Due to the fact that databases contain sensitive and valuable information from different enterprises, it is one of the most attractive targets for hackers. Any lack of data security of the databases can end up causing the loss of a lot of critical data, which could be corporate data, financial data, or even the intellectual property. Cybercriminals can then end up making a profit by conducting the breach of servers of different companies and damaging their databases. This makes it highly necessary to give ample attention to database security testing to minimize the security flaws related to it.
If you think that you have already had ample security installed, then you need to think about the names of the giant corporations which ended up being the victim of such a cyber attack. Facebook, Yahoo, Equifax, Gmail, eBay, and Slack data breaches are the most commonly heard cases of database breaching. Due to these rampant activities, it becomes highly necessary to take effective measures to ensure database security. But sadly, most people aren’t even aware of the different security flaws that could affect the information in the database.
Before you plan on making your database secure, it is important to know actually what you have been hiding from. So, here are the security issues that can threaten the data maintained in the databases:
One of the most common reasons that the databases become vulnerable to the damages is because of the lack of due care at the time of the deployment, which is highly necessary. We all know that every database is tested for the functionalities that it should perform and is designed to do so, but very few checks are aligned to make sure the database is not doing anything which it should not be doing.
Most people take the database to be the bank-end and thus assume that there is no need to safeguard it from any internet-based issues and even are not required to be encrypted. But this is one of the most inaccurate statements as it is equally important to save the database too. It is due to the fact that people don’t know that the databases also contain a networking interface, which is the reason that the hackers are able to capture it and can use this type of traffic to conduct the exploitation. For avoiding these kinds of pitfalls, it is important for the administrators to make use of SSL- or TLS-encrypted communication platforms.
Complex and weak database infrastructure
Generally, the hackers don’t take control of the database in one shot. Instead, they go slowly and try to find a particular weakness or a loophole in the infrastructure of the database and then use it to get into the database by taking advantage of the situation. They plan and then launch a string of attacks until they finally reach the backend. Though most people consider using security software to protect the data sadly, such software is not capable of complete protecting the system from such cases of manipulations.
There can be times when you focus on any specific feature flaws, but in such cases, you should not end up ignoring the fact that the overall database infrastructure might be too weak or too complex to secure from the flaws. In case the database infrastructure is too complex, it increases the chances of forgetting or neglecting to check and fix any possible weaknesses. This makes it highly necessary to ensure that all the departments maintain the same control level and segregates systems for the purpose of decentralizing the focus, minimizing any possible risk.
Poor encryption and data breach
It is possible that you would simply be considering your database to be the backend section of your work and thus had been focusing more on controlling and eliminating the internet-related threats. But you can’t ensure the complete security of your data this way. You have to pay equal attention to your database too. It is important always to stay focused on minimizing every condition that could lead to the data breach. This is where the need for encrypting the data comes up. The network interfaces in the databases can easily be tracked by the hackers, and in no time, they could leave you deprived of your own sensitive information. What you need in a proper encryption system for which you can consider using TLS or SSL encrypted communication platforms. Also, you can consider taking the remote DBA services to deal which such issues and minimize the data breach risks.
Insufficient protection against SQL injections
When the discussion is about database protection, SQL injection always emerges as one of the major roadblocks. In such cases, the injection attacks the applications which end up intriguing the database administrators to clean the mess of the malicious codes and variables which are inserted in the strings. For the protection of the web-facing databases, web application security testing and firewall implementation can be considered as the best ways.
Though SQL injection can be considered as the major problem for the ones who are running an online business, it is not a major threat in the case of mobile phones. Thus, the businesses that have a mobile version of their web application can be on a safe side.
Stolen database backups
When we talk about threats to databases, we can list it in two categories- internal and external. We always try to save our data from external hackers, but there can also be cases when the companies have to struggle with internal threats more than the external ones. There’s no way any business owner can be 100% sure of the loyalty of its employees. There are always chances that anybody accessing the sensitive data can end up stealing and selling the confidential data of the company to any third-party organizations and acquiring profit for it.
But, there are also measures to be followed through which the chances of internal threats to the database of the company can be controlled. Such risks can be eliminated by working on encryption of the database archives. You can also consider implementing strict security standards and can apply high fines for anyone who is involved in the case of a security violation. Along with this, you should also consider using cybersecurity software and should keep making your team aware of it with personal consulting and corporate meetings.
Sub-standard key management
The role of key management systems is to ensure that the keys remain safe. But due to the negligence, it is found that the encryption keys are stored on the disk drives of the companies, which clearly invokes the risk of the key being stolen or getting misused, which can even end up in data breach. There is a false belief in some database administrators that these keys have to be left on the disk because of the database failures, but the truth is simply leaving the keys on the company’s disk can leave the database vulnerable to attacks.
Abusing the database features
Apart from all these security flaws of the database, another possible case of database exploit is the misuse of a standard database feature. For example, a hacker or intruder can gain access to the system or the data through legitimate credentials of the authenticated user before forcing the service for running the arbitrary code. Through it is complex, in most cases, the hackers gain access through just the simple flaws that end up making the system vulnerable for the being bypassed or taken advantage of. This is where you can work on removing the chances of future abuse by removing any unnecessary tools. This is how you can consider avoiding attacks by shrinking the surface areas which the hackers study before attacking the system.
Lack of segregation
The lack of segregation of the powers of the administrators and the users, along with their duties, can end up minimizing the chances of any theft or attack by the internal staff. Along with this, if you work on limiting the power of user accounts, that will give the hacker a harder time to get the complete control of the database.
There’s a common thread that connects to all the vulnerabilities associated with the database, which is a lack of consistency. There is no database technology problem in this situation, but it could be an administrative issue. It is important for the system administrators to develop a constant practice to look after the database and avoid any inconsistencies. This is how they can stay aware of the possible threats and vulnerabilities and avoid leaving any discrepancies, which can form a loophole for future attacks.
Though businesses these days know well about the need for security testing of the database and prevent it from the evil eyes of the hackers, they still fail to implement the same. They end up giving priority to prevent the system from internet-based threats and end up leaving the loopholes in the databases. All of the above-mentioned security flaws are just the loopholes that could be misused by the hacked, left due to lack of security measures and negligence.