to block events:

1. WAFs are-- and were -- bought by companies to comply with PCI. More specifically, it helped companies avoid the more onerous source code security requirements specified in PCI DSS by using a WAF as a substitute. That's not what the PCI Council had in mind, or that is what I am told, but it's the truth nonetheless. That means it was not bought to protect databases, and SQL injection was not on their minds when they made the purchase. Unlike WAFs, nowhere in the PCI specification does it call for DAM.

2. SQL injection is perceived as an external threat to databases, but perpetrated through Web applications. Since customers have a broader set of Web app threats to deal with, and WAFs cover other use cases as well as SQL injection, customers will leverage a WAF investment rather than explore other options.

3. Customers don't want to use any form of database blocking with very large and complex SAP/Oracle Financials systems. Customers still don't fully trust DAM to avoid blocking legit traffic in these environments. The risk of side effects outweighs the benefit.

4. Customers don't really want to take on the management of yet another platform. Enterprise IT already has huge investments (in both time and money) in SIEM, firewalls, network gateways, and WAFs. Some even have DLP on top of the "stuff to manage" pile. Adding DAM policy management and alert reviews on top of that are not really how they want to spend their time.

Right or wrong, that is what customers communicate to me. WAFs are not always the right choice for SQL injection protection -- but in many cases, it's the easier choice.

Adrian Lane is an analyst/CTO with Securosis LLC, an independent security consulting practice. Special to Dark Reading. Adrian Lane is a Security Strategist and brings over 25 years of industry experience to the Securosis team, much of it at the executive level. Adrian specializes in database security, data security, and secure software development. With experience at Ingres, Oracle, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19040
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
KairosDB through 1.2.2 has XSS in view.html because of showErrorMessage in js/graph.js, as demonstrated by view.html?q= with a '"sampling":{"value":"<script>' substring.
CVE-2019-19041
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
An issue was discovered in Xorux Lpar2RRD 6.11 and Stor2RRD 2.61, as distributed in Xorux 2.41. They do not correctly verify the integrity of an upgrade package before processing it. As a result, official upgrade packages can be modified to inject an arbitrary Bash script that will be executed by th...
CVE-2019-19012
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
An integer overflow in the search_in_range function in regexec.c in Oniguruma 6.x before 6.9.4_rc2 leads to an out-of-bounds read, in which the offset of this read is under the control of an attacker. (This only affects the 32-bit compiled version). Remote attackers can cause a denial-of-service or ...
CVE-2019-19022
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
iTerm2 through 3.3.6 has potentially insufficient documentation about the presence of search history in com.googlecode.iterm2.plist, which might allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive information, as demonstrated by searching for the NoSyncSearchHistory string in .plist files within public Git r...
CVE-2019-19035
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-17
jhead 3.03 is affected by: heap-based buffer over-read. The impact is: Denial of service. The component is: ReadJpegSections and process_SOFn in jpgfile.c. The attack vector is: Open a specially crafted JPEG file.