What are the most serious database vulnerabilities? Yes, that’s a big question to ask, because there’s so many. So, a better question, what are the most common vulnerabilities found in databases? Well here’s the top 5 vulnerabilities that I believe are the most common.
- SQL injections: “A popular method for hackers to take, SQL injections remain a critical problem in the protection of enterprise databases” (Osborne, 2013). Programs are hacked by doses, and the administrators are normally left with the chaos. “The best ways to protect against these threats are to protect web-facing databases with firewalls and to test input variables for SQL injection during development” (Osborne, 2013).
- Broken databases: Far too often do database administrators notice vulnerabilities, and yet they don’t bother to fix the problem. This could be due to lack of resources and time, however, not patching up vulnerabilities within a database could be critical. Furthermore, most database are developed using external programs, like Oracle or Microsoft. In this case, I’ve found that administrators are also not updating program software as they’re released. It’s vital that programs are kept up-to-date, because companies increasingly enhance their program security within each update release. To assist with frequent updates, I recommend developing a standard process stating when and how to handle system security updates.
“Excessive and unused privileges: Often users get privileges that exceed their needs. These over-granted permissions to a particular user can lead to various problems. If this worker leaves on bad terms, he can use these privileges to steal high sensitive data. This happens because of not properly assigning privilege control mechanisms” (Lynch, 2015).
To easily prevent this problem, users should only have access to programs required to complete their work duties. Also, once a user is fired they should be stripped of all security access. This brings me to the next vulnerability….
- Data leaks: Leaks happen very frequently nowadays, and believe it or not, they mostly arise from internal sources. As mentioned, if a worker leaves on bad terms and still have access to the system, what’s stopping them from leaking database information? “Databases may be considered a “back end” part of the office and secure from Internet-based threats (and so data doesn’t have to be encrypted), but this is not the case. Databases also contain a networking interface, and so hackers are able to capture this type of traffic to exploit it” (Osborne, 2013). To avoid database leaks, it’s best to use encryption (SSL or TLS) when communicating or using programs.
- Malware: This is the most common vulnerability, because malware can be transmitted via email, external hard drives, and more. Majority of users receive suspicious emails (phishing), and then they click on the email to see what it’s about or they simply click on the email mistakenly. Either way, malware can be hidden within the emails, and then transmitted into the computer once the email is open. This is a high-level security issue, because the attacker will then have access to files and programs on the user’s computer, including the database.
Now that you’re aware of these database vulnerabilities, please be mindful and install security layers for prevention. If you choose to not resolve the vulnerabilities, it’s best to prepare for database recovery.
Lynch, S. (2015, November 13). Database Security. Retrieved from INFOSEC Institute: http://resources.infosecinstitute.com/database-security/#gref
Osborne, C. (2013, June 26). The top ten most common database security vulnerabilities. Retrieved from Zero Day: http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-top-ten-most-common-database-security-vulnerabilities/