SQL Injection is dangerous and is used to undermine website security. Keeping your website secure & preventing Injection is a must. I have come up with some simple tips to help prevent injections and give you some insight to the key approach in website security.
You have probably heard the term “SQL” (pronounced “sequel”) It’s a database programming language whose long name is “structured query language.” Think of SQL as a formal way of asking a database what it contains, but having it leave out what you don’t want to know. SQL, since it is robust and versatile, can be a dangerous tool used to undermine website security.
But the term “SQL injection,” is truly one of the scary tools hackers use in cracking web site security. Hackers roam the Internet for web sites with back-end data base support (customer lists with personal data, transaction and banking records, for example).
With SQL injection, attackers enter the database application and enter their own SQL codes, which can result in data theft or deletion, as well as malicious defacing of the web site. It’s all done through built-in vulnerabilities in web site design along with some rather clever manipulation of SQL coding.
Given the right conditions, a hacker can bypass your authentication protocols to enter your site. Then through joining the hacker’s malicious SQL with the existing queries in the target database, the security breach is complete and the damage begins.
Fighting SQL injections with “blacklists” and “whitelists”
An SQL blacklist is like anti-virus software, which relies on keeping track of “evil” sources (SQL characters, actually) and trusting only those not on the list. When a blacklisted source tries to hack into your site, the source is blocked and an alarm is sounded. The problem, again, just like anti-virus programs, is keeping the list up to date and immune to constantly growing threats.
Whitelisting, on the other hand, according to one CISCO piece, compares each piece of the hacker’s SQL input against an authorized list of permitted characters: “This approach is more effective in mitigating the risk of SQL injection, as it is more restrictive concerning which types of input are allowed.”
What you can do
Locking your data through multi-layers of authentication, as well as selectively encrypting user log in and financial data details are two things you can do. Also, never run a database application on your website from the database administrator account. Whatever your administrator can do (which is usually everything), a hacker who breaches your database can do as well.
Lots more technical safeguards
There are other anti-SQL injection safeguards. For example you can store and abstract your database design beneath additional security layers and essentially hide what you don’t want hackers to see (a username and password table, for example).
Read all about identifying SQL Injection vulnerabilities in the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team’s pamphlet, “Practical Identification of SQL Injection Vulnerabilities.”
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