Database security is a set of security measures that protect the database management system against malicious cyber-attacks as well as illegal use. Security programs for databases are designed to guard not just the database’s data but also the management system that manages the database and all applications which connects to the database from damage, misuse and attack.
Database security encapsulates techniques, processes and methods that establish the security of a database.
Cybersecurity Threats to Databases
Numerous software weaknesses, configuration errors or instances of carelessness or misuse can lead to breach. Here are a few of the most well-known sources and forms of security for databases cyber-attacks.
Insider threats are an issue of security from any of the three sources listed below each of which comes with access to the database
A malicious insider with bad intentions.
A person who is negligent within the company who makes the data vulnerable to attacks via negligent actions
Someone who is not a member of the database who acquires credentials via social engineering or through other means or gains access to database credentials
A threat from insiders is one of the main reasons for security breaches in databases and often happens because the majority of employees are granted privilege access to the database.
Poor passwords, sharing passwords and accidental deletion or loss of data and other unintentional user behavior continue to be the reason for more than half of data breaches that are reported.
Utilization of Database Software Vulnerabilities
Attackers are constantly trying to find and exploit weaknesses in software databases, and software for managing databases is a important attack target. There are always new vulnerabilities to be discovered and all open-source databases management platforms as well as commercial software providers release security patches frequently. If you do not implement these patches immediately your database may be vulnerable to attacks.
Even if you apply patches at the right time, you are always at the chance of zero-day attacks. This happens in which attackers find a vulnerability that hasn’t yet been patched and discovered by the vendor of your database.
SQL/NoSQL Injection Attacks
A specific threat to databases is the incorporation of non-SQL or SQL attack strings to create database queries. These are typically queries designed as extensions of web-based application forms or through HTTP requests. Any database system can be vulnerable to attack when developers don’t adhere to safe programming practices and the business is not conducting regular vulnerability tests.
Buffer Overflow Attacks
Buffer overflow happens when a system attempts to write a huge amount of data onto the memory of a fixed length which is more than it can hold. Criminals may use the excess data, stored in memory addresses adjacent to each other as a starting location from which to begin attacks.
DoS/Denial of Service (DoS/DDoS) Attacks
In a denial-of-service (DoS) attack an attacker overwhelms the service being targeted–in this case the database server–with a massive number in fake queries. This results in the server is not able to process legitimate requests from real users, and in many cases it is unable to function or even becomes unstable.
In the case of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) fraudulent traffic generated is created by huge amount of computers part of a botnet that is controlled by an attacker. This results in huge amounts of traffic that are impossible to disrupt without having a flexible defensive system. Cloud-based DDoS protection solutions are able to scale in a dynamic manner to deal with massive DDoS attacks.
Malware is software that’s designed to exploit weaknesses or to harm the database. It can be accessed via any device that is connected to the network of the database. Security against malware is crucial for any device however, it is especially important on databases due to their value and sensitivity.
A constantly evolving IT environment
The ever-changing IT environment makes databases more vulnerable to attacks. These are some trends that could result in new forms of attacks on databases or could require new security measures:
The volume of data that is stored, processing and storage are increasing exponentially in almost every organization. Data security practices and tools should be highly adaptable to meet the future and distant requirements.
Distributed infrastructure–network environments are increasing in complexity, especially as businesses transfer workloads to hybrid cloud or multi-cloud architectures, making the deployment, management, and choice of security solutions more difficult.
The ever-strengtheningly strict requirements of the regulatory system–the legal compliance agenda is increasing in complexity, and ensuring compliance with all regulations is becoming more difficult.
Cybersecurity skills shortage – there is a shortage of skilled cybersecurity experts. Organizations find it difficult to fill the security roles. This could make it more difficult to secure vital infrastructures, like databases.
How Do You Secure Your Database Server?
The database server can be described as a virtual or physical computer that is running the database. Securely securing a database server, often referred to as “hardening” is a procedure that involves the physical protection, security of networks and secure configuration of the operating system.
Be sure to ensure physical Database Security
Do not share a server for your web-based applications or database applications, particularly if your database holds sensitive data. While it might be cheaper and more convenient to host your website and database with a hosting service, you are putting the safety of your information in the hands of someone else.
If you are relying on a web hosting provider in order to handle your database make sure the company has an excellent track record of security. It is recommended to steer away from free hosting services because of the potential insecurity.
