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Database Security Threats

Database security is a set of security measures that protect the database management system against malicious cyber-attacks as well as illegal use. The programs designed for security of databases are created to safeguard not just the database’s data as well as the management system that manages the database and all applications which connects to the database from harm, misuse or attack.

Database security encapsulates methods, tools and techniques that create the security of a database.

Security of Databases

Numerous software weaknesses, configuration errors or the occurrence of negligence or misuse could lead to breach. Here are a few of the most widely known sources and forms of security for databases cyber-attacks.

Insider Threats

Insider threats are an enigma from any of the three following sources Each of them has access into the database:

A malicious insider with bad intentions.
An indecent person within the company that makes the data vulnerable to attacks by negligent actions
Someone who is not a member of the database who acquires credentials via the use of social engineering, or any other method or gain access to database credentials

Insider threats are one of the primary reasons for security breaches in databases and is often the result of many employees have been granted privilege access to users.

Human Error

Poor passwords, sharing passwords loss or loss of data and other unintentional user behavior continue to be the reason for nearly half of the data breaches that are reported.

The Exploitation of Database Software Vulnerabilities

Attackers continuously attempt to identify and exploit weaknesses in software Database management software is a useful attack target. Everyday, new vulnerabilities are discovered and all open source databases management platforms as well as commercial software providers release security patches frequently. If you don’t apply these patches promptly your database may be vulnerable to attacks.

Even if you apply patches in time, you’re always at the chance of zero-day attacks. These occur when hackers discover a security flaw and it hasn’t yet been patched and discovered by the vendor of the database.

SQL/NoSQL Injection Attacks

A threat specific to databases involves the inclusion of arbitrary non-SQL or SQL attack strings in database queries. Most often, these queries are designed as extensions of web-based application forms or through HTTP requests. Every database system is susceptible to attacks like this when developers don’t adhere to safe programming practices and the business doesn’t conduct regular vulnerability tests.

Buffer Overflow Attacks

Buffer overflow occurs when a program attempts to write an enormous amount of data onto an unspecified length block of memory that is greater than the memory block can hold. Criminals may use the excess data, stored in memory addresses adjacent to each other to be the location from which to begin attacks.

Attacks on Denial of Service (DoS/DDoS) Attacks

In a denial-of-service (DoS) attack in which the cybercriminal overpowers the service being targeted–in this case the database server, by using a huge quantity of fake request. This means that the server is not able to process legitimate requests from real users, and in many cases it fails or is unstable.

In the case of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) false traffic can be generated from a huge amount of computers part of a botnet that is controlled by an attacker. This creates huge volume of traffic, and is impossible to stop without adaptable defensive structure. Cloud-based DDoS protection solutions are able to scale rapidly to handle massive DDoS attacks.

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Malware is software that’s designed to exploit weaknesses or cause harm to databases. The malware could be introduced through any device on the endpoint that is connected to the network of the database. Security against malware is crucial for any device but is particularly important for databases due to their value and sensitivity.

A constantly evolving IT environment

The changing IT environment makes databases more vulnerable to threats. These are some trends that could create new types of attacks against databases or require the use of new security measures:

The volume of data that is stored, processing, and capture are increasing exponentially in almost every organization. Data security practices and tools need to be highly adaptable to meet needs in the near and future.
Distributed infrastructure–network environments are increasing in complexity, especially as businesses transfer workloads to hybrid cloud or multi-cloud architectures, making the deployment, management, and choice of security solutions more difficult.
The ever-strengtheningly strict requirements of the regulatory system–the regulation compliance environment is increasing in complexity, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of all mandates is becoming more difficult.
Cybersecurity skills shortage — there’s a shortage of skilled cybersecurity experts. Organizations have difficulty fill the security roles. This makes it more difficult to secure crucial infrastructure, such as databases.

How Do You Secure Your Database Server?

Database servers are virtual or physical computer that is running the database. Securely securing a database server, sometimes referred to “hardening” is a procedure that involves the physical protection, security of networks and secure configuration of the operating system.

Be sure to ensure physical Database Security

Avoid sharing servers for database and web application applications, particularly if your database holds sensitive data. While it might be cheaper and simpler to host your website and database on the same hosting service, you’re placing your security data into the hands of someone else.

If you are relying on a web hosting provider in order to handle your database make sure it’s a reliable company with an impressive track record in security. It is recommended to steer away from hosting that is free because of the potential insecurity.

