Security Systems

How to Prevent a Data Breach from SQL Injection Attacks

How to Prevent a Data Breach from SQL Injection Attacks

The average total cost of a data breach right now is $3.79 million, according to the 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis. Cyber attacks are one of the top reasons for this exorbitant sum. Hackers attack websites to gather commercial information, consumer information, or targeted profiles.

Data breach attempts need to be thwarted quickly. Any delay in suppressing them could result in damaging the reputation of both your website and business because companies are required to report the loss of financial and personal data. Your reputation is only a portion of the damage and costs your organization could be subjected to. As hackers become more sophisticated, fighting cyber attacks, like SQL injection attempts, becomes much more difficult.

What if you are the victim of a data breach? You need to be prepared to handle the situation and execute appropriate preventive measures, while maintaining your business functions. The following sections explain how to detect, respond, analyze, and prevent attacks using the right combination of technology, processes, and people.

Detection

SQL injection attacks mainly focus on harvesting sensitive information like login credentials and credit card information. Basically, hackers try to exploit vulnerabilities in applications or the network. Typically, you want to benchmark the events that could happen in your environment. Then you can start tracing anomalous events.

Here is a list of items to be aware of in order to detect an attack within minutes:

  • Scan for new and unique errors.
  • Common SQL injection items: Look for references to system tables, views, functions, and schemas.
  • Permission errors: Look for unauthorized users trying to alter database tables or run the COPY command.

The intuition of experienced people is a powerful tool. Follow up on all those hunches and nagging feelings!

Prevention

These evergreen programming basics: constrain, reject, and sanitize still hold true. Here are some of the simple measures you need to take to protect the integrity of your website and/or applications:

  • Apply security patches regularly, and ensure that known vulnerabilities are patched.
  • Use parameterized queries in SQL codes, instead of the dynamic queries, when building sites.
  • Whitelist all the input validations, and blacklist the known malicious characters.
  • Use custom error messages instead of generic SQL errors, which provide a wealth of information to potential hackers.
  • Monitor all activity logs using automated tools.
  • Acquire threat intelligence from the security community, and maintain a blacklist of attack sources.

Above all, educate your users on effective safety measures. SQL injection can happen to anyone. Make sure you are able to detect it, recognize it, fix it, and assess the damage in order to mitigate future attacks.


Vaish Vijayaram is a Product Marketing Specialist at SolarWinds. With 10+ years of experience as Technical Communicator, she has a penchant for improving user experience by providing usable content. Besides writing technology, she pens articles like "Learning Curve - A Case Study in Intercultural Engineering and Technical Communication" published by IEEE Wiley. She also blogs about and photographs her travel experiences.