Database Security Threats And Countermeasures

Database Security Threats And Countermeasures

Data is a very critical asset of any company. Every day companies worldwide collect a lot of data on their daily operations and customers. Data is stored in databases that are used to handle data and automate various functions within and outside companies. Due to its utter importance, data protection is a critical component of business protection. Data security shall be the goal of any database management system (DBMS), also called database security. However, it is not always so. In this article we are going to learn more about database security threats and what IT security teams and business owners can do for database protection.

First of all, database security begins with physical security. That is why physically database should be accessed by authorized personnel only.

However, there are many other internal and external threats to databases and some of them are listed below.

  1. Excessive Database Privileges.
  2. Database users may have different privileges. However, users may abuse them and here are the major types of privilege abuses: excessive privilege abuse, legitimate privileges abuse and unused privilege abuse. Excessive privileges always create unnecessary risks. According to statistics 80% of the attacks on company databases are executed by current company employees or ex-employees.

    Countermeasures:

    • It is advised to deploy and uphold a strict access and privileges control policy.
    • Don’t grant excessive privileges to company employees and revoke outdated privileges in time.
  3. SQL Injections. This is a type of attack when a malicious code is embedded in frontend (web) applications and then passed to the backend database. As the result of SQL injections cybercriminals get unlimited access to any data being stored in a database. There are two types of such computer attacks: SQL injection targeting traditional databases and NoSQL injections targeting big data databases.
  4. Countermeasures:

    • Stored procedure shall be used instead of direct queries.
    • MVC Architecture shall be implemented.
  5. Weak Audit Trail. If a database is not audited it represents risks of noncompliance with national and international sensitive data protection regulations. All database events shall be recorded and registered automatically and it’s obligatory to use automatic auditing solutions. Inability or unwillingness to do that represents a serious risk on many levels.
  6. Countermeasures:

    Use automatic auditing solutions that impose no additional load on database performance. Using DataSunrise Database Auditing module could be the best solution for you and your business

  7. Database Backups Exposure. It’s a good practice to make backups of proprietary databases at defined periods of time. However, surprisingly database back-up files are often left completely unprotected from attack. As a result, there are numerous security breaches happening through database backup leaks.
  8. Countermeasures:

    • Encrypt both databases and backups. Storing data in encrypted form allows secure both production and back-up copies of databases. DataSunrise Data Encryption is the best way to do that.
    • Audit both the database and backups. Doing this helps to see who has been trying to get access to sensitive data.
  9. DB Vulnerabilities and Misconfigurations. It often happens that databases are found totally unprotected due to misconfiguration. Moreover, some databases have default accounts and configuration parameters. One should remember that hackers are often highly professional IT specialists who surely know how to exploit database vulnerabilities and misconfigurations and use them to attack your company.
  10. Countermeasures:

    • Your databases shouldn’t have any default accounts.
    • Your IT personnel should be highly qualified and experienced.
  11. Lack of Security Expertise and Education. Databases get breached and leaked due to insufficient level of IT security expertise and education of non-technical employees who may break basic database security rules and put databases at risk. IT security personnel may also lack the expertise required to implement security controls, enforce policies, or conduct incident response processes.
  12. Countermeasures:

    • Database users shall be educated in database security.
    • IT security specialists shall be urged to raise their professional level and qualification.
  13. Denial of service attack. This type of attacks slows down a database server and can even make it unavailable to all users. Despite the fact that a DoS attack doesn’t disclose the contents of a database, it may cost the victims a lot of time and money. Moreover, what’s the use of a database if you can’t use or access it.
  14. Countermeasures:

    • Harden the TCP/IP stack by applying the appropriate registry settings to increase the size of the TCP connection queue.
    • Decrease the connection establishment period.
    • Employ dynamic backlog mechanisms to ensure that the connection queue is never exhausted.
    • Use a network Intrusion Detection System (IDS).
  15. Unmanaged Sensitive Data. Many companies store a lot of sensitive information and fail to keep an accurate inventory of it. Forgotten and unattended data may fall prey to hackers. In addition, new sensitive data is added on a daily basis and it’s not easy to keep track of it all. It means that newly added data may be exposed to threats.
  16. Countermeasures:

    • Encrypt all sensitive data in your database(s).
    • Apply required controls and permissions to the database.
    • Run periodic search for new sensitive data on your databases. You can do this very effectively with the Periodic Data Discovery tool and Compliance Manager that will automatically discover newly added sensitive data and protect it.

In this article we learned about some of the major threats your databases and sensitive data within can be exposed to. However, DataSunrise has developed a unique software solution which can address each of these threats and others. Please make the right choice and download your trial version of DataSunrise Database Security Suite right now!

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