If you are managing your database from an on-premise data center, bear in the mind that the data center could be vulnerable to attacks by the outside or by insider threat. Make sure you have security measures in place such as cameras, locks and security personnel inside the physical space. Access to servers should be recorded and only given to those who are authorized.

Also, don’t place backups of databases in places that are accessible to the public for example, Web folders that are temporary, partitions or cloud storage buckets that are not secure.

Lock down Accounts and privileges

Let’s take a look at an example of the Oracle Database Server. After the database has been installed it will be able to run it is installed, the Oracle Database Configuration Assistant (DBCA) expires automatically and locks the majority of default user accounts for the database.

When you set up an Oracle database by hand the database will not be locked and the default account for privileged users will not be locked or expired. The password remains exactly the same, as does their username by default. An attacker may try with these credentials in the first place for connecting to the database.

It is crucial to ensure that each user account that is privileged on the database server is set up with a secure unique password. If accounts are not used or are no longer needed, they should be deactivated and secured.

The remaining accounts’ access must be restricted to the minimum level necessary. Each account should be granted access to the tables and functions (for example, SELECT and insert) that are required from the individual. Do not create user accounts that have access to all tables within the database.

Everyday Patch Database servers

Make sure that the patches are up-to-date. The effective management of database patches is an essential security measure as attackers constantly seek for security vulnerabilities that could be exploited in databases. Additionally, new malware and viruses are discovered every day.

The timely release of the most current versions of the database service packs, crucial security hotfixes and cumulative updates can improve the reliability of databases.

Disable Public Network Access

The applications of organizations are stored in databases. In the majority of real-world scenarios users don’t need directly access to databases. So, you must block any access by public networks to databases in the event that you are hosting service provider. In the ideal scenario, an organization would establish Gateway servers (VPN as well as SSH tunnels) to allow remote administrators.

Make sure that all files and backups are encrypted.

Whatever your security is no matter how well-defended your system is, there is always a possibility that a hacker could penetrate your system. However, hackers aren’t the only risk in the database’s security. Your employees could also be a threat for your company. There’s always the chance that a careless or malicious employee could gain access the file that they do not have access to.

By encrypting your data, it makes it impossible to read for employees and attackers. Without an encryption key they are unable to access the data and this is a final protection against unwelcome attacks. Make sure to secure all critical applications such as data files, data files, and backups to ensure that unauthorised users are unable to read your important information.

Database Security Best Practices

Here are some best practices you can follow to enhance the security of your sensitive databases.

Actively manage passwords and user Access

If you are a part of an organization that is large it is important to think about automating access management using access management or password management software. This will grant authorized users who have a temporary password with the right to access the database each time they require access to databases.

It also records the actions completed within that period and prevents admins in sharing passwords. Although administrators might think it is beneficial to share passwords, it makes accountability and security of databases nearly impossible.

Additionally to the above security measures, the following are suggested:

Strong passwords should be used and enforced
Hashes of passwords need to be stored in a secure and salted format
Accounts need to be locked following multiple login attempts
Accounts are regularly reviewed and removed if employees move to new roles, leave the organization or cease to require access to the same degree of privileges.

Check Your Database Security

Once you’ve set up your security measures for your database You must then test it against real threats. Conducting penetration tests or audits with your personal database can enable you to get into an attitude of cybercriminals and pinpoint any weaknesses you may not have noticed.

To ensure that the test is complete include legitimate hackers or reputable penetration testing companies to conduct the security test. Penetration testers offer comprehensive reports detailing vulnerabilities in databases that are critical to immediately investigate and correct these weaknesses. Conduct a penetration test on an important database system at least once a year.

Make use of Real-Time Database Monitoring

Continuously scanning your database for breaches increases the security of your database and allows you to swiftly respond to any attacks.

Particularly, File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) will allow you to record every action that is performed on the server hosting your database and alert you to potential security breaches. If FIM detects changes to the database’s important files, make sure that security personnel are alerted and are able to examine and respond on the security threat.

Utilize Web Application and Database Firewalls

A firewall is a must to safeguard databases from security threats. A firewall by default will not allow access to data. It should also block your database from initiating outbound connections , unless there’s an exceptional reason for doing this.

While you are protecting your database by deploying the firewall, you need to implement an application firewall (WAF). This is due to attacks targeted at web-based applications, such as SQL injection, could get illegal access to databases.

A firewall for databases will not prevent the majority of attacks on web applications as traditional firewalls function at the layer of network, while web application layers function on the app layer (layer 7 , of OSI model). OSI structure). A WAF is a layer 7 firewall and can detect malicious web applications, such as SQL injection attacks and block them before it causes harm to your database.