SQL Injection: It’s Prevalence and Dominance over other vulnerabilities

SQL injections have been ubiquitous for decades now, due to its extensible nature. Unlike some other vulnerabilities that are found and patched with a good defense mechanism, SQL Injections continue to persist to scourge web development to a large extent. They are the attacker’s favorites due to their easy implementation and the potential of being one of the most dangerous attacks.

OWASP defines a SQL injection attack as the insertion or “injection” of a SQL query via the input data from the client to the application. Injections as a whole have been at the top of OWASP's top 10 list of vulnerabilities since 2013. Injections are more inclusive and cover other arenas like networking hardware, application code, and much more. There must have been some solid reasons for its evident dominance on other vulnerabilities for over 8 years now. Let's deep dig into those!

Dependence on traditional SQL databases

Most webpages still reckon on the SQL databases like MySQL and Oracle for storing the data that they get from the user. This user-defined data is quite sensitive and may contain confidential information like- passwords, contact details, business information, etc. This is one of the main causes of SQLi and exposes these webpages to a higher risk to be exploited via SQL injections.

Outdated code and unpatched applications

Let us take an example of a shopping website that was coded and launched 6 years ago. Over time security considerations change and the classes of vulnerabilities being exploited on a large scale change too. SSRF(Server-side request forgery) now finds a place in the OWASP top 10 which was not present in the 2017 list. Hence every webpage must be updated in accordance with the current security scenario to ensure both the security and relevance of the code. Running patched versions of software use plays a crucial role in the security infrastructure too.

Blind trust on the user’s inputs

Frequently, webpages tend to trust the input that is entered by the user as is and store it in their databases. Verification and assurance of the safety of the input are often unseen by the developers. This makes it really easy for the attacker to break in the webpage through the sections of input- the search bar, the comment section, or any other way user can interact with the website. Hence validating user input is as important as sanitizing your hands before eating in the current situation!

Ignorance and low capital investment in the security infrastructure

Security is evolving day-by-day and hence webpages need an optimal investment in the security infrastructure to prevent possible data breaches and attacks. Securing data should not just be perceived as a wall or a single layer of protection. Layered security can be quite essential here- multiple layers make it harder for the adversaries to penetrate into the network. A good security framework requires capital investment in securing the data.

CONCLUSION

Different types of SQL injection attacks are prevalent today and are recurrently used by attackers as they are easier to find and implement than other attacks and bugs. Adversaries use SQLi to carry out malicious tasks like retrieving or altering application data, subverting the application layer, fingerprinting a database, and so on. Despite the fact that organizations have introduced a number of complex security measures to prevent SQL injection, attackers have still remained one step ahead.

Hence this article justifies the dominance of SQL injections over the other vulnerabilities.