With the ever-evolving threat landscape, cyberattacks have become more sophisticated; malicious actors are carrying out more advanced cyberattacks with serious consequences on users and organizations. An SQL injection attack is a popular web hacking technique that targets data-driven web applications.

Let's discuss what an SQL injection attack is, how the attack works, its impact, and preventive measures against the attack.

SQL injection attack

SQL injection is a common and prevalent method of attack that targets victims' databases through web applications. It enables cyberattackers to access, modify, or delete data, and thus manipulate the organization's databases. For any organization, data is one of the most critical and valuable assets, and an attack on its database can wreak havoc on and compromise the entire business.

The data here can include customer records, privileged or personal information, business-critical data, confidential data, or financial records of an organization.

How does a SQL Injection attack work?

Demystifying SQL injection attacks

An SQL injection attack is carried out through the following steps:

  1. An attacker researches the database that has to be targeted.

  2. The attacker then identifies vulnerabilities in the webpage or application that can be exploited to carry out the attack. One example of an SQL vulnerability is insufficient user input validation; the attacker can create and submit their own input content by exploiting this vulnerability.

  3. They further create malicious SQL inputs and inject them into the standard SQL queries.

  4. This enables the attackers to carry out unintended and malicious actions on the web application and exploit the database. The attackers can now extract confidential information, bypass security controls, modify records, or delete the entire database.

Effects of an SQL injection attack

Following an SQL injection attack, an attacker can:

  • Extract confidential information or customer records like payment card details.
  • Modify the existing data in the database.
  • Compromise the relational database and delete data or tables from it.
  • Steal credentials of privileged users like database administrators.
  • Compromise backend database servers.

Preventive measures against the SQL injection attacks

To secure your organization against SQL injection attacks:

  • Train security teams on how the attack works and propagates into the database.
  • Authenticate user input.
  • Deploy a web application firewall for data-driven web applications.
  • Implement the principle of least privilege.
  • Ensure all the relational databases are updated and patched.
  • Monitor relational database and SQL statements in real time.
  • Get alerts about events that indicate an SQL injection attack.

SQL injection is one of the most popular attack vectors used by malicious actors; however, by maintaining a good database hygiene and taking required precautions, you can minimize the risk of becoming a victim to this kind of attack.

Get the latest content delivered
right to your inbox!

Thank you for subscribing.

You will receive regular updates on the latest news on cybersecurity.

  • Please enter a business email id
    By clicking on Keep me Updated you agree to processing of personal data according to the Privacy Policy.

Expert Talks


© 2021 Zoho Corporation Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.