By Ericka Chickowski
Nov 19, 2010
The danger of SQL injection last week hit the limelight once again when
the British Royal Navy's website was shut down temporarily in response
to an attack that had Royal Navy brass wondering whether the hack
resulted in unauthorized access to sensitive back-end database files.
Following investigation, the Royal Navy released a statement that "no
malicious damage had been done" and that "access to this website did not
give the hacker access to any classified information." But the attack
was a splashy highlight to the dangers of SQL injections, which,
according to the recently released Verizon Business 2010 Payment Card
Industry Compliance Report, is the No. 2 most utilized threat action
causing payment card breaches, just behind backdoors.
In a report released by Cisco this week, the firm said SQL injections
made up 36.86 of all events recorded by Cisco Remote Operations
Services. "SQL injection is not caused by a vulnerability per se, but
rather is due to the website [or] database administrator's failure to
parameterize or properly escape characters and strings in SQL queries,"
says Mary Landesman, market intelligence manager at Cisco. "This allows
attackers to submit a query that is acted upon as if it were an actual
command to take some particular action against the database, rather than
the expected query to just return the data intended."
According to Jeromie Jackson, president of the San Diego OWASP chapter
and a security trainer for developers, SQL injection attacks pose a big
danger to back-end databases when combined with other simple attacks.
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