How to prevent SQL injection

How to prevent SQL injection? Expert Advice!

Reading Time: 8 minutes

What is the SQL injection (SQLi) concept?

SQL injection, a sneaky online security flaw, can have harmful effects on your database. An attacker can manipulate your application’s queries and gain access to sensitive information, like your own personal data and other information your application can access. This could lead to changes in the content and functionality of the application. But don’t worry, you can protect yourself from these attacks! By taking steps to prevent SQL injection, you can keep your data and server safe.

How to prevent SQL injection

Want to learn how to prevent SQL injection? It’s easy, just follow some best practices, such as using parameterized queries, escaping user input, whitelisting input, using stored procedures, validating input, and limiting privileges.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1597499633&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mermaidbh 20&language=en USir?t=mermaidbh 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=1597499633
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0B5MM3RMK&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mermaidbh 20&language=en USir?t=mermaidbh 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B0B5MM3RMK
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1945051752&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mermaidbh 20&language=en USir?t=mermaidbh 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=1945051752
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1119867185&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mermaidbh 20&language=en USir?t=mermaidbh 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=1119867185

What is SQL injection?

SQL injection explained!

Have you ever heard of a sneaky little security flaw called SQL injection? It’s a popular technique used by hackers to tamper with your database and steal sensitive information. But don’t worry, you can protect yourself from this cunning threat!

Think of it this way: imagine your database is a treasure chest and your queries are the key to unlocking it. With SQL injection, a hacker can easily forge their own key and gain unauthorized access to your valuable information. They can even change or delete the data, causing chaos for you and your users.

The good news is, you can secure your treasure chest and keep your information safe. By learning about SQL injection and taking steps to prevent it, you can outsmart those sneaky hackers and keep your database secure.

What are the effects of a SQL injection?

Breaches using SQL injection can be extremely harmful to a company. Companies have access to confidential customer and company information, and SQL injection attacks frequently target such information. Businesses must practice preventive and reduce vulnerabilities before an attack takes place since the effects of a successful SQL injection attack can be severe. To accomplish that, you must comprehend how a SQL injection attack works so that you are aware of your adversary.

How to prevent SQL injection

Any of the following effects may result from a malicious person successfully executing a SQL injection attack:

  • Reveals Important Organization Data By using SQL injection, hackers can retrieve and modify data, which puts confidential company information kept on the SQL server in danger of being revealed.
  • Confidentiality of Users May Be Compromised: Depending on the information kept on the SQL server, a breach may reveal sensitive user information, including credit card details.
  • Providing a hacker with system administration rights: If a database user has administrative rights, malicious code from the attacker can be used to enter the system. Create a database user with the fewest rights feasible to protect yourself against this type of vulnerability.
  • Giving an Attacker Full Access to Your System: If you check usernames and passwords with flimsy SQL statements, an attacker could access your system without being aware of a user’s credentials. An attacker can do more harm if they have full access to your system and are able to access and alter sensitive data.
  • Your data’s integrity could be compromised since an attacker could alter or remove data from your system using SQL injection.

What are SQL Injection (SQLi) Types?

Organizations can better prepare for attacks and fix weaknesses by recognizing cybersecurity risks. Let’s examine the many sorts of SQL injection attacks, which may be divided into three groups: in-band SQL injection, inferential SQL injection, and out-of-band SQL injection.

I. Initial SQL Injection

The most frequent threat is an in-band SQL injection. With this kind of SQL injection attack, the attacker and data collector use the same communication channel. The most prevalent kinds of in-band SQL injection attacks use the following methods:

SQL injection based on errors: By using a SQL statement to request an error message from the database server, attackers can learn details about the structure of the database using this method. While error warnings are helpful when creating a web page or application, they eventually provide a security risk since they reveal database information. You can turn off error messages after a website or service is operational to avoid this issue.

The UNION SQL operator is used by attackers to merge numerous select queries into a single HTTP response using the union-based SQL injection technique. This method allows a hacker to retrieve data from the database. This method of SQL injection is the most prevalent and needs more security precautions to prevent than error-based SQL injection.

II. Deductive SQL Injection

Due to the fact that, unlike with in-band SQL injection, the website database does not send data to the attacker, inferential SQL injection is also known as blind SQL injection. Instead, by delivering data payloads and watching for the response, an adversarial user can discover the architecture of the server. In-band SQL injection attacks are more frequent, but inferential SQL injection attacks are less frequent since they can take longer to execute. The two varieties of inferential SQL injection attacks employ the following methods:

Boolean injection: Using this tactic, attackers send a SQL query to the database and watch for the response. If the information in the HTTP response was altered, attackers can deduce whether a result is true or false.

Time-based injection: Using this method, attackers submit a SQL query to the database, forcing it to wait a predetermined amount of time before answering. Depending on how long it takes for a response, attackers can evaluate whether the result is accurate or inaccurate. If the initial letter of the name of the first database is A, for instance, a hacker could execute a SQL query that orders a delay. In the event that a delay occurs, the attacker will understand that the query was successful.

