Why SQLi Will Continue to Be the Most Attempted Injection Attacks from OWASP 10

SQL injection attacks allow attackers to take advantage of a security vulnerability at the application and database level to obtain unauthorized access. It is a malicious code sent by attackers to cause irreversible changes either to the data or the application’s behavior itself. Because of its business impact on the application, SQL injection remains one of the most common OWASP top 10 security vulnerabilities.

About OWASP Top 10 Security Risks

If you are looking to stay on top of your organization’s application security needs, the OWASP top 10 security risks can be a good way to begin. OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) is a well-meaning non-profit project for raising awareness about cybersecurity needs. It lists the top 10 categories of common security vulnerabilities that organizations must identify and mitigate to ensure their web application security.

Why Do SQL Injection Attacks Continue to Feature in the OWASP Top 10 Security Risks?

Different types of SQL injection attacks exist today which enables the attackers to inject malicious data into an SQL statement. Through this, they perform malicious tasks such as retrieving or modifying application data, subverting application logic, fingerprinting a database, etc. Over the years, organizations have implemented several stringent security measures for SQL injection mitigation, the attackers have still been one step ahead.

There are two major reasons why SQL injection attacks continue to threaten the cybersecurity world –

  1. There are different types of SQL injection attacks

There are usually three types of SQL injections –

  • In-band
  • Inferential (blind)
  • Out-of-band.

The classification is based on the methods employed to exploit the weakness in the application and the way of handling input data. They are further classified into sub-variations depending on the techniques used in the injection. Depending on their scenario, attackers use different techniques to exploit and the impact may vary from bypassing authentication forms to commanding the operating systems. They look for injection points that can be exploited such as looking for applications with SQL errors shown on entering invalid data or improper input handling.

The SQL injections attackers also use a varied set of tools that automate the process and execute the commands quickly. This helps them detect, and exploit SQL injection and to perform database-specific attacks.

  1. The SQL Injection Attacks Have an Extensive Nature of The Impact

The impact of SQL injection attacks can be far-reaching and may vary depending on the target. Data integrity and confidentiality breach are the most common consequences though. An SQL injection can be used to reveal confidential information or cause modification to the database. It can also permanently delete data, access the OS Shell, and execute commands on the system.

However, the potential cost of an SQL injection attack is even higher. It may gravely impact the credibility of an organization. It can also result in the loss of customers’ trust as their personal information such as credit card details, phone number, passwords, etc. can be stolen. Not to mention, the further damage that customers can face due to information theft.

How Can an Organization Enforce OWASP SQL Injection Prevention Measures?

An SQL injection is basically an input validation vulnerability. Although quite common, SQL injection attacks can be contained. Organizations can take counter steps to thwart their penetration by enforcing input validations. However, it is not a fool-proof method because there is no way to ensure that all inputs are validated without causing some false positives, thereby impacting user experience. Thus, other methods such as employing a web application firewall are also utilized.

Also, SQL injection vulnerabilities are often a consequence of developers creating dynamic database queries with user-supplied inputs, without validating. By choosing to stop writing queries that are dynamic in nature or using validated user-supplied input that may contain malicious data, developers can avoid an injection attack.

Finally, using prepared statements with parameterized queries to write database queries will force the developer to define the SQL code and then pass each of the parameters to the query. This helps the database in differentiating between code and data. It also ensures that an attacker cannot change the intent of a query by the insertion of SQL commands.

Similarly, measures such as whitelisting the input validations, frequent scanning and audits, authentication mechanisms, use of latest development platforms, and enforcing the least privileges can further prevent the attacks.

In addition to the above, proper training and awareness sessions should also be conducted for developers and database administrators. Developers can also be provided with a hardening guideline for coding applications with the necessary security configurations.

The Way Forward

When it comes to the OWASP SQL injection prevention, not giving access to external entities, and identifying the vulnerabilities in the application to fix them can help stop malicious traffic from entering your network. There are comprehensive web security solutions in the market such as AppTrana, that can detect vulnerabilities like SQL injection and patch them instantly.

For more cybersecurity features and news, follow Indusface on Twitter and Facebook.

Originally published at https://www.indusface.com.

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