Mitigating Attacks on Enterprise Databases

Mitigating attacks

Unsecured or misconfigured databases exposed online can result in sensitive data being stolen from corporate networks

Exposed databases have been in the news for a long. Often security researchers detect the vulnerability and inform it to security leaders but usually, such exposed databases are identified and exploited by attackers, before the good guys.

Conventionally it might take months to scan the Web for open systems; however, in the current condition, hackers have access to easy-to-use and free scanning tools that help them identify compromised systems in less than one hour.

Occasional honeypot experiments show that corporations’ open databases are often attacked hundreds of times within a short period. CIOs believe that it is impossible to leave unprotected data on the Web without opening the database to potential attacks.

Thus it is critical to enable authentication and security features while setting up a database, to ensure that the enterprise can easily mitigate risks.

Actions are taken by hackers to attack databases

CIOs believe that hiring security bug bounty hunters can help implement penetration testing and security liability programs. It also boosts application security procedures and improves the clients’ existing security features required or requested.

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The main disadvantage with the exposed database is that they are often left unprotected by developers and organizations by mistake and the exposure isn’t detected quick enough.

Hackers employ scanning tools that do the bulk of the job and decide if any of the database’s data is worth filching. The above process is more of mining the open services rather than actual hacking.

Once they gain access, the data can easily be exfiltrated, held for ransom, sold to the highest bidder, deleted, or modified. Security leaders point out that often such attacks do not have a clear motive, and in many cases, hackers conduct such attacks to spite more than for personal gains. The Meow Bot attacks are such examples of hacking campaigns that didn’t result in monetary gain for hackers but created a huge issue for data owners.

How to protect enterprises that deploy clustered databases

Security leaders say that open-source database platforms do have built-in security to mitigate any potential attacks. Unfortunately, developers often disable the option in haste or due to misunderstanding, thus putting client data at risk.

It’s pertinent that security personnel be aware of what data they plan to secure and the security reason. The priority and sensitive nature of the data need a clear definition. It plays an essential role in deciding the personnel who have access to it and what security strategies need to be applied to secure it fully.

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Deep Defense of the enterprise  

CIOs acknowledge that no amount of security measures will ever keep an enterprise 100% safe. However, practical steps can help reduce the enterprise’s attack surface. “Defense in depth” will be the most effective strategy for protecting an organization.

An organization can use the previously mentioned external scanning tools to discover the exposed database. Deploy strong authentication tools like strong usernames/passwords or SSO and assign priorities to personnel with data access based on the requirement.

Implementing automated solutions and monitoring infrastructures can help detect potential disruptions before they convert into emergencies, isolate compromised databases, and help IT teams in the security measures.