Command Line Execution through SQL Injection
An attacker uses standard SQL injection methods to inject data into the command line for execution. This could be done directly through misuse of directives such as MSSQL_xp_cmdshell or indirectly through injection of data into the database that would be interpreted as shell commands. Sometime later, an unscrupulous backend application (or could be part of the functionality of the same application) fetches the injected data stored in the database and uses this data as command line arguments without performing proper validation. The malicious data escapes that data plane by spawning new commands to be executed on the host.
Object Relational Mapping Injection
An attacker leverages a weakness present in the database access layer code generated with an Object Relational Mapping (ORM) tool or a weakness in the way that a developer used a persistence framework to inject his or her own SQL commands to be executed against the underlying database. The attack here is similar to plain SQL injection, except that the application does not use JDBC to directly talk to the database, but instead it uses a data access layer generated by an ORM tool or framework (e.g. Hibernate). While most of the time code generated by an ORM tool contains safe access methods that are immune to SQL injection, sometimes either due to some weakness in the generated code or due to the fact that the developer failed to use the generated access methods properly, SQL injection is still possible.
SQL Injection through SOAP Parameter Tampering
An attacker modifies the parameters of the SOAP message that is sent from the service consumer to the service provider to initiate a SQL injection attack. On the service provider side, the SOAP message is parsed and parameters are not properly validated before being used to access a database in a way that does not use parameter binding, thus enabling the attacker to control the structure of the executed SQL query. This pattern describes a SQL injection attack with the delivery mechanism being a SOAP message.
Expanding Control over the Operating System from the Database
An attacker is able to leverage access gained to the database to read / write data to the file system, compromise the operating system, create a tunnel for accessing the host machine, and use this access to potentially attack other machines on the same network as the database machine.
Traditionally SQL injections attacks are viewed as a way to gain unauthorized read access to the data stored in the database, modify the data in the database, delete the data, etc. However, almost every data base management system (DBMS) system includes facilities that if compromised allow an attacker complete access to the file system, operating system, and full access to the host running the database. The attacker can then use this privileged access to launch subsequent attacks.
These facilities include dropping into a command shell, creating user defined functions that can call system level libraries present on the host machine, stored procedures, etc.
This attack exploits target software that constructs SQL statements based on user input. An attacker crafts input strings so that when the target software constructs SQL statements based on the input, the resulting SQL statement performs actions other than those the application intended.
SQL Injection results from failure of the application to appropriately validate input. When specially crafted user-controlled input consisting of SQL syntax is used without proper validation as part of SQL queries, it is possible to glean information from the database in ways not envisaged during application design. Depending upon the database and the design of the application, it may also be possible to leverage injection to have the database execute system-related commands of the attackers' choice. SQL Injection enables an attacker to talk directly to the database, thus bypassing the application completely. Successful injection can cause information disclosure as well as ability to add or modify data in the database. In order to successfully inject SQL and retrieve information from a database, an attacker:
Blind SQL Injection
Blind SQL Injection results from an insufficient mitigation for SQL Injection. Although suppressing database error messages are considered best practice, the suppression alone is not sufficient to prevent SQL Injection. Blind SQL Injection is a form of SQL Injection that overcomes the lack of error messages. Without the error messages that facilitate SQL Injection, the attacker constructs input strings that probe the target through simple Boolean SQL expressions. The attacker can determine if the syntax and structure of the injection was successful based on whether the query was executed or not. Applied iteratively, the attacker determines how and where the target is vulnerable to SQL Injection.
For example, an attacker may try entering something like "username' AND 1=1; --" in an input field. If the result is the same as when the attacker entered "username" in the field, then the attacker knows that the application is vulnerable to SQL Injection. The attacker can then ask yes/no questions from the database server to extract information from it. For example, the attacker can extract table names from a database using the following types of queries:
If the above query executes properly, then the attacker knows that the first character in a table name in the database is a letter between m and z. If it doesn't, then the attacker knows that the character must be between a and l (assuming of course that table names only contain alphabetic characters). By performing a binary search on all character positions, the attacker can determine all table names in the database. Subsequently, the attacker may execute an actual attack and send something like: