This article is to try and enable you to understand the basis of an SQL attack. It gives us the view of how attackers take advantage of SQL injection vulnerabilities and prevention tactics one should use when facing an SQL attack or on how one can be able to detect a SQL attack quickly.

SQL Injection Scanner

Because an SQL injection attack basically exploits vulnerable Web applications and database code, the best way to prevent this is by resolving the code’s vulnerability. Any place where a code dynamically generates SQL query using data from an external source should be closely checked.

This can be done best (especially when looking at on larger projects) by the use of an automatic source code scanning tool and a web vulnerability scanners.

The good thing about web vulnerability scanner is that it will spot common technical vulnerabilities such as SQL injection flaws, cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, hidden field manipulation, parameter tampering, backdoors, debug options and buffer overflows.

If at any point there is use of third party applications that utilize a database back-end, it is always vital that one follows any vendor updates regarding vulnerabilities and patches to ensure the new code is not introducing new vulnerabilities into your own system.

Even if your database administrator and application developers are following the best practices, the deployment of an application-layer firewall or a web –application firewall is still recommended. WAF can provide protection beyond that of traditionally network firewall and intrusion detection or prevention systems. Many, like the ones produced by Imperva Inc. and Barracuda networks Inc. can be able to prevent attacks such as the SQL injection attacks which target flaws in application logic or technical vulnerabilities in software.

SQL Injection Attacks Prevention Tips

SQL injection attacks needs to be attacked in many levels, but the key or major defense is the use of a parameterized stored procedures. This is where the requests made to the database are made using parameters and user-defined subroutines instead of building SQL commands using values supplied directly by a user.

Parameters not only type safe but they greatly reduce the likely success of an SQL injection attack. If access to the data is only ever permitted via stored procedures, then permission for users to access data does not need to be explicitly given on any data tables.

Even in the case where one is using parameterized stored procedures, your application still is in need of validating and sanitizing of all the data inputs at all time, whether it is supplied by your users, authenticated customers or a read from a cookie. This means the checking to ensure that the data is of correct type, length and format and within an expected range. Any data that is not well formed and corrected should be rejected.

Web applications should never run with administrative privileges at server level or at the database level, otherwise an attacker could potentially perform any task available to an administrator. Run the application with the least privileges that are necessary for it to function, the database should function with permissions set to only the essential resources. That way an attacker is confined by a limited set of permissions, should he or she succeed in bypassing your defenses.

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