The persistence of SQL injection attacks

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Around 20 years after the first reported attack of its kind, SQL (structured query language) injection (SQLi) continues to pose a major threat to web security. Back in 2012, it had been observed that every month a normal web application received four attack attempts, with retailers getting twice as many.

The hacker responsible for the SQLi attack on the Wall Street Journal website last 2014 described it as the easiest way to hack, taking only a few hours to complete.

SQL is a programming language used to manage data in a relational database management system and to stream processing in a relational data stream management system. Whenever a website has to process or display information from the database, SQL is used.

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Without securing it from vulnerabilities, hackers can inject codes and enter malicious commands into forms on the website, enabling them to siphon personal, corporate, or federal information. They can also tamper with existing data, alter transaction details, disclose or destroy all data written in the system, or even become the database administrator themselves.

The relative ease of exploiting database vulnerabilities has pushed hackers to develop various forms of injection, such as classic SQLi, blind SQLi, database management system-specific, SQLi, and compounded SQLi.

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Battling the botnet army

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The worldwide web is an especially interesting place on which people have come to depend highly in this day and age. And where there’s a market of people who are simply making use of the technology to facilitate their daily activities, there will always be crooks who would take advantage of this necessity.

There is an army of bandits out there on the web, which are a force to be reckoned with. They are called botnets.

To define it at its simplest, a botnet is a collection of computers that are infected with malware, which can be controlled remotely by an operator, usually called the bot herder. This is done through a command-and-control server. It’s not difficult to imagine a screwed-up evil genius who is doing all the sadistic manipulation from the safety of a gaming console. But yes, this is highly plausible, and it is precisely what is happening today.

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This commonly makes use of spam messages used for malicious purposes, including but not limited to stealing personal data and passwords. The perpetrators have proven very creative in their approach, as they have already lured many users into downloading malware.

Because the enemy is formidable, the mitigation measures have to be stronger. It will entail a collective effort from different security gatekeepers from all over the world. It’s a good thing that there are such stakeholders who are willing to take on a multidisciplinary approach to fix one of the most continuously evolving problems of our time.

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