SQL Injection in Oracle: Examples and Prevention

Nedim Marić

What is SQL Injection and Can it Happen in an Oracle Database?

Unfortunately, the quick answer is a resounding YES – Oracle databases are by no means immune to these attacks.

SQL injections represent one of the most prominent and dangerous attacks, a staple inclusion in the OWASP Top 10. It is a code injection technique used to exploit vulnerabilities in the application layer to retrieve or corrupt the data they hold. 

One example is when a required user’s input is either incorrectly filtered, or the user’s input is not strongly typed and unexpectedly executed or the user gives an SQL statement instead.

While SQL injections are known predominantly as a website attack vector, they are also used to attack any SQL database. 

Security of your applications that use Oracle databases is imperative to secure your data and reputation, especially as attackers have multiple automated tools at their fingertips to facilitate an SQL attack.  Below are some tips on how to protect your web apps.

Using MongoDB…? Read more about SQL injection in MongoDB 

Examples of SQL Injection in Oracle

Attackers carrying out SQL injection attacks in Oracle will generally try to minimize the number of database calls in order to maximize their chances of success. 

One of the most popular tools used to carry out SQL injection in Oracle is an open-source tool called BSQL Hacker, used to discover exploits in the target web application. Some of the things that BSQL Hacker does include:

  • fingerprint database version, user details, and permission
  • changing attacker’s permissions to database admin
  • obtaining available data from the database

One of the safest ways to defend from SQL Injection is to never, ever concatenate user input into your SQL queries. These inputs should always – and by always we mean without exception – be bound into the statement. As soon as you allow the end-user to input the code into your SQL statements, it’s as if you gave them the key to your apps. To carry out an SQL injection attack, an attacker must first find vulnerable user inputs within the web page or application and then input content, namely malicious SQL commands, which are in turn executed in the database. Successful attacks can gain total control over the affected database.

Although they have devastating repercussions and widespread awareness, SQL injections remain commonplace, with most web applications remaining vulnerable in production.

It is crucial to understand how to prevent SQL injection attacks and hackers from breaching your databases.

How to Prevent SQL Injection in Oracle

SQL injection can be prevented using proper programming techniques and robust testing as part of your development pipeline. Here are some tips that could help you to prevent SQL injection in Oracle and keep your application protected:

1. Input Validation 

You must take precautionary measures in order to ensure that the attacker cannot inject malicious code via forms that go out directly towards the database. This is the most common issue as the developers are unaware of the fact that loose input validation could result in catastrophic consequences. What you should at least do is limit the number of characters a user can send into a form field. So, in case you have a “first name” field, it should never contain more than 32 characters. 

2. Minimum Permissions 

Another useful tip is to only grant minimum permissions possible to the end user. This means limiting their ability to edit content on your website as much as you can, because it ultimately means that you’re protected from the attacker potentially taking over as an admin on your website. 

3. Static Statements

What you should also be doing when writing queries and such is to try to always use static statements, where the attacker cannot inject dynamic content that changes your website. As an additional step in securing your web application, make sure that you’re binding variables whenever you can, given that it provides an extra layer of security. 

4. Encrypt Confidential Data

Encrypting the most important and confidential data makes sure that you add an extra layer of protection that might just make a key difference for your web app. Thus, you ought to do this whenever possible since it’s the most popular protection method ever since security took its place in modern IT.

5. Blacklisting

This one is pretty simple, yet extremely efficient in preventing malicious codes from entering your web apps. You can create a list of characters that a user cannot send via input forms, such as “<>/?*()&”, or even malicious statements like “SELECT”, which is automatically limiting the scope of vulnerability on your website. 

Detecting SQL Injection in Oracle

Securing your applications is crucial nowadays. The data has never been more important and sensitive, which also means that the attackers are getting smarter by the day. 


This is why Bright Security’s developer-focused approach allows for non-security-minded developers to scan their applications and find all about potential vulnerabilities. In fact, you can sign up for a free account now in order to scan your applications and ensure that you avoid SQL injection and all other sorts of attacks on your apps. 

Conclusion

Hopefully this article sheds some light on the threat of SQL injection in your Oracle database. Security of your applications should never be taken for granted, which is why checking and testing for security is now a part of our everyday work as developers.

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