The outbreak of a global pandemic disrupted the daily operations of many companies. Certain circumstances also prompted a major shift from the physical setting to the digital landscape. Many businesses were unprepared for this sudden change. Other companies, however, were already confident in their digital technology. They were more prepared to face the challenges that COVID-19 had brought with it. Regardless, many companies failed to see the importance of one thing: cybersecurity.
Cybercrime During A Pandemic
Cybercrime statistics saw an increase of 400% compared to the figures pre-pandemic. Cybercriminals sought to capitalise on the global crisis. They set their targets on major companies and even governments. It is imperative that businesses, both big and small, should invest in securing their data. Like any other asset, company databases are prone to vulnerabilities. SQL injections are one of the most common web attacks that companies are at risk of experiencing. It can prove to be damaging to their business operations as well as client’s trust.
SQL Database and SQL Injection
In data-driven applications, SQL is a type of standardised language that can access and manipulate databases. It is often used to execute different commands. Retrieval, updating, or removal of data from a particular database are the most common. In the case of businesses, data can range from sensitive company information to user lists and their private details.
Usually, there are different accounts connected to SQL databases. Each account can only display information necessary for its role. An SQL injection (SQLi) attack uses malicious SQL code, statements, or queries for database manipulation. This gives an attacker unauthorized access to administrative capabilities. It allows them to view, add, delete, or change any type of data.
This type of cybercrime is primarily made possible by the improper coding of applications. Often, websites are most at risk from an SQLi attack. Hiring remote DBA services proficient in SQL servers to help combat this threat is the best option. Nonetheless, there are different types of SQL injections to look out for. In-band SQL Injections An in-band SQLi is the most common type of SQLi attack because of its simplicity and efficiency. Here, both the attack and data-gathering are executed on the same channel of communication. Error-based SQLi and Union-based SQLi are two of its sub-variations.
For an error-based SQLi, the attacker issues various commands to prompt a database to send error messages. These messages can then provide data that might expose the structure of the database. In a Union-based SQLi, takes advantage of the UNION operation in an SQL that combines multiple statements. This, in turn, will also create a response that might possess data an attacker can use to their advantage. Blind SQL Injections A blind SQLi relies on the behavioural patterns of an SQL server. For this type of attack, loads of data are sent to a server and the attacker will wait to see how it responds. As opposed to the in-band SQLi, the response data is not transferred directly from the database to the attacker making this process much slower.
Boolean and time-based are two classifications of blind SQLi. In both cases, an attacker will send an SQL query to prompt a response from the server. The attacker will then have to determine whether the generated response is true or false. Out-of-band SQL Injections The out-of-band SQLi technique is usually reserved as alternatives for the previous SQLi types. This is performed when the attacker is unable to use the same channel for attack and data-gathering for an in-band SQLi. Likewise, when the server is also too slow or unstable to respond properly for a blind SQLi.
This particular attack relies on a server’s capacity to generate DNS or HTTP requests. The DNS provides the database structure. The HTTP is the primary means of communication between the application and the server. Both of these can send enough data for an attacker to manipulate.
There lots of simple ways to help prevent SQLi attacks from happening. Database administrators should always be aware of input validation. This is the best practice that can easily identify illegitimate users like cybercriminals.
Relying on web application firewalls and other types of software is also not that difficult. These tools are usually well-equipped to combat SQLi attacks. However, attackers always come up with new ways to bypass these measures. Check the software regularly to see if it’s up-to-date with the latest security patch.
The global pandemic caused a lot of unfortunate events that affected everything and everyone. One of the more significant effects it created was how companies saw the importance of cybersecurity. At a time when considerable shifts are taking place, it’s much better to prepare for the challenges of the future rather than being complacent and ignorant.