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Protecting Web Applications from SQL Injection, Correcting SQLi vulnerabilities using Prepared Statements

Protection against SQL Injection with AI-Powered tool SQLi Fixer and Prepared Statements

Correcting SQL injection vulnerabilities with SQLi Fixer

Protection against SQL Injection is a must have. SQL Injection (SQLi) stands out as a particularly insidious threat, capable of compromising data integrity and access.  I am presenting in this document the robust defense mechanism provided by Prepared Statements, and how with the performance of a enw SQL tool AI-powered, it’s now possible to safeguard against SQLi attacks.

Introduction

Correction and Protection against SQL Injection : How to be protected against SQL injection ? there are several strategies for protecting against SQL injection attacks. SQLi is a type of security vulnerability that allows an attacker to interfere with the queries that an application makes to its databases. SQL injection is one of the oldest, most current, and most dangerous web application vulnerabilities (SQLi 2023 statistics).

SQL Injection attacks manipulate web application vulnerabilities to execute unauthorised SQL commands, possibly creating severe risks to data security. In this publication I emphasize the critical need for stringent security measures, highlighting Prepared Statements and AI-based SQL tools as effective countermeasures.

The core of SQL injection prevention is ensuring that an attacker cannot inject arbitrary SQL code into a database query. The use of Prepared Statements (Parameterized Queries) is a good strategy. 

Growth of number of SQLi CVE between 2020 and 2023 : +460%

source : CVE.org

Protection against SQL injection with Prepared Statements 

Prepared Statements, require the developer to first define all the SQL code, and then pass in each parameter to the query separately. This allows the database to distinguish between code and data, regardless of what user input is supplied. Prepared Statements separate SQL code from data inputs, significantly mitigating SQLi risks. Unlike traditional concatenation methods, Prepared Statements treat user input strictly as data, not executable code, effectively neutralizing SQLi vectors.

The following example brings some information :

Vulnerable Code (without prepared Statements):

  • sqlCopy code
  • String query = “SELECT * FROM users WHERE username = ‘” + username + “‘ AND password = ‘” + password + “‘”; 

In this example, if an attacker sets the username input to something like a’ OR ‘1’=’1, they can manipulate the query to bypass authentication or retrieve data they shouldn’t have access to.

Secure Code Using Prepared Statements against SQL Injection:

  • sqlCopy code
  • PreparedStatement stmt = connection.prepareStatement(“SELECT * FROM users WHERE username = ? AND password = ?”); stmt.setString(1, username); stmt.setString(2, password); 

In this secure example, even if the attacker tries the same trick, the input would be treated as a literal string within the query, not as part of the SQL code itself.

Protection against SQL injection by Implementing Prepared Statements

Protecting your web application from SQL Injection (SQLi) attacks is crucial to keeping your data safe. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using Prepared Statements.

I take advantage also to highlight that Implementing Prepared Statements varies across programming languages (1) but follows a consistent pattern of preparing a statement, binding parameters, and executing the query securely.

If I can give an illustration, Prepared Statements is a complex custom-made key that fits only to the lock you designed. And to achieve this objective, there are best practices to follow. For example : Always use parameterized queries for database access; Avoid dynamic SQL where possible; and Validate and sanitize all user inputs.

With these best practices, we are building a fortress around the data, protection against SQLi attacks.  

I strongly believe it’s a necessity to transition to Prepared Statements, due to the rise in SQLi attacks. For the new SQL applications, but also for the existing SQL Applications

Protection against SQLi by incorporating Prepared Statements in existing Apps

While it’s challenging to calculate an exact percentage of SQL applications requiring code rewrite to incorporate Prepared Statements — since the landscape of applications is vast and varied — we can say safely that a large significant number of applications needs to and could benefit from such an update. Is your SQL applications safe ? 

This need of a systematic correction of SQL Injection vulnerabilities is especially strong for legacy systems or applications developed before the adoption of Prepared Statements as a best practice.

The re-writing of existing apps to incorporate Prepared Statements could be challenging, and is time-consuming and difficult. And is probably not realistic “hand made”.  

