Sign Up Login
Resource Center  >  Blog

Blind SQL Injection: How it Works, Examples and Prevention

May 27, 2021
Nera Besic

What is Blind SQL Injection?

Blind SQL injections (blind SQLi) occur when a web application is exposed to SQL injection, but its HTTP responses don’t contain the results of the SQL query or any details of database errors. This unlike a regular SQL injection, in which the database error or output of the malicious SQL query is shown in the web application and visible to the attacker.

In a Blind SQL Injection, attackers never see the output of the SQL queries. Still, they may see if the application or web page loads normally, and discern how long the SQL server needs to process the SQL query that an attacker passed in the user input.

Exploiting Blind SQL Injections is more complex and more time consuming for the attacker, and the attacker cannot use common SQLi techniques like UNION, sub query injection or XPATH. 

However, the implications and consequences for the security are similar. When an attacker executes a successful malicious query, they take control over the database server. This leads to data theft (e.g., credit card numbers) and may enable a complete takeover of the web server operating system using privilege escalation.

In this article, you will learn:

Content-Based Blind SQL Injection Attacks

In this type of blind SQLi, an attacker performs various SQL queries that claim the database TRUE or FALSE responses. Then the attacker observes differences between TRUE and FALSE statements.

Below is a blind SQL injection example using an online webshop, which displays items for sale. The following link displays details about the item with ID 14,  that is retrieved from a database.


The SQL query used to get this request is:

SELECT columnName, columnName2 FROM table_name WHERE id = 14

The attacker inserts the following blind SQL injection payload:

http://www.webshop.local/item.php?id=14 and 1=2

Now, the SQL query looks like:

SELECT columnName2 FROM tableName WHERE ID = 14 and 1=2SELECT name, description, price FROM StoreTable WHERE ID = 14 and 1=2

This results in the query returning FALSE with no items displayed in the list. The attacker then proceeds to modify the request to:

http://www.webshop.local/item.php?id=14 and 1=1

Now, the SQL query looks like:

SELECT columnName, columnName2 FROM tableName WHERE ID = 14 and 1=1SELECT

The database will return TRUE, and the details of the item with ID 14 are displayed. This is an indication that this webpage is vulnerable.

Time-Based Blind SQL Injection

In this case, the attacker performs a database time-intensive operation.

If the website does not return an immediate response, it indicates a vulnerability to blind SQL injection. The most popular time-intensive operation is a sleep operation.

Based on the example above, the attacker would benchmark the web server response time for a regular SQL query, and then would issue the request below:

http://www.webshop.local/item.php?id=14 and if(1=1, sleep(15), false)

The website is vulnerable if the response is delayed by 15 seconds.

Prevention of Blind SQL Injection

In most cases when a developer attempts to protect the website from classic SQL Injection poorly, the result is leaving space for blind injections. Meaning if you turn off error reporting, a classic SQL Injection can become a Blind SQL Injection vulnerability.

How can you protect yourself from Blind SQL Injections:

Use Secure Coding Practices

Be sure to use secure coding practices, independent of the programming language. All standard web development platforms (including PHP, ASP.NET, Java, and but also Python or Ruby) have mechanisms for avoiding SQL Injections, including Blind SQL Injections. Try to avoid dynamic SQL at all costs. 

The best option is to use prepared queries, also known as parameterized statements. Also, you can use stored procedures that most SQL databases support (PostgreSQL, Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL Server). Additionally, escaping or filtering special characters (such as the single quote which is used for classic SQL Injections) for all user data inputs.

Use Automated Testing Solutions

Bright’s solutions can detect both SQL Injection and Blind SQL injection vulnerabilities. Automatic regular scans will identify any new vulnerabilities which may not have been prevented or identified as noted above, or they may have occurred with new releases. 

Fully and seamlessly integrate application security testing automation into the SDLC, and empower your developers and QA to detect, prioritize and remediate security issues early, without slowing down DevOps pipeline.

Learn more about Bright

Related Articles:

Related topics

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) is a crucial component in fortifying web applications against potential vulnerabilities. By taking a proactive stance, DAST systematically detects and addresses security flaws.

See more

By mapping Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements, organizations can

See more

What Is Mobile Application Security Testing?  Mobile application security testing is the process of assessing, analyzing, and evaluating the security

See more

Test Your Web App for 10,000+ Attacks

See Our Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) in Action

  • Find & fix vulnerabilities fast
  • Zero false positives
  • Developer friendly

and see how easy AppSec can be

Secure your app against Blind SQL Injection. Run a security scan with every build

  • Easily and quickly find & fix security bugs

  • Automate it in your build pipeline

  • No false positives

  • Scan any target: web apps & APIs

Test Your Web App for 10,000+ Attacks

Integrate vulnerability testing into your DevOps pipeline. Find & fix vulnerabilities fast with zero false positives.
See Our Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) in Action
Testing variance Using Legacy Dast Using Dev-Centric Dast
% of orgs knowingly pushing vulnerable apps & APIs to prod 86% 50%
Time to remediate >Med vulns in prod 280 days <150 days
% of > Med vulns detected in CI, or earlier <5% ~55%
Dev time spent remediating vulns - Up to 60x faster
Happiness level of Engineering & AppSec teams - Significantly improved
Average cost of Data Breach (US) $7.86M $7.86M