III. Unrestricted SQL Injection

The least frequent attack type is out-of-band SQL injection. Malicious individuals conduct this kind of SQL injection attack using a different communication channel than they do for data collection. If a server is too sluggish or unreliable for inferential SQL injection or in-band SQL injection, attackers will utilize this technique.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1951791789&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mermaidbh 20&language=en USir?t=mermaidbh 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=1951791789
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1659191688&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mermaidbh 20&language=en USir?t=mermaidbh 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=1659191688
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0BG5JN89K&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mermaidbh 20&language=en USir?t=mermaidbh 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B0BG5JN89K
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=1119872197&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=mermaidbh 20&language=en USir?t=mermaidbh 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=1119872197

How to identify vulnerabilities due to SQL injection?

Burp Suite’s web vulnerability scanner can efficiently and effectively find the majority of SQL injection issues. By running a systematic series of tests against each application entry point, SQL injection can be found manually. Typically, this entails:

How to prevent SQL injection
  1. Entering the single quotation character ” and checking for any mistakes or other irregularities.
  2. Submitting some SQL-specific syntax that compares the entry point’s base (original) value to a different value, then examining the resultant application responses for systematic discrepancies.
  3. Boolean conditions like OR 1=1 and OR 1=2 are entered, and the program is then examined for variations in its replies.
  4. Searching for variations in response times after submitting payloads that are intended to cause delays when a SQL query is conducted.

What are Multiple instances of SQL injection in the query?

The WHERE clause of a SELECT query is where most SQL injection problems appear. Experienced testers usually have a good understanding of this kind of SQL injection.

However, SQL injection flaws are theoretically possible throughout the query and across many query forms. Other places where SQL injection most frequently occurs are:

  • In UPDATE statements, within the updated values or the WHERE clause.
  • In INSERT statements, within the inserted values.
  • In SELECT statements, within the table or column name.
  • In SELECT statements, within the ORDER BY clause.

What are the Techniques for avoiding SQL injection?

By using parameterized queries (often referred to as prepared statements) instead of string concatenation within the query, most cases of SQL injection can be avoided. The user input is concatenated into the query in the following code, making it susceptible to SQL injection.

> String query = “SELECT * FROM products WHERE category = ‘”+ input + “‘”; 

> Statement statement = connection.createStatement(); 

> ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery(query);

This code can be easily rewritten in a way that prevents the user input from interfering with the query structure:

> PreparedStatement statement = connection.prepareStatement(“SELECT * FROM products WHERE category = ?”); 

> statement.setString(1, input); 

> ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery();

When unknown input is utilized as query data, such as in the WHERE clause or the values in an INSERT or UPDATE statement, parameterized queries can be used. They cannot be used to manage unverified input in the ORDER BY clause or other sections of the query, such as table or column names. In order to deliver the desired behavior, application functionality that inserts untrusted data into those portions of the query will need to adopt a new strategy, such as white-listing acceptable input values or employing alternative logic.

The string that is used in the query must always be a hard-coded constant and never contain any variable data from any source in order for a parameterized query to be effective at preventing SQL injection. Keep utilizing string concatenation within the query for scenarios that are deemed safe and resist the temptation to decide for each piece of data if it can be trusted. It is far too simple to misjudge the potential source of data or allow updates to other codes to go against presumptions about whether data is contaminated.

To prevent SQL injection, you can use the following techniques:

  1. Parameterized queries: Use placeholder parameters in SQL statements instead of string concatenation or interpolation.
  2. Escaping user input: Sanitize user input by escaping characters that have special meanings in SQL.
  3. Whitelisting input: Only accept input that matches a specified pattern, such as a valid email address or phone number.
  4. Stored procedures: Use stored procedures to define database logic instead of constructing dynamic SQL statements.
  5. Input validation: Validate user input before sending it to the database, for example, checking for expected data types, lengths, and range values.
  6. Limiting privileges: Limit the privileges of the database user to only what is required to perform the necessary operations.

Guidelines on How to prevent SQL injection attacks on Your Database

You can build security precautions into the design of your website or web application to reduce the risk of SQL injection attacks. The best strategies to stop SQL injection attacks, for instance, are the following security preventative measures:

How to prevent SQL injection
  • Always install the vendor’s most recent updates and security fixes.
  • Set only the bare minimum of privileges for accounts that connect to the SQL database.
  • Avoid using the same database logins for many websites and applications.
  • Verify every user-provided input, including drop-down menus, by using validation.
  • Set up error reporting so that web browsers on clients don’t receive error messages.
  • Utilize prepared statements with parameterized queries to define all the SQL code and pass in each parameter, preventing attackers from changing the purpose of a query afterward.
  • Using parameters that are stored in the database and invoked from the application, built-in stored procedures can be used to create SQL statements.
  • To stop invalid user input from being added to the query, apply input validation to the allowlist.
  • All user-supplied data must be escaped before being included in a query to prevent confusion with developer-supplied SQL code.

Useful Links

Similar Posts