Some of the challenges are : 

  • Compatibility: Some older or highly customized database systems might not be “ready” for Prepared Statements, requiring additional workarounds or updates.
  • Resource Allocation: Rewriting code to implement Prepared Statements requires time and developer resources. This can divert attention from others projects or features.
  • Elapse time : when a vulnerability is discovered, it’s important to fix it before it can be exploited. 
  • Bug Introduction: Any time code is rewritten, there’s a risk of introducing new bugs. Thorough testing is essential to mitigate this risk.

It’s clear that code must be re-write with Prepared Statements, but obviously Applications must be tested and corrected regularly. Before each deployment. This is a challenge also to optimize the “time-to-market” while being secured against SQL injection. 

But, incorporating Prepared Statements in the source code is necessary. This is one of the most effective ways to protect against SQLi attacks. 

How to be protected against SQL Injection ?

While prepared statements are highly effective against SQL injection, security is a multi-layered approach, and prepared statements should be used in conjunction with other security practices, in a complete security organization including WAF. For example, input validation is probably the first checkpoint, verifying that all incoming data conforms to expected formats.

Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) tools and regular audits, including code reviews and security assessments, serve as the vigilant supervisors.

Leveraging automation through sophisticated tools that lookout for SQLi vulnerabilities offers a proactive approach to security, identifying areas suitable for strengthening with Prepared Statements before breaches occur or are exploited. This is important as SW development and deployment is a continuous movement.

Lastly, the commitment to continuous education ensures that the development team remains agile, informed, and ready to adapt to evolving threats, keeping SQLi secured through a dynamic, informed, and layered defense strategy. 

Time for Recovery after SQL Injection / Ransomware attacks - SQLi Protection - SQLi Correction

Protecting NOW against SQL injection, leveraging AI. 

Artificial Intelligence is a technology that can help protecting against SQL Injection; for example by ensuring web applications are fortified with Prepared Statements.  

An advanced AI-powered tool could highlight in the source code the areas vulnerable to SQLi and propose modifications to convert existing SQL statements into secure Prepared Statements. 

This process helps in rewriting the code with minimal risk of introducing new bugs. It also ensures that the applications are safe before each deployment.

One SQL tool, AI-powered, patented, Performant is available. SQLi Fixer from Sqlephant protects against SQL injection. SQL Injection fixer (#SQLiFixer) Detects and Fix SQL vulnerabilities in the source code. Quasi-immediately.  

SQLi Fixer in an industrialized and secured process, uses sophisticated prompts and algorithms, and run for small, large and complex applications with a huge number of files. 

  • SQLi Fixer Analyzes code for detecting all potential SQLi vulnerabilities,
  • SQLi Fixer Transforms all Statements into Prepared Statements, quickly,
  • SQLi Fixer Analyses the corrections (with a different algorithm) to ensure quality of the corrections,
  • SQLi Fixer tag and trace all Actions, for security and to provide interactive experiences on the best coding practices with effective Prepared Statements.  
  • SQLi Fixer Fix SQLi vulnerabilities before they become exploitable weaknesses.
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Conclusion

SQL Injection remains a critical threat, but, with the right tools and practices it is preventable. Prepared Statements offer a strong foundation for security, while AI tools present a promising frontier for enhancing defenses. WIth SQL Tools like the patented Sqlephant SQLi Fixer, every companies can safely update their Source Code with Prepared Statements – Easily and securely, with a quasi immediate protection against SQLi attacks.

By embracing these technologies and adhering to best practices, we can significantly mitigate the risks of SQLi attacks. Moreover, as technology evolves, so do the tactics of attackers. The future of SQLi defense will likely rely on a combination of advanced AI tools, ongoing education, and evolving security practices to address new challenges.

In conclusion, while no security measure can guarantee 100% protection against all forms of attacks under all circumstances, using prepared statements correctly is one of the strongest defences against SQL injection attacks, available today.

Thanks for your feed back, comments and suggestions.

Team sqlephant.com

(1)  Sqlephant SQLi Fixer works with the main languages (C#, Java, Python, PHP, …)

#SQLdev #SQLfuture #SQLinjection #SQLinjectionFixer #Sqlephant

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