Identifying the Top Five Database Security Threats Aug 27,2013

Every database is subject to an overwhelming range of threats. It is important to be aware of the top five database security threats in order to design a database security solution that will mitigate the most significant database vulnerabilities. More so, by addressing these top five threats, organizations will meet the compliance and risk mitigation requirements of the most secured companies in the world.


The top five database security threats include the following:


  1. Excessive Privilege Rights or Abuse of Legitimate Privilege Rights


There is definitely high risk associated in providing users with database access privileges that exceed the requirements of their job function. They may access information that may be abused for extortion or malicious purposes. Similarly, users with legitimate database privileges may also use the information for unauthorized purposes.


Privilege elevation is another security threat that must companies must look out for. Attackers may take advantage of database platform software vulnerabilities to convert the access privileges from those of an ordinary user to those of an administrator. With an administrator setting, the person can easily turn off audit mechanisms, create bogus accounts, transfer funds or perform any other malicious activity.


  1. Database Platform Vulnerabilities


Vulnerabilities in underlying operating systems such as Windows 2000, UNIX and additional services installed on a database server may lead to unauthorized access, data corruption, or even, denial of service (DOS). In fact, the Blaster Worm, for example, took advantage of a Windows 2000 vulnerability to create denial of service conditions.


  1. SQL Injection


In an SQL injection attack, the attacker typically injects unauthorized database statements into a vulnerable SQL data channel. Targets of this kind of threat include stored procedures and Web application input parameters. These injected statements are then transmitted to the database where they are executed. The SQL injection will then provide attackers with unrestricted access to an entire database. 


  1. Weak Audit Trail


Having a weak database audit policy - let alone the absence of any formal audit policy - represents a serious organizational risk on many levels. Automated recording of all sensitive activities and even unusual database transactions should be a crucial element of any database deployment.


  1. Denial of Service


Denial of Service (DOS) is a general attack category in which access to network applications or data is denied to intended users. Denial of service (DOS) conditions may be created via many techniques - many of which are related to previously mentioned vulnerabilities. For example, DOS may be achieved by taking advantage of a database platform vulnerability to crash a server. Other common DOS techniques include data corruption, network flooding, and server resource overload in its memory or CPU. Resource overload is particularly most common in database environments. DOS may also be traced to a worm infection. Whatever the source, DOS surely represents a serious threat for many organizations.


There are different reasons why attackers choose to perform DOS. In general, DOS attacks are often linked to extortion scams in which a remote attacker will repeatedly crash servers until the victim deposits funds to an international bank account.