/feb 26, 2024

Practical Steps to Prevent SQL Injection Vulnerabilities

By Jenny Buckingham

In today's digital landscape, web applications and APIs are constantly under threat from malicious actors looking to exploit vulnerabilities. A common and dangerous attack is a SQL injection.

In this blog, we will explore SQL injection vulnerabilities and attacks, understand their severity levels, and provide practical steps to prevent them. By implementing these best practices, you can enhance the security of your web applications and APIs.

Understanding SQL Injection Vulnerabilities and Attacks

SQL injection attacks occur when hackers manipulate an application's SQL queries to gain unauthorized access, tamper with the database, or disrupt the application's functionality. These attacks can lead to identity spoofing, unauthorized data access, and chained attacks.

SQL injection is a technique where hackers inject malicious SQL queries into a web application's backend database. This vulnerability arises when the application accepts user input as a SQL statement that the database executes. Attackers exploit this vulnerability to access sensitive data and manipulate the application's behavior.

The impact and severity of an SQL injection attack depend on the security measures in place and the attacker's skill. Injection attacks are recognized as one of the most common and far-reaching attacks by the Online Web Application Security Project (OWASP)

Practical Steps to Prevent SQL Injection Vulnerabilities

Utilize Parameterized Queries

A parameterized query is a SQL statement that asks the user to provide values or variables before it is executed by the server. This method allows you to define the acceptable SQL code, making it easier for the database server to differentiate between user input data and executable code.

By automatically quoting the parameter's value, a parameterized query makes sure that user-supplied input cannot disrupt the application's logic, effectively preventing SQL injection attacks. Even if a hacker tries to enter malicious SQL commands, the purpose of the query remains the same, safeguarding against the execution of unwanted statements.

Implement Stored Procedures

Stored procedures are a helpful tool to store and access prepared SQL statements within the database server. They allow for grouping multiple SQL statements into a single unit, making them easy to reuse.

This approach makes sure that the application only runs trusted SQL queries, effectively preventing SQL injection attempts. Additionally, many development frameworks support parameterization of stored SQL statements, adding an extra layer of protection against SQL injection attacks.

Enforce the Law of Least Privilege

Limit the use of administrative privilege accounts when connecting the API to the database server, unless absolutely necessary. This is important because attackers could exploit the database to gain access to the root system, leading to more severe attacks on the operating system and backend server.

It is also advisable to assign separate database access credentials for each application or entity, with minimal access rights to the data tables. By implementing Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC), teams can evaluate user access needs and grant appropriate permissions accordingly.

Leverage Dynamic Application Security Testing

Veracode Dynamic Analysis is a dynamic application security testing solution that scans your applications at various stages of the software development process to find and address SQL vulnerabilities. It specifically focuses on identifying injection vulnerabilities in web applications and APIs, making sure that no blind spots are left unaddressed. The solution uses test cases with SQL payloads and a comprehensive list of queries to pinpoint vulnerabilities. 

Veracode Dynamic Analysis seamlessly integrates with modern web development stacks, enabling you to quickly scan your applications for SQL injection vulnerabilities. During the assessment, the tool compares your website against Veracode's comprehensive vulnerability database and OWASP's top 10 benchmarks to ensure thorough coverage.

Strengthen Your Web Applications and APIs Against Attacks

SQL injection vulnerabilities pose a significant threat to web applications and APIs. To protect your applications, it's important to have a clear understanding of SQL injection attacks and their severity levels. By following the practical steps and best practices outlined in this blog, you can strengthen your applications against these types of attacks.

Veracode Dynamic Analysis (DAST), along with the Veracode Software Security Platform, provides a comprehensive solution for application security testing. It rapidly scans and tests web applications and APIs, identifying and addressing security gaps. Dive deeper into practical steps for preventing SQL Injection vulnerabilities in our SQL Prevention Guide. Or try Veracode DAST Essentials for free to begin detecting and addressing SQL injections today.


Related Posts

By Jenny Buckingham

Jenny Buckingham is a Product Marketing Manager helping developers and security professionals secure their cloud-native application development. With a focus on understanding her customer’s needs, she helps companies leverage powerful solutions to overcome security challenges.