If you are running a business in 2022, you need to be careful about cyber threats – there’s no way around it. Projections and calculations reveal very alarming figures.
Simply put, SQL injection attacks refer to adding malicious input to an SQL database to extract its vulnerabilities. By doing that, hackers gain access to sensitive user information like social security and credit card numbers.
The ubiquity of SQL databases makes SQL injection attacks so common. It’s a potent threat because injection of malicious input into an SQL database is not very difficult for hackers. Any open vulnerabilities could be taken advantage of, and there’s also the risk of some programmers carelessly leaving vulnerabilities in SQL databases.
Effective techniques for defending your business against SQL injection
In this article, we will go through general and specific steps every business should take to prevent SQL injection. While prevention is important, so is preparedness. If you are prepared for a possible SQL injection attack, you are more likely to emerge out of it unscratched.
What is an SQL attack?
An injection attack known as SQL Injection (SQLi) enables the execution of malicious SQL commands. These commands manage a server that sits in front of a web app. SQL Injection flaws allow attackers to get around software security safeguards.
The full data of a SQL database can be retrieved by getting past authentication and authorization of a website or online application. Hackers could therefore add, alter, and remove data in the server using SQL Injection.
Any website or online application that makes use of a SQL database, such as SQL Server, MySQL, or one of the others, may be vulnerable to a SQL Injection flaw. Your critical information, including customer details, private details, proprietary information, copyrighted material, and more, could be accessed by criminals without your permission.
One of the earliest known, most common, and most harmful online application risks is SQL Injection attacks.
Why are SQL injections a threat to all businesses?
As long as you have some or all of your customer information stored on a SQL-based database, you need to worry about SQL injections. There are a few key reasons you should be careful about it:
- SQL injection attacks are very common
- Even small vulnerabilities can be taken advantage of
- Major websites were victims of SQL injections in the past (eg. Yahoo and Sony)
- Small businesses are particularly at threat because they do not have a comprehensive cybersecurity setup
- Many business owners are not aware of SQL injections, which makes it easier for hackers
If you are worried about SQL injections, you need to start evaluating your cybersecurity measures. The effects of an SQL attack can be severe, and it can be impossible for many small businesses to recover from the damage.
How to defend your business against SQL injections
We will explain both general and specific steps that you need to take to prevent SQL injection attacks. Let’s begin with the general steps.
Evaluate your cybersecurity measures
The first thing you need to do is understand where your business stands from a cybersecurity perspective. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a cybersecurity setup in place?
- Are you working with a third-party cybersecurity service provider?
- Do you have a cybersecurity expert on board?
- Are you storing sensitive data on an SQL database?
- Have you performed background checks on all employees?
Your cybersecurity strategy would depend on how you answer these questions. If you say no to all the questions, you need to start from scratch. But if you have answered yes to some, you can bypass a few measures and focus on those relevant to you.
Knowing your business is the key to security. More importantly, you must be prepared for catastrophes like SQL injections. If it’s not even at the back of your mind, recovering from such an attack would be a nightmare. Many business owners do not have any idea about their cybersecurity measures, and that’s not a good thing.
Work with third-party cybersecurity service providers
Third-party cybersecurity service providers have changed the cybersecurity landscape, particularly for small businesses. While it’s feasible for a large corporation to have an in-house cybersecurity team, the same is not true for small businesses.
Preventing an SQL injection attack does not involve measures developed in a vacuum. You need to do pretty much the same things you would do to prevent other cybersecurity threats. However, these measures demand a fair bit of competence from the user’s side, and that’s where third-party software comes into play.
With third-party cybersecurity providers, you can outsource one of the most difficult aspects of managing a business. There are many options to choose from, and different suites are geared toward different businesses. You will find several great options even if you are on a tight budget.
When selecting a third-party cybersecurity suite, make sure it addresses SQL injections particularly. You can consult a cybersecurity expert to evaluate which plans would be best for you and where you can cut costs. However, remember that it’s never a good idea to save a few bucks if it leaves your database vulnerable.
Verify the identity of every user
Identity management is important to prevent any form of fraud. Make sure anyone who accesses your system is authorized and authenticated. Several identity management tools can help you do this with advanced authentication checks like biometrics.
Drawing on the same theme, it’s important to check the backgrounds of your employees. SQL injections are extremely easy to perform if someone from the inside facilitates them. While it’s unlikely to happen for most people, doing a basic background check is never a bad idea.
Identity verification is often neglected in favor of more advanced measures, but getting the fundamentals right is more important.
Verify the identity of every user
If you are working within a dated ecosystem, you are at a much higher risk of suffering from an SQL injection. For example, many older frameworks do not have effective protection against SQL injections. While updating your system mostly relates to software components, the same is also necessary for some hardware components – at least from a performance perspective if not a security perspective.
Be careful about third-party apps
Businesses and even general-purpose users use a lot of third-party apps in their day-to-day activities. However, not every third-party app is safe, including browser extensions and plug-ins.
When it comes to computers that have very specific applications, not using third-party apps is the best option. In case that’s not an option, evaluate any third-party app or extensions that you use on your system.
Finding out whether a third-party app is safe or not is very easy. A simple Google search will tell you whether the app you are using is safe or not.
Now, let’s get into the more specific measures that you can take to prevent SQL injections.
Use parameterized statements
Database drivers let programming languages communicate with SQL databases. An application can create and execute SQL commands on a database, retrieving and altering data as necessary, provided they have a suitable driver.
The inputs (also known as parameters) given into SQL statements are handled safely thanks to parameterized statements. When possible, you may want to use parameterized statements since they offer the best defense from potential SQL injection attacks.
Object Relational Mapping
When converting SQL result tables into code objects, many devs like to use Object Relational Mapping (ORM) frameworks. Owing to ORM technologies, developers will rarely need to create SQL statements in their code as these tools internally employ parameterized statements.
Nevertheless, using an ORM doesn’t really make you invulnerable to SQL injection. When performing more complicated database operations, several ORM frameworks let you write SQL statements or portions of SQL statements.
Escape special characters properly
If you can’t utilize parameterized statements or a framework that generates SQL for you, is to make sure that special string characters in input parameters are properly escaped.
The ability of the attacker to create an input that would abruptly close the argument string in which they occur in the SQL statement is a common need for injection attacks.
The majority of SQL injection attacks can be easily thwarted by escaping symbol characters, and several languages include built-in mechanisms to do this. Unfortunately, there are a few disadvantages to this strategy.
Wherever a SQL statement is written in your code, you must be extremely careful to escape characters. Additionally, not every attack makes use of malicious quote characters.
We hope this guide will help you be better prepared for SQL injection attacks.
By following these steps, you can easily protect your business from a lethal SQL injection.
At the same time, remember to never let your guards down. Cybersecurity is all about adopting the best tech and being aware of the latest developments.
Source: Plato Data Intelligence: Platodata.ai