Trustwave SpiderLabs Uncovers Ov3r_Stealer Malware Spread via Phishing and Facebook Advertising. Learn More

Trustwave SpiderLabs Uncovers Ov3r_Stealer Malware Spread via Phishing and Facebook Advertising. Learn More

Managed Detection & Response

Eliminate active threats with 24/7 threat detection, investigation, and response.

Co-Managed SOC (SIEM)

Maximize your SIEM investment, stop alert fatigue, and enhance your team with hybrid security operations support.

Advisory & Diagnostics

Advance your cybersecurity program and get expert guidance where you need it most.

Penetration Testing

Test your physical locations and IT infrastructure to shore up weaknesses before exploitation.

Database Security

Prevent unauthorized access and exceed compliance requirements.

Email Security

Stop email threats others miss and secure your organization against the #1 ransomware attack vector.

Digital Forensics & Incident Response

Prepare for the inevitable with 24/7 global breach response in-region and available on-site.

Firewall & Technology Management

Mitigate risk of a cyberattack with 24/7 incident and health monitoring and the latest threat intelligence.

Microsoft Exchange Server Attacks
Stay protected against emerging threats
Rapidly Secure New Environments
Security for rapid response situations
Securing the Cloud
Safely navigate and stay protected
Securing the IoT Landscape
Test, monitor and secure network objects
Why Trustwave
About Us
Awards and Accolades
Trustwave SpiderLabs Team
Trustwave Fusion Security Operations Platform
Trustwave Security Colony
Technology Alliance Partners
Key alliances who align and support our ecosystem of security offerings
Trustwave PartnerOne Program
Join forces with Trustwave to protect against the most advance cybersecurity threats

The 3 Biggest Database Threats and What Your Security Plan Should Look Like

Serving as the storekeeper of your most sensitive assets, from college admissions applications to resumes of executives, databases are relied upon by organizations worldwide to warehouse and make accessible their information.

They are your modern-day treasure chest, essential in helping you manage your data in a world where bits and bytes are growing at staggering rates. Contemporary database systems are rich in features that enable fast, convenient and flexible entry, storage and retrieval.

Of course, the value that databases bring in managing large quantities of information also lead to arguably their biggest downside: security concerns. Between the allure of huge data sets sitting all in one place and the potential security risks that default-enabled features bring – not to mention increasing cloud deployments and the risk that patching will break something – databases require their own specific security attention. If not, something bad may happen, as I alluded to at the start of this post with references to college applications and executive resumes.

To help you avoid similar adverse fate, let’s discuss the primary threats facing databases and some quick reminders of how you can keep them safeguarded from both attacks and mistakes.

1) Credential Threats

Weak password management and authentication schemes allow attackers to assume the identity of legitimate database users. Specific attack strategies include brute force attacks and social engineering, namely phishing.

2) Privilege Threats

When a user accidentally misuses access rights that were granted properly, or when an admin grants a user excessive access rights by oversight or out of negligence, it can result in privilege abuse, or more malevolent, privilege escalation.

  • Privileged account abuse occurs when the privileges associated with a user account are used inappropriately or fraudulently: maliciously or accidentally, or through willful ignorance of policies.
  • Privilege escalation involves attackers taking advantage of vulnerabilities in database management software to convert low-level access privileges to high-level access privileges. Privilege escalation requires more effort and knowledge than simple privilege abuse. 

3) System Threats

A myriad of other things could trip up database security. These include:

  1. SQL injections: a perennially top attack type that exploits vulnerabilities in web applications to control their database.
  2. Missing patches: Once a vulnerability is published, which typically happens around the time a patch is released, hacking automation tools start to include exploits for it. For context, 119 vulnerabilities were patched in five of the most common databases in 2017, according to the 2018 Trustwave Global Security Report.
  3. Audits: Databases are key components in breach investigations and compliance audits. Audit logs are mandated by the General Data Protection Regulation, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, Sarbanes-Oxley, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and more, yet it is still a significant issue. And following an incident, you don’t want to be in a position where you can only tell that something bad happened, but you cannot get detailed information about what exactly happened.
  4. Cloud: Purchasing third-party database systems can lead to a lack of visibility, control and transparency because they will most likely not be provided with a full-service description detailing exactly how the platform works and the security processes the vendor operates.

As a complement to the database security methodology detailed here, here are some quick tips to remember when setting up strategy for locking down your information repositories.

✔ Inventory existing installations.
✔ Make sure everything is properly patched.
✔ Disable unused functionality.
✔ Drop unnecessary privileges.
✔ Use strong encryption.
✔ Enable auditing.
✔ Validate application code.

For more information on how real-life CISOs are constructing their database security programs, check out this e-book.

Dan Kaplan is senior manager of online content at Trustwave.

Latest Trustwave Blogs

DOJ Disrupts Russian Botnet Created Using Unchanged Admin Credentials

The US Justice Department conducted a court-authorized operation in January that thwarted an on-going Russian GRU botnet campaign that used unchanged publicly known default administrator passwords to...

Read More

Lessons to be Learned: Attacks on Higher Education Proliferate

Trustwave SpiderLabs is wrapping up a multi-month investigation into the threats facing the education sector, across higher education, primary and secondary schools. Trustwave will post the 2024...

Read More

Understanding Why Supply Chain Security is Often Unheeded

Many organizations downplay the critical aspect of whether their cybersecurity provider has the ability to properly vet a third-party vendor's cybersecurity posture.

Read More