Database threat types

The translation of the material was prepared as part of the course “QA Engineer”

We invite everyone to the webinar “Tours in Exploratory Testing”In this open lesson, we will look at the main rounds of exploratory testing, thanks to which you can organize your approach to testing large problems.

Despite the fact that we have so many internal and external threats to databases, in this tutorial we will cover only a few of them.

#one. Unlimited database privileges

This typically occurs when multiple privileges are granted to database users on the system, resulting in privilege abuse that can be excessive, legal, or unused. This action can be performed by both current and former employees of the company.

There are some control measures that need to be implemented, as shown below:

  • Make every effort to enforce very strict access control and privilege control policies.

  • Make sure that you do not grant or assert excessive privileges to all employees, and try, as much as possible, to allow time to deactivate any deprecated privileges immediately.

# 2. SQL injection

This type of SQL injection attack occurs when malicious code is injected through the front end of a web application and then transferred to the back end. This process allows an attacker to gain absolute access to the information stored in the database.

The purpose of this is usually data theft or corruption. SQL Injection targets traditional databases and NoSQL Injection targets BIG Data databases

# 3. Bad audit trail

According to some security standards, every event in the database must be recorded for audit purposes. If you are unable to provide evidence of the existence of a database audit trail, then this can pose a very serious security risk, as an investigation cannot be carried out in the event of an intrusion.

#four. Open database backups

Every organization needs a very good backup plan, but when backups are available, they become open to compromise and theft. We have had many security breaches that were only successful because a database backup was opened.

Encrypting and auditing production databases and backups is the best form of protecting corporate sensitive data.

#five. Incorrect database configuration

Some of the threats encountered in the database are the result of misconfiguration. Attackers usually use a database that has a standard account and configuration settings.

This is a wake-up call that when configuring the database, there should be nothing resembling the default account, and the parameters should be configured in such a way that it would be difficult for an attacker to do anything.

# 6. Lack of experience in security

Lack of security expertise and basic database security rules can lead to data breaches. Security personnel may lack the knowledge required to implement security controls and other security policies.

# 7. Denial of Service (DoS)

This is the type of attack that affects the availability of the service, it affects the performance of the database server and makes the database service unavailable to users.

For example, if there is a request for very important financial data, and the database is unavailable due to DoS, then this can lead to a loss of money.

#eight. Poor data management

Some corporate organizations do not know how to properly manage their confidential data, they do not keep an accurate inventory, and thus some of this confidential data may fall into the wrong hands. If you do not properly inventory the new data added to the database, it can become vulnerable.

Therefore, it is very important to encrypt data at rest and apply the necessary permissions and controls.

Database security testing

Why do we conduct database security testing? This test is conducted to detect any weaknesses or vulnerabilities in the security configuration of the database and to mitigate the effects of any unwanted access to the database.

All sensitive data must be protected from intruders, so regular security checks are very important and mandatory.

The following are the main reasons why database security testing is mandatory:

  • Authentication

  • Authorization

  • Accounting

  • Confidentiality

  • Integrity

  • Availability

  • Sustainability

This process involves testing different levels based on business requirements. The levels tested are the business, access, and user interface layers.

Database testing process

  • Preparation (e.g. Wednesday)

  • Testing

  • Evaluation of results

  • Accurate reporting

Recommended reading => The Ultimate Guide to Database Testing

Types of Database Security Testing

  • Penetration test: It is the process of simulating a cyber attack on a network, computer system or web application to detect any vulnerabilities in them.

  • Vulnerability Scanner: This is the use of a scanner to scan the system for known vulnerabilities in order to eliminate and fix them.

  • Security audit: This is the process of assessing the implementation and compliance of an organization’s security policies and standards.

  • Risk assessment: This is a general process for identifying all hazards and risks that could seriously harm the system.

Benefits of Using a Database Testing Tool

The main reason we use the tool is because it completes tasks faster, which saves time. Most modern testing methods are performed with some of these tools.

