Database Server Security in 2018: 10 Key Things to Check
A good amount of key corporate data resides in Database technologies. Apart from customer information they also contain confidential data that can have a definitive effect on a business. However, not too many businesses are as serious towards the security of the database technologies as they should be. A proactive approach towards shielding them from hackers and malicious elements along with constantly identifying and cementing the loopholes is required. Especially during 2018, the database attacks are most likely to register a considerable increase. So if you haven’t yet secured your database in all these years, this is the time that you must act. Here are the top 10 tips to evaluate the loopholes and fix them:
Your security preparation depends upon the type of database server you are using. For example, MSSQL comes with default validation system while you need to install additional plug-ins if you are working with MYSQL. It is important to ensure the complete security at the fundamental level. Make it mandatory to enter a powerful strong password while you create the user account.
For the best results, you need to create a policy that requires a minimum length, at least one special character and a mix of uppercase/lowercase letters.
Cast off all Default Users and Demo-test Databases
While the demo database helps the users in some way they also expose you to the security risks as they contain the details that can be misused by the malicious elements to collect the crucial information about your database. So it is important to immediately delete any information that you have entered in default users and demo databases.
Replace the default Admin User Name with something untraceable
The knowledge of default admin username can enable the attacker to get the password and break into the sensitive data contained in your database. The default admin username feature man database can make you vulnerable to attackers. As soon as you intend to start using a database instantly change the admin username so as to safeguard yourself against any such possibility.
User privilege- Do they really need it?
Though it is not required only in some specific cases the database users are generally given default access to entire set of available tables. This mistake at the time of new user creation can easily be misused by the intentional users for their vested interests
Before you create a user account to give them access, you need to evaluate the purpose-specific requirements and ensure that the tables and privileges are kept to the bare minimum possible. With is a feature you can shield your site security and at the same time prevent much of the loss even if an attack is attempted.
Public Network Access to Database Servers should be disabled
Generally, the end users don’t really have a justifiable requirement to have the direct access to the databases. The database stores business applications.
Except for the hosting providers you need to block any kind of public network access to a database server. A better idea would be to set up the SSH tunnels, VPN or other gateways server for remote administration.
SSL/TLS on Remote Connections and Restrict IP should be enforced
Database and dedicated server hosting providers need to enable the remote connections as a mandatory part of the job. However, to be on the safer side it is always better to restrict the connection based on IP. Moreover, it is strongly recommendable to enable SSL/TLS on database ports for higher security level.
Database Dumps in Public Locations can be dangerous
If you are an application owner then you should be mindful of the location in which you are leaving your database. If they are publicly accessible it can make you prone to security threats. The important elements like the web folders etc have a key value for any business and you cannot afford to leave them in unsecured location
In order to detect the SQL dpl filters that might have been lying in public folders, you need to opt for a strong monitoring system that is designed especially to discourage any public access to such elements.
Application Files and Backups should be properly encrypted
It may not take much of an effort for a sophisticated hacker to make his way into your application’s configuration files. That can actually act as a master key for him as these contain important information about database access. So you need to cement the main gateway from which a hacker can enter. Encryption is the perfect solution. Ensure that each one of your application files, as well as their backups, should be encrypted properly.
Website Applications should be shielded
Web Applications also present an inviting welcome to hackers as they have database server at their backend. Hence the front door of public facing web applications can be used by the hackers to enter inside and eventually make a route to the database server.
Though setting up firewalls are the recommendable ways to strengthen your web applications against attacks that is not enough. You also need to defend your territory proactively. Integrate these firewalls with sophisticated malware scanners to proactively protect your web applications. Some of the premium, reliable firewalls/ include ModSecurity, Naxsi, and ClamAV.
Last but not the least…Update, Update and Repeat
Updating your software is one of the easiest, yet most neglected ways of assuring complete security of your database servers. Among many other security methods, this is the easiest way yet thousands of websites catch infections just because they are not immune to the latest attacks. Hackers keep on evolving and so does your software. However, when you continue using the older version you can be software for the smart hackers.
Ensure that you are periodically receiving emails and important updates regarding your software. If you notice a communication gap for unusually long time, find out the reason. The emails night is landing in your spam folder r there could be some negligence on the part of the software provider. Act proactively and start/resume the communications. Also, immediately upon receiving the notification update your software promptly to rule out any possibility of vulnerability.
Kevin Jones951 Posts
Kevin Jones, Ph.D., is a research associate and a Cyber Security Author with experience in Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Monitoring solutions, Surveillance and Offensive technologies etc. Currently, he is a freelance writer on latest security news and other happenings. He has authored numerous articles and exploits which can be found on popular sites like hackercombat.com and others.