SQL Injection is Alive and Well (Invited Guest Post)

Our hacker Yosef Kerzner who helps us with Hadoop and Big Data hacking does all other kinds of exploits. Here is his latest on SQL injection attacks.

In December 2015 I joined a large consulting firm to perform vulnerability assessments and penetration tests, phishing assessments, and other projects in the realm of defending networks from intrusion. Prior to that, I worked for a company with an in-house application scanner verifying the scanner’s results and also performing several web application assessments each week. While verifying results I found just 1 certain SQL injection vulnerability and maybe 2 potential others. When doing manual web application assessments I found none (the cool stuff had already been picked out by the previous testing).

I wonder if hitherto unchecked internal environments are more likely to have SQL injection vulnerabilities, especially those that are home-rolled rather than provided by a third-party developer as part of an enterprise solution. As an example, let’s look at this site (specifics have been removed):


We’re looking up user profiles, testing each parameter for generic XSS and SQL with something like <>”‘%^&*()[] or some other banging of the keyboard. And what do we see when we put a single tick in the StrSearch parameter?

Let’s pull out SQLMap and direct it at the StrSearch parameter, making sure to include the right cookies. Voila, it works!

A shell and all the database content our heart desires.

A second example. This one came courtesy of Nessus which flagged it as a potential Blind SQL injection, using a time-based injection. I wouldn’t have found it otherwise, as this was a pentest where the only IP information given was a list of IPs to exclude. The rest was up to me to find. I found 2100 live hosts and was told there are about 2500 total. Just the 2100 was enough for me.

Here’s the query string (some parameters removed):


The potentially vulnerable parameter was “t”. After verifying that a time-based injection worked (ala ;WAITFOR DELAY ‘0:0:5’–) by sending various commands that request for a response after a certain number of seconds, I fed it to SQLMap.

Payload: 66 UNION ALL SELECT NULL,CHAR(113) etc etc

And oh hey, look, all the database tables of this company. Users, passwords in clear text (from some tables), PII (which I didn’t dare touch), all your greedy little heart desires. The passwords looked like they came from a time before minimum password restrictions because “1v10” isn’t terribly secure.

So in conclusion: SQL injection is super rare but when you find it you get the keys to the kingdom.

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