Database Security Best Practices :In today’s world, anyone can setup a data-driven website with the help of many tools, but unfortunately, the resulting site is often not particularly protected.
Though some attackers still focus on denial of service attacks and destruction, many cybercriminals frequently target the database because that is where the money is involved. The databases of a powerful website hold very sensitive and profitable information like credit card information or personal identities. Database security in itself is a very long topic which is difficult to cover all the aspects in a single article however there are a few best practices that can help even the smallest of businesses secure their database enough to make an attacker move on to an easier target.
- Separate the Database and Web Servers
Have the database server separate from the web server. When we installing most web software, the database is automatically created on the same server where the application itself is installed. Unfortunately, this makes access to the data all too easy for an attacker to access. If they are able to crack the administrator account for the web server, the data is readily available to them.
As an alternative, database must be setup on a separate server not in the DMZ zone but behind the firewall. While this makes for a more complex setup, the security benefits are well worth the effort.
- Encrypt Stored Files
WhiteHat security estimates that 83% of all websites are vulnerable to at least one form of attack. Sometimes the stored files of a web application may contains information about the databases the software needs to connect to. In case if stored in plain text like many default installations do, provide the solutions to an attacker needs to gain access sensitive data.
- Encrypt Your Backups Too
Encrypt back-up files. Not all data theft happens as a result of an outside attack. Sometimes, it’s the people we trust most that are the attackers.
- Use a WAF
We can use Web application firewalls to protect out site from owasp attacks. The misunderstanding between the users is that WAF might be that protecting the web server has nothing to do with the database.
In addition, to protect a website against cross-site scripting vulnerabilities and website destruction, a good application firewall can prevent SQL injection attacks also. By preventing the injection of SQL queries by an attacker, Thus this prevent the attacker to have access to sensitive data.
- Keep Patches Current
Keep patches up-to-date. This is one area where administrators often come up short. Websites that are rich with third-party applications, widgets, components, and various other plug-ins and add-ons can easily find themselves a target to an exploit that should have been patched.
- Minimize Use of 3rd Party Apps
Do not use 3rd party application or Keep third-party applications to a minimum. Like most of us want our website to have interactive widgets and sidebars filled with cool content, but any application that pulls from the database is a potential threat. Many of these applications do not support updates and patches.
- Don’t Use a Shared Server
In case if your website database stores sensitive information, avoid using a shared web server. Shared server may be easier to manage and cheaper in term of cost to host your website. But it may results in great loss if an attack happens as with a hosting provider you are essentially placing the security of your information in the hands of someone else. Although if you have no other choice make sure to review their security policies and speak with them about what their responsibilities are should your data become compromised.
- Enable Security Controls
Nowadays most of the database have features of enabling security control by default, it never hurts for you to go through and make sure you check the security controls to see if this was done. Keep in mind that securing your database means you have to shift your focus from web developer to database administrator. In small businesses, this may mean added responsibilities and additional buy-in from management. Though, having all on the same side when it comes to security may make a difference between preventing an attack and responding to it.
- Ensure Physical Database Security
Keep your database server in a secure, locked environment with access controls in place to keep unauthorized people away. But it also means keeping the database on a separate physical machine, removed from the machines running application or web servers.
- Audit and Monitor Database Activity
Effective monitoring should allow you to spot when an account has been compromised, when an employee is carrying out suspicious activities or when your database is under attack. This includes monitoring logins (and attempted logins) to the operating system and database and reviewing logs regularly to detect anomalous activity. It should also help you determine if users are sharing accounts, and alert you if accounts are created without your permission (for example, by a hacker). Database activity monitoring (DAM) software can help with this by providing monitoring which is independent of native database logging and audit functions; it can also help monitor administrator activity.
- Some tools for Database security
There are many tools that can be used to guarantee the database. Some of the top database security tools are discussed below
- MSSQL DataMask
MSSQL Data Mask provides developers the ability to mask data for development, testing, or outsourcing projects, involving the SQL Server databases. MSSQL Data Mask has tools that are categorized for data masking and is used for protecting data that is classified as personally identifiable data, sensitive personal data or commercially sensitive data.
Scuba is used for analyzing more than 2,000 common problems such as weak passwords, known configuration risks, and missing patches on a range of database platforms. Scuba is being used across enterprises as a database patch up enhancer.
AppDetectivePro is a database and big data store scanner that can immediately uncover configuration mistakes, identification and access control issues, missing patches or any toxic combination of settings that could lead to escalation-of-privilege or denial-of-service attacks, data leakage or unauthorized modification of data.
- DB Defence
DbDefence is an Easy-to-use, affordable, and effective security solution for encrypting complete databases and protecting its schema within the MS SQL Server. It allows database administrators and developers to encrypt databases completely. Db defence protects the database from unauthorized access, modification, and distribution. It offers a long and strong array of database security features such as strong encryption, protection of SQL from SQL Profiler.
Database also comes with its security challenges as like all others technologies. Mostly website stores sensitive personal data like login id, password, credit card information etc. So data security is the main concern here and it needs to be protected at all times. Although databases and their contents are vulnerable to a host of internal and external threats, it is possible to reduce the attack vectors to near zero. By addressing these threats you will meet the requirements of the most regulated industries in the world. There is no concept of absolute security. Therefore security controls is not enough to protect us from an attacker we have to scan our data servers on regular basis.