Every day, hackers unleash attacks designed to abduct confidential information, and database servers of an organization are often the prime targets of these attacks. Databases are one of the most compromised assets. The reason behind databases being frequently targeted is quite simple—they store all the customer records and other confidential business data. You can say that they are at the heart of any organization. When hackers and malicious insiders gain access to sensitive data, they can quickly extract value, inflict damage or impact business operations.
The threats identified over the last several years are the same that continue to plague businesses today. The most common database threats include:
- Database injection attacks: The two major kinds of database injection attacks are SQL injections and NoSQL injections. SQL injections target the traditional database systems while NoSQL injections target “big data” platforms. A significant point to realize here is that, although it is technically true that big data solutions are callous to SQL injection attacks because they don’t use any SQL-based technology, they are, in fact, still susceptive to the same fundamental class of attack. In both types, a successful input injection attack can give an attacker unrestricted access to an entire database.
- Excessive privileges: When workers are given default database privileges that exceed the necessities of their job functions, these privileges can be exploited, “For example, a bank employee whose job requires the ability to change only account holder contact information may take advantage of excessive database privileges and increase the account balance of a colleague’s savings account.” Further, some companies fail to update access privileges for employees who change roles within an organization or leave altogether.
- Unmanaged sensitive data: Many companies strive to maintain an accurate catalog of their databases and the critical data objects enclosed within them. Forgotten databases may hold sensitive information, and new databases can emerge without being noticeable to the security team. Delicate data in these databases will be exposed to threats if the required controls and permissions are not fulfilled.
- Storage media exposure: The Backup storage media is often entirely unsafe from attack. As a result, various security breaches have involved the stealing of database backup disks and tapes. Moreover, failure to audit and monitor the actions of administrators who have low-level access to delicate information can put your data at risk. Taking the relevant measures to preserve backup copies of delicate data and observe your extremely privileged users is not only the best tradition of data security but also mandated by many regulations.
Hence, Databases are a favorite target for attackers because of their data. There are many ways in which a database can be compromised. With proper solutions and a little awareness, a database can be protected.