What is Database Security?

Database security encompasses a range of safeguards used to protect databases against malicious cyber-attacks as well as illegal use. Security programs for databases are designed to safeguard not just the database’s information but also the management system that manages the database and all applications which connects to it from damage, misuse and intruders.

Database security encapsulates techniques, processes and techniques that create security within a database.

Security of Databases

Numerous software weaknesses, configuration errors or the occurrence of negligence or misuse can lead to security breaches. Here are a few of the most widely known sources and forms of security for databases cyber-attacks.

Insider Threats

A threat to the insider is an issue of security from any of the three sources listed below Each of them has an access privilege into the database:

A malicious insider with bad intentions.
An indecent person within the company who puts the databases at risk by negligent actions
A person outside the organization who gains credentials via the use of social engineering, or any other method or gain access to database credentials

A threat from insiders is one of the primary reasons for security breaches in databases and often happens because the majority of employees have been granted privilege access to the database.

Human Error

Password sharing, weak passwords and accidental deletion or corruption of data as well as other user-related behaviors that are not acceptable to users remain the root of nearly half of the breaches of data reported.

Utilization of Database Software Vulnerabilities

Attackers are constantly trying to find and target weaknesses in software databases, and software for managing databases is a useful potential target. Everyday, new vulnerabilities are discovered and all open-source databases management platforms as well as commercial database software providers issue security patches frequently. If you do not implement these patches immediately your database could be vulnerable to attack.

Even if you apply patches at the right time, you’re always at the possibility of zero-day attacks. These occur when hackers discover a security flaw that hasn’t yet been patched and discovered by the vendor of the database.

SQL/NoSQL Injection Attacks

A threat specific to databases involves the inclusion of arbitrary non-SQL or SQL attack strings to create database queries. Most often, these queries are that are created as extensions of web-based application forms or received through HTTP requests. Any database system can be vulnerable to attack when developers don’t adhere to safe programming practices and the business doesn’t conduct regular vulnerability tests.

Buffer Overflow Attacks

Buffer overflow happens when a system attempts to write an enormous amount of data into the memory of a fixed length which is more than it can hold. The attackers could use the extra data, stored in memory addresses adjacent to each other to be the location from which to begin attacks.

Attacks on Denial of Service (DoS/DDoS) Attacks

In a denial-of-service (DoS) attack in which the cybercriminal overpowers the targeted service — in this case the database server–with a massive number in fake queries. This means that the server is not able to process legitimate requests from real users and, in most cases, is unable to function or even becomes unstable.

In the case of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) false traffic can be generated from a huge number of computersthat are part of a botnet managed by an attacker. This results in huge amounts of traffic that are impossible to disrupt without having a flexible defensive system. Cloud-based DDoS protection tools can be scaled rapidly to handle massive DDoS attacks.


Malware software is designed to exploit weaknesses or to harm databases. The malware could be introduced through any device that is connected to the network of the database. Protection against malware is essential for any device however, it is especially important on databases due to their high value and sensitiveness.

A Changing IT Environment

The changing IT environment has made databases more vulnerable to attacks. These are some trends that could create new types of attacks against databases or could require new security measures:

Data volumes are increasing. Storage, data processing and storage is increasing exponentially across nearly all businesses. All data security procedures or tools need to be highly adaptable to meet needs in the near and future.
Distributed infrastructure–network environments are increasing in complexity, especially as businesses transfer workloads to hybrid cloud or multi-cloud architectures, making the deployment, management, and choice of security solutions more difficult.
More stringent regulatory requirements – the global regulation compliance environment is increasing in complexity, which means that executing the requirements of all mandates is becoming more difficult.
Cybersecurity skills shortage — there’s a shortage of skilled cybersecurity experts, and companies have difficulty fill security positions. This makes it harder to protect crucial infrastructure, such as databases.

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How Do You Secure Your Database Server?

Database servers are virtual or physical machine that runs the database. Security of a database server sometimes referred to “hardening” is a method that involves physically secure security as well as network security and secure configuration of the operating system.

Make sure that the database is physically secure Database Security

Avoid sharing servers for your web-based applications or database applications, particularly if your database is containing sensitive information. While it might be cheaper and simpler to host your website and database on the same hosting service, you are putting the safety of your data into the hands of someone else.

If you decide to rely on a web hosting provider for managing your databases you must ensure that it’s a reliable company with an excellent track record of security. It is recommended to steer away from free hosting services because of the potential insecurity.

