When it comes to the possible vulnerabilities of enterprise databases, nearly half of these are directly or indirectly related to suboptimal database management practices. Protection of your enterprise databases is not an easy task, as said. It often exploits the simplest of vulnerabilities out there, usually missed out by the admins and staff of the enterprises who do not stick to the fundamentals. As per the experts, there are many simple things that you can keep an eye on in order to avoid the possibility of database vulnerabilities.
You need to be aware of the fact that databases never come security-ready out of the box. Their configuration is not simply install-and-forget operations for database administrators. The organizations need to constantly assess the database packages to determine if there are any vulnerabilities and need to take appropriate measures to tackle them. You have to be vigilant about keeping track of all weak login credentials and other related threats. You also need to put foolproof database access privileges and authentication practices. Most importantly, you have to patch the database security regularly.
Further, we will discuss some top vulnerabilities which you need to keep an eye on.
Password security – Considering weak or blank usernames and passwords
It may be a daunting task for an organization to keep track of all databases and thousands of database records, which they maintain. But by removing blank or default login credentials, you can take a first step towards strengthening your database armor. Attackers are always keeping track of the default accounts, and they intrude whenever they get a chance to these types of accounts.
When any database platform fails to sanitize the inputs, attackers will get a chance to win their route and execute SQL injection attacks. This is similar to the web-based attacks, which eventually allow the intruders to elevate the privileges and gain faulty access to a database’s different functions. There are a lot of patches available from various vendors to prevent SQL injection, but it may not be good if your DBMS is left unpatched.
Users and use groups privileges
Enterprise database administrators need to ensure that the privileges set for different users are not just based on a specific protocol that is being followed. It is ideal for making people a part of user groups with specific roles assigned. This can be managed collectively in order to have better control of database security, in which the users can be assigned some direct rights.
Unnecessary database features
All the database packages come with many add-on features to serve various purposes. You may not need all of these at once when you are starting with your database journey. In terms of database security, a database administrator’s role is to reduce the surface of the attack. So, enterprises need to look for packages that they do not use and take measures to keep them dormant or disable them. This will reduce the risk of any zero-day attacks through these unwanted practices. However, it also may simplify the patch management process for the admins. When these packages also need patching, your organization may not need to scramble these. For optimum database security, you can have a consultation with remote DB service providers as RemoteDBA.com.
Configuration management being broken
Databases have different configuration choices and various considerations available to database administrators for doing the same. They can make use of it to fine-tune the performance and also to enhance functionality. For this, organizations need to look out for any unsafe configurations running, which are enabled by default or turned on for the convenience of the DBAs or the developers at some point. All these need to be tracked closely and patched as needed.
This is one of the favorite aspects of hackers as the buffer overflow vulnerabilities are less cared for by the admins. These are exploited by flooding a lot of input sources with many more characters than and application is actually expecting. All types of database vendors have worked very hard in order to fix any glitches related to this. Buffer overflow is another reason why patching is very important.
Escalation of privileges
Databases may also have some other common vulnerabilities, which may lead the attackers to escalate privileges by accessing a less privileged account and further build-up to gain administrator privileges. Attackers may use some specific functions, which run under the system DBA for this. When these vulnerabilities are uncovered, administrators need to rule them out with proper updates and patching.
In case of DS or denial of service attacks, SQL Slammer is an illustration of how to gain access to the DBMS vulnerabilities to take control of the database services. Even more concerning is the fact that when the Slammer went on back in 2003, there was a patch already out for it, but many downplayed it. Even after many years of Slammer, it still revolves around and picks up the unpatched services.
This is a repetitive concern. Many database administrators do not patch their databases in a timely manner as they are afraid that patch may break down their databases. However, the risk of being hacked is much higher than the risk of applying a patch which may slow down the operations. This may not have been so a few years ago, but the vendors have been much rigorous with testing their applications lately, and patching is very important now.
Encrypted and sensitive data at rest or in motion
This is a no-brainer as the organization must not store any sensitive data as clear text within their database tables. All the connections to the databases must be kept encrypted. Otherwise, you are making it much easier and straightforward for the external intruders to fetch your data and misuse it.
You may be already aware of many of these points, which we have discussed above, but unfortunately, most of the administrators tend to undervalue the importance of these points and set open their databases vulnerable to such possible errors. If you want to safeguard your enterprise databases, you have to consider each and every aspect of database vulnerability and take necessary measures to prevent them.