10 Major Database Security Threats and How to Prevent Them

Data is a crucial asset of your business. Businesses collect a lot of data about their customers and their day-to-day operations on a daily basis. The data stored in databases is then used to manage and automate different functions inside and outside companies.

Due to its importance, data protection is crucial for the protection of businesses.

In this article, you’ll learn more about database security threats and what you can do to protect your database:

1. Database Injection Attacks

SQL injection attacks are the primary form of database injection attacks.

It usually attacks relational database servers or RDBMSs that use the SQL language. Although NoSQL databases are immune to these attacks, they are prone to NoSQL injection attacks – although less common, they can be just as dangerous.

Both of these attacks work by bypassing the data input controls of web applications so that they can get feedback from the database engine to expose data and its structures. Usually, in extreme cases, a successful injection attack will provide the attacker with unrestricted access to the core of the database.

2. Denial of service (DoS/DDoS) attacks

This attack usually occurs when the cybercriminal overwhelms the target service. In this case, it is usually the database server, which uses a volume of false requests. Thus, the server cannot route genuine requests from real users – it will crash or become unstable.

Usually in a DDoS, fake traffic is generated by a large volume of computers. It’s a botnet that the attacker controls and creates high traffic volumes that are hard to stop, especially if you don’t have a highly defensive architecture. A cloud-based DDoS protection service can scale and dynamically respond to these large attacks.

3. Malware

Malware is software developed to take advantage of any vulnerabilities that can damage a database. They could go through any terminal connected to the database network.

This is why malware protection is crucial for an endpoint, especially on database servers due to their high value and sensitivity.

4. Exposing database backups

It is good practice to perform backups of proprietary databases within a set time frame. However, many database backup files are often left unprotected against attacks. Thus, there are a number of security vulnerabilities that occur through database backup leaks.

To avoid this, here are some useful tips:

  • Encrypt both backup and databases. Store data in an encrypted form to secure production and backup copies of databases.
  • Audit the database and backups. This lets you know who tried to access this sensitive data.

5. Inadequate Permissions Management

Often, database servers are installed in an organization with their default security settings, which are often never changed. As a result, databases are exposed to attackers who know the default permissions and know how to exploit them.

Similarly, there is the abuse of legitimate permissions – users with privileged access to the database can use it without permission. For example, they might disclose confidential information.

Inactive accounts can also pose a security risk that is often overlooked. Malicious individuals can know the existence of these accounts and therefore take advantage of them, by accessing the database without authorization.

6. Credential Threats

Likewise, a weak the password and poor authentication also make it easy for the attacker to impersonate legitimate database users.

These specific attack strategies involve brute force attacks and social engineering like phishing.

7. Weak audit trails

If your corporate database is not well audited, it can lead to a risk of non-compliance with national and international data security regulations.

Typically, a company should log and log all of its database events and use automatic auditing solutions. In the same way, there should also be an ability to do so, otherwise it could lead to serious risk on several levels. This is why you should leverage database auditing solutions that do not impose additional load on database performance.

8. Database Misconfigurations and Vulnerabilities

Databases may also not be protected due to misconfiguration. Some systems may have default accounts and configuration settings.

The hackers themselves are skilled IT professionals and experts. Therefore, they are well equipped to exploit misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in your database and then use them to attack your business. That is why database management support is crucial.

Some of the countermeasures you should apply:

  • Databases should not have default accounts.
  • Your in-house IT staff should be highly experienced and skilled in database administration and management.

9. Threats of Privilege

There may also be cases where a user accidentally abuses access rights or where an administrator grants the user exclusive access due to negligence or forgetfulness on their part.

Therefore, privileged account abuse occurs when the privileges associated with the user account are used fraudulently or appropriately. This can be done accidentally or maliciously or out of willful ignorance of policies.

Elevation of privilege can occur when attackers take advantage of vulnerabilities in data management software. They will convert low access privileges to high level access privileges. Usually this will require more effort and knowledge than simple privilege abuse.

10. Accessible Backups

Although your database may be protected by layers of security, the backups of these databases can also be viewed by unauthorized users who will make copies of these backups.

These malicious individuals can then use them to mount them on their servers and obtain any sensitive information they may contain.

Database protection policies

Now that you know the most common database security threats, here are some helpful tips for protecting your database:

  • Train employees in risk mitigation techniques and best practices
  • Manage user access rights, eliminate excessive privileges and delete inactive users
  • Access to all database vulnerabilities
  • Block all malicious web requests
  • Monitor all database access activity and usage patterns in real time
  • Archive your external data
  • Encrypt databases
  • Hide database fields to hide any sensitive information

To you

So this is it. These are the top nine threats to database security. Improve your database security to mitigate the security risks of a data breach.

It is essential to protect your database against these malicious attacks. As data breaches become more common, ensuring sound security protocols reduce the risk of being targeted and the chances of a successful breach attempt.

Maria H. Underwood