If you are managing your database on premises in a data center, bear in the mind the fact that your facility could be vulnerable to attacks by the outside or by insider threat. Make sure you have security measures in place that include cameras, locks and security personnel within your physical location. Access to servers must be recorded and only given to those who are authorized.

Also, don’t store backups of your database in locations which are publically accessible like Web folders that are temporary, partitions or cloud storage buckets that are not secure.

Lockdown Accounts and privileges

Let’s look at an example of the Oracle Database Server. After the database has been installed after installation, it is installed, the Oracle databases configuration tool (DBCA) expires automatically and locks the majority of account users in the default database.

In the event that you create an Oracle database by hand it won’t be a problem and the default account for privileged users will not expire or be locked. The password they use remains exactly the same, as does their username by default. An attacker may try using these passwords in the first place in order to access the database.

It is crucial to ensure that each privilege account on the database server is set up with a secure unique password. If accounts are not used and are not needed, they must be revoked and secured.

For all other accounts, access should be limited to the minimum level needed. Each account should be granted access to the table and the operations (for example, SELECT and INERT) that are required from the individual. Do not create user accounts that have access to all tables within the database.

Everyday Patch Database servers

Check that your patches are current. The effective management of database patches is a vital security technique as attackers constantly seek out security flaws that are not present in databases. New malware and viruses appear every day.

An immediate deployment of current versions of databases service packs, important security hotfixes and cumulative updates can improve the reliability of your database.

Disable Public Network Access

The applications of organizations are stored in databases. In the majority of real-world scenarios users don’t need directly access to databases. So, you must block all access to public networks to databases, in the event that you are hosting service provider. Ideally, a company should establish the gateway server (VPN and SSH tunnels) to allow remote administrators.

Make sure that all files and backups are encrypted.

Whatever your security is There is always the possibility that hackers could penetrate your system. However, hackers aren’t the sole threat in the database’s security. Employees could also be a threat for your company. There’s always the chance that a careless or malicious insider could gain access to an account they don’t have access to.

The encryption of your data renders it impossible to read for attackers as well as employees. Without an encryption key they can’t access it and this is a final protection against unwelcome attacks. Secure all important applications as well as data files and backups to ensure that unauthorised users can’t access your vital information.

Database Security Best Practices

Here are some of the top practices that you can employ to increase the security of your sensitive databases.

Actively manage passwords and user Access

If you are a part of an extensive organization and you are thinking about automating access management using access management or password management software. This will grant authorized users who have a temporary password with the right to access the database each time they require access to databases.

It also tracks the actions completed within that time period, and also prevents the administrators of sharing passwords. Although administrators might think it is beneficial to share passwords, sharing passwords can make effective accountability and security for databases almost impossible.

Additionally to the above security measures, the following are suggested:

Strong passwords should be strictly enforced
Hashes of passwords must be salted and stored as encrypted
Accounts need to be locked following multiple login attempts
Accounts are regularly reviewed and disabled if employees change to new roles, leave the organization or cease to require access to the same degree of privileges.

Check Your Database Security

Once you’ve set up your security measures for your database You must then test it against real threats. Conducting penetration tests or audits with your personal database can enable you to get into an attitude of cybercriminals, and identify the vulnerabilities that you might not have noticed.

To ensure the test is complete ensure that you involve trustworthy hackers or recognized penetration testing companies in the security test. Penetration testers publish detailed reports on vulnerabilities in databases and the need to immediately investigate and correct the vulnerabilities. Perform a penetration test against the database of your choice every year, at a minimum.

Make use of Real-Time Database Monitoring

Monitoring your database on a regular basis for breaches increases the security of your database and allows you to quickly respond to attacks.

Particularly, File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) will allow you to record the actions that are performed on the server hosting your database and also alert you to possible breaches. If FIM detects changes to critical database files, make sure that security personnel are aware and ready to investigate and react in response.

Utilize Web Application and Database Firewalls

A firewall is a must to shield the database servers from security threats. A firewall by default will not allow access to the traffic. It should also block your database from initiating connections that are outbound unless there is an explicit reason to do this.

While you are protecting your database by deploying firewalls, you should implement an application firewall (WAF). This is due to attacks targeted at web-based applications, like SQL injection, could use them to obtain unauthorized access to databases.

A database firewall cannot prevent the majority of attacks on web applications as traditional firewalls work at the layer of network, however, web application layers operate on the app layer (layer seven of OSI model). OSI Model). A WAF is an application layer firewall and is able to identify malicious web application traffic, like SQL injection attacks and block them before it causes harm to your database.