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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What are different aspects of SQL injection attacks?

SQL is the most rated vulnerability of today’s software world. SQL injection is emerging as a popular means for harming the security of the websites.

How exactly an SQL injection attack takes affect?

- In an SQL injection attack, some statements written in SQL language are inputted in a web form.
- This is done to obtain a web site that will carry out operations on the data base.
- Such obtained web sites through SQL injections are often badly designed.
- The attacker uses this badly designed web site to get the access of the data base contents.
- The web site can be used to carry out other operations also as desired by the attacker.
- It is a kind of code injection technique and is often employed for exploiting the security vulnerability in the software of the web site.

An injection attack occurs through two common mistakes which are:

1. Incorrect filtering of the user input for escape characters in string literals which are embedded in the SQL statements. Here becomes a scope for the potential manipulation of SQL statements. The manipulation is done by the end user who is using the data base.

2. The unexpected execution of the input entered by the user that has not been strongly typed. This is referred to as incorrect type handling. The constraints are left unchecked.

What can a SQL injection attack do?

- The SQL commands designed by the attacker are injected in to the data base of the web site or application via a web form through any of the two methods.
- These commands are capable of changing the content of the data base or they can even dump to the attacker’s wish.
- SQL injections attacks can even attack SQL databases rather than only attacking the web sites or web applications.
- SQL injection attacks can be prevented by the use of structured query language which is well designed and defined.
- Such attacks are usually aggressive. SQL injection attack is abbreviated to SQLIA.

According to a research, under normal usage an application experiences 71 attempts per hour in contrast to the 800- 1000 attempts per hour under a direct attack.

SQL injection attack has been declared by open web application security project as one of the top 10 vulnerabilities. It can be divided into 5 sub categories as listed below:

- Classic SQL injection attack
- Interactive SQL injection attack
- Inference SQL injection attack
- Compounded SQL injection attack and
- DBMS specific SQL injection attack

Types of SQL Injection Attack

- Classic SQL injection attack is not feared today since it has become out- dated.
- But, still many web sites and web applications are precautious against it.
- Inference SQL injection attack continues to be a great threat.
- Attackers mostly prefer this method since it is very flexible in deployment and dynamic in nature.
- Compounded SQL injection attack is a new kind of SQLIA.
- It is resultant of combination of SQL injection and web applications such as:

a) DOS attacks + SQL injection
b) DNS hijacking + SQL injection
c) Improper authentication + SQL injection
d) XSS + SQL injection

- A representation of compounded SQL injection attack is provided by the storm worm.
- The DBMS specific SQL injection attack is often considered as supportive.
- There is another kind of SQL injection called blind SQL injection attack which is used to defend a web site or application on verge of being attacked.
- The results of the SQL injection attack are made invisible to the attacker.
- This injection attack is time intensive.

Today several automated tools have also been developed for automation of these attacks. But, that also requires the location of the target information.

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