Threats to Database Security

Threats to Database Security

Data is a crucial asset for businesses. Hence, organizations deploy numerous database security protocols, measures, and tools to secure database management systems from malicious attacks and illicit data use.

Organizations procure vast data volumes and store them in the database, utilized to process and automate multiple functions outside and within the company. However, numerous software vulnerabilities, patterns, or misconfigurations result in breaches. Security teams must aim to improve and adapt essential security measures to combat ever-evolving security threats to maintain database integrity. Therefore, businesses must understand database security threats to achieve this. Here are a few of them.

Insider Threats and Human Error

An insider threat is a typical cause of database security breaches. As per a recent report by IBM, “Cost of a Data Breach 2022 Report“, the cost of a data breach caused by a malicious insider was USD 4.18 million on average, while the mean time to identify the insider threat was 216 days, and the mean time to contain the attack was 284.

It occurs due to a malicious insider with ill intentions, a negligent user within the organization who exposes the database to attack due to irresponsible actions, or an outsider trying to procure credentials via social engineering. It can also happen because of employee-privileged user access. Furthermore, human errors like accidental erasure, data corruption, password sharing, and weak passwords are still the most common causes of all data breaches.

SQL Injection Attacks

SQL injection is a threat performed by entering into SQL form. Once the database interprets the result as “true,” cyber-attackers can enable access to the database. These attacks usually target the relational database management system (RDBMS) as per the SQL programming language. More importantly, databases not based on SQL (NoSQL) are not susceptible to these attacks.

However, targeted by end-user queries, they utilize commands to process the malware. Both forms of attacks are threatening that revolve around verification systems by procuring credentials and further exposing the content and structure of the database. An armed attack will offer the attacker unrestricted access to everything within the database.

Malware and Denial of Service (DoS/DDoS) Attacks

Malware actively targets network vulnerabilities gaining access and causing damage to the database. These vulnerabilities are related to unprotected network endpoints exploited by numerous attacks. Businesses must identify the network’s attack surface to protect against malware attacks.

At the same time, when a database server receives more requests than usual, prompting the system to become unstable or crash, a Denial of Service (DoS) attack occurs. These requests are built by an attacker aiming at a specific target. This massive volume of fake submissions overwhelms the system, leading to downtime for the victim.

On the other hand, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack effectively utilizes a botnet to establish vast traffic disrupting the security system that struggles to prevent the attack. Businesses must employ a cloud-based DoS protection service that can help them restrict high, questionable, and suspicious traffic volume.

Weak Permission Management

Organizations need to be more accurate in the default security settings during initial data installation. When the default settings or passwords on privileged accounts are not changed, the database is vulnerable to threats and exploitation.

Cyber-attackers procure log-in data of privileged accounts when accessing the database. At the same time, inactive accounts also pose a risk when the attackers know their presence.

Therefore, permissions management must be implemented at the forefront during the development of the cybersecurity portion, like employing zero trust protocols to avoid unauthorized access.

Moreover, a user can accidentally grant permission to a database that they do not have access. This encourages hackers to target such users with phishing scams to launch malware on their devices. Cyber-attackers often attempt to restrict the organizational data control management system, reducing privileges to gain database access.

Database Privileges

Database users within an organization have multiple privileges. At the same time, non-essential privileges always establish unnecessary risks. As per a recent report by Verizon, “2022 Data Breach Investigations Report “, more than 80% accounted for privilege abuse. Businesses must uphold and deploy stern access and privilege control policies. Furthermore, employees must not be granted excessive permission and must immediately revoke outdated privileges.

Backup Exposures and Insufficient Auditing

Database backup is crucial and must be processed regularly. However, these unprotected backups make the database vulnerable and an easy target for attackers. To overcome such threats, businesses must encrypt the database and all the backups created. At the same time, regular database and backup audits are crucial to gain insights into how and who is using and processing the database.

Weak audit practices allow cyber criminals to leave the database, making it non-compliant with data security regulations. To prevent this, businesses must record all the events on a database server and conduct scheduled auditing. Misconduct during auditing elevates the chances of a successful cyberattack. Moreover, the automated auditing software must not hinder the overall performance of the database.

Also Read: Lumen Technologies Hit by Two Cyberattacks

Buffer Overflow Attacks and Misconfigurations

When a process tries to write a huge amount of data within a scheduled block of memory more than it is assigned to hold, is when a buffer overflow occurs. Cyber-attackers utilize the supplementary data by storing the data in an adjacent memory address that acts as an initial point to launch attacks.

As per a recent report by Verizon, “2022 Data Breach Investigations Report “, there were 715 misconfiguration incidents with 708 confirmed data disclosure. Attacks due to misconfigurations arise due to unprotected databases where certain parameters and accounts remain unchanged from their initial default settings. Due to this, an attacker can gain access to the database.

Therefore, businesses must conduct regular database audits. More importantly, an expert must monitor database management, whether it is from an external cybersecurity firm or an in-house professional.

What Businesses Must Do?

To avoid the above malicious threats, businesses must carefully prevent application attacks, like SQL injections, that adversely affect the database. File integrity monitoring must be conducted to validate the integrity of the operating systems. At the same time, businesses must deploy file security technologies to protect files from cybercriminals and malicious insiders. More importantly, employee training and utilization of encryption, and user privileges management are good ways to secure the database from a cyberattack.

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