There are both free and paid testing tools on the Internet that you can use that are very easy to understand and use effectively. These tools can be categorized into load and performance testing tools, test data generation tools, and SQL based tools.

Since there is a high probability that some instability may be found in the database, this necessitates testing the database (database) before starting the application.

This testing should be done as early as possible in the software development lifecycle to gain an understanding of the vulnerabilities in the database system, and using some of these tools can help detect them effectively and efficiently.

If the database crashes, it renders the entire application or system useless, which can lead to more serious consequences. The reason periodic testing is important is because it maintains system performance.

A list of some of the best database testing tools:

  • Data factory

  • Data layout

  • DTM data generator

  • MS SQL Server

  • SQL test

  • Oracle SQL Developer

  • NoSQL Unit

  • Se Lite

  • SLOB

  • Orion

Recommended reading => Complete List of Database Testing Tools

Database security testing techniques

Various testing techniques can be used when testing database security. Below we will look at some of these methods:

#one. Penetration test

This is a deliberate attack on a system to find security vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to gain access to the entire system, including the database. If a weakness is found, the immediate action is to eliminate and mitigate any threat that the vulnerability might cause.

# 2. Risk assessment

It is the process of conducting a risk assessment to determine the level of risk associated with the type of database security configuration implemented and the ability to detect a vulnerability. This assessment is usually carried out by security experts who can analyze the degree of risk associated with a given process.

# 3. Validating SQL Injection

This includes properly sanitizing the values ​​that are inserted into the database. For example, entering the special character ‘,’ or keywords like SELECT should be prohibited in any application.

If such a check is not provided, then the database recognizing the query language will treat the query as correct.

If a database error appears on the login, it means that a request entered the database and was executed with either a positive or negative response. In this scenario, the database is very vulnerable to SQL injection.

SQL injection is a major attack vector today, as it allows an attacker to gain access to an application’s database containing highly sensitive data.

The interface through which this attack is usually carried out is the input forms in the application, and in order to solve this problem, it is necessary to do the appropriate cleaning of the input. SQL injection testing must be done for every parenthesis, comma, and quotation mark used in the input interface.

#four. Cracking password

During testing, it is always very important to ensure that the system maintains a strong password policy. Therefore, when conducting penetration testing, it is very important to verify that this password policy is being followed. We can do this by acting like a hacker who uses a password cracking tool or guesses a different username / password.

Companies that develop or use financial applications should ensure that they have established a strong password policy for their database management system.

#five. Security audit

It is necessary to conduct regular security audits to evaluate the organization’s security policy and to find out whether the standards are being followed or not.

There are various enterprises with their own specific safety standards, and once these standards are established, then they can no longer be abandoned. If someone does not comply with any of these standards, then it will be considered a serious violation. One example of a security standard is ISO 27001.

Frequently asked Questions

Question # 1) What types of security testing are there?


Penetration test

Vulnerability Scanner

Security audit

Risk assessment

Question # 2) What are the security concerns of databases?


Unlimited database privileges

SQL injection

Bad audit trail

Open database backups

Lack of experience in security

Incorrect database configuration

Denial of service

Question # 3) What are security testing tools?

Answer: These are testing tools that are used to detect vulnerabilities, threats and risks in an application and eliminate them immediately to prevent any malicious attack.

Question # 4) How is security testing done?


Testing access points.

Testing a malicious script.

Testing the level of data protection.

Testing error handling.


Every organization must make database security an integral part of its day-to-day business, as data is the key to success. They don’t have to think about the cost that will be spent on building the structure, but they have to think about the cost-effectiveness.

There are various testing tools that a company can start using and incorporate into their security testing plan.

When you see how poor database security affects some organizations, you will see how chaos is happening and how some have failed to survive. Therefore, the advice is to take the security of your database very seriously.

Recommended reading

Learn more about the course “QA Engineer”

Watch the webinar “Tours in Exploratory Testing”

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