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What is an SQL Injection Attack? How to prevent it?

what is an SQL injection attack

SQL Injection involves the execution of malicious SQL statements in applications using SQL databases like MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, etc. Criminals and attackers inject malicious SQL statements to gain control over a database server of a web application. The SQL Injection attacks have not come into existence today. They have been prevalent over a period of time. Let’s take a deeper look into what is an SQL injection attack.

Attackers can smoothly overcome the web page or web application security measures to retrieve complete information of the SQL database. Cybercriminals are particularly interested in gaining unauthorized access to confidential data like customer information, personal data, trade secrets, intellectual property, etc.

How are SQL injection attacks performed?

First of all, it involves the identification of vulnerable user inputs in a web page or web application. The cybercriminal then creates the input content. 

Then, the attacker injects the malicious payload into the SQL statements of these vulnerable web applications. Further, these malicious SQL commands are executed in the database. 

What are the consequences of SQLi attacks?

  • Cyber exploiters steal user credentials.
  • Manipulate the output data of the database.
  • Alter data easily in the database.
  • Add new and false data in the database.
  • Delete database records, drop tables, etc.
  • Some database servers give access to the operating system, so SQLi attack can directly impact the OS, internal network bypassing the firewall protection, and do a lot more potential damage.

Now that we know what an SQL injection attack is and how it it performed, let’s see how can we prevent it. SQLi vulnerability is difficult to tackle. The usual prevention methods depend on the subtype of SQLi vulnerability, SQL database engine, programming language, etc.

  • If you have identified an SQL Injection vulnerability, then you can use a firewall to clean your SQL inputs for the time-being. 
  • The sure-short way to prevent SQL Injection is to avoid any kind of inputs from untrusted sources.
  • The application should be designed in such a way that it never uses the input directly.
  • It is essential that the input is always validated.
  • Turning off the visibility of database errors on the production sites is a good way to prevent SQL Injection attacks.
  • Train and create awareness among everyone involved in building web applications like QA staff, DevOps, SysAdmins, and developers.
  • Verify and filter user input based on Whitelists and not blacklists.
  • Scan the web applications with the help of a web vulnerability scanner.
  • Use modern development technologies and verified platforms to prevent SQL Injection attacks.
  • Employing the latest technologies and languages for development purposes is essential to safeguard the applications from SQL Injection attacks.

This is all about SQL Injection attacks and how to prevent it easily using general strategic methods as per the above-mentioned tips and techniques. 

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