A vulnerability estimated to affect more than 1 in 10 websites could go lethal with the finding that it can be used to reliably take complete control of the site's underlying server.
Research to be presented at the Black Hat security conference in Amsterdam later this month will show how so-called SQL injection attacks open the door to much more serious exploits that give hackers unfettered access to a website's database and the operating system that runs it. Penetration tester Bernardo Damele Assumpcao Guimaraes says his techniques prey on design flaws in three of the most popular databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server.
SQL injections are the result of applications that fail to vet user-supplied input entered into search boxes and other website fields. Hackers can abuse this failure to access private information by entering valid commands that get executed by a website's back-end database. Over the past five years, SQL injections have tripped up some of the world's most sensitive sites, including the Department of Homeland Security, embassies, banks, and security companies.