If you are managing your database from an on-premise data center, bear in your mind that the data center could be vulnerable to attacks by the outside or by insider threat. You must ensure that you have security measures in place that include cameras, locks and security personnel within your physical location. Access to servers should be recorded and granted only to authorized personnel.
Also, don’t store backups of your database in locations that are accessible to the public for example, Web folders that are temporary, partitions or unsecure cloud storage buckets.
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Lockdown Accounts and privileges
Let’s take a look at our Oracle Database Server. After the database has been installed it will be able to run it is installed, the Oracle Database Configuration Assistant (DBCA) expires automatically and blocks the majority of account users in the default database.
In the event that you create an Oracle database by hand the database will not be locked and the default account for privileged users will not expire or be locked. The password they use remains identical to their user name by default. A criminal will attempt with these credentials in the first place in order to access the database.
It is crucial to ensure that each privilege account on the database server is set up with a secure unique password. If accounts are not used or are no longer needed, they should be deactivated and secured.
For all other accounts, access must be restricted to the minimum amount of access necessary. Each account should have access to the table and the operations (for example, SELECT and insert) that are required from the individual. Do not create user accounts that have access to all tables within the database.
Everyday Patch Database servers
Make sure that the patches are up-to-date. A well-organized database patch management system is an essential security measure as attackers constantly seek for security vulnerabilities that could be exploited in databases. Additionally, new malware and viruses appear each day.
The timely release of the most current versions of databases service packs, crucial security hotfixes and cumulative updates will increase the reliability of your database.
Disable Public Network Access
Companies store their applications in databases. In most scenarios in the real world users don’t need immediate access to the database. Therefore, you should restrict any access by public networks to databases except if you’re a hosting service provider. Ideally, a company should establish the gateway server (VPN and SSH tunnels) to enable remote administrators.
Make sure that all files and backups are encrypted.
Whatever your security measures are no matter how well-defended your system is, there is always a possibility that a hacker could penetrate your system. However, hackers aren’t the only risk for the protection of databases. Employees could also be a threat for your company. There’s always the chance that a careless or malicious employee could gain access an account they don’t have access to.
The encryption of your data renders it inaccessible to employees and attackers. Without an encryption key they are unable to access the data This is the last option to protect against unwanted security breaches. Secure all important applications such as data files, data files, and backups, so that unauthorized users are unable to read your important information.
Database Security Best Practices
Here are some top practices that you can employ to enhance the security of your sensitive databases.
Actively manage passwords and user Access
If you own an organization that is large and you are thinking about automatizing access management through access management or password management software. This will allow users who have a temporary password with the access rights they require each time they require access to databases.
It also tracks the tasks completed during the time period, and also prevents admins in sharing passwords. Although administrators might think it is beneficial to share passwords, it makes accountability and security for databases almost impossible.
Additionally these security measures are also recommended:
Strong passwords should be strictly enforced
Hashes of passwords need to be salted and stored as encrypted
Accounts have to be locked after multiple login attempts
Accounts are regularly reviewed and disabled if employees change into different roles, quit the organization or do not require access to the same degree of privileges.
Check Your Database Security
After you have established the security of your database You must then test it against real threats. Conducting penetration tests or audits with your personal database can enable you to get into what it’s like to be a cybercriminal and pinpoint any weaknesses you may not have noticed.
To ensure the test is complete ensure that you involve trustworthy hackers or recognized penetration testing companies in the security test. Penetration testers publish comprehensive reports detailing vulnerabilities in databases that are critical to swiftly investigate and fix the vulnerabilities. Conduct a penetration test on an important database system every year, at a minimum.
Make use of Real-Time Database Monitoring
Continuously scanning your database for possible breaches improves the security of your database and allows you to quickly respond to attacks.
Particularly, File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) will help you record every action that is performed by the database’s server, and alert you to possible breaches. If FIM detects an alteration to critical database files, make sure that security personnel are aware and ready to investigate and react in response.
Utilize Web Application and Database Firewalls
It is recommended to use a firewall to shield the database servers from security threats. A firewall by default doesn’t allow access to data. It should also block your database from launching connections that are outbound unless there is an explicit reason to do this.
While you are protecting your database using firewalls, you should implement the web application firewall (WAF). This is due to attacks targeted at web-based applications, such as SQL injection, could get illegal access to databases.
A database firewall cannot stop the majority of web-based application attacks as traditional firewalls work at the network layer while web application layers function on the app layer (layer seven of OSI model). OSI Model). A WAF is an application layer firewall and can detect malicious web applications, such as SQL injection attacks and block them prior to it causing harm to your database.