SQL injection is a web security vulnerability that allows an attacker to interfere with the queries that an application makes to its database. It generally allows an attacker to view data that they are not normally able to retrieve. This might include data belonging to other users, or any other data that the application itself is able to access. In many cases, an attacker can modify or delete this data, causing persistent changes to the application's content or behaviour.
In some situations, an attacker can escalate an SQL injection attack to compromise the underlying server or other back-end infrastructure, or perform a denial-of-service attack.
A successful SQL injection attack can result in unauthorized access to sensitive data, such as passwords, credit card details, or personal user information. Many high-profile data breaches in recent years have been the result of SQL injection attacks, leading to reputational damage and regulatory fines. In some cases, an attacker can obtain a persistent backdoor into an organization's systems, leading to a long-term compromise that can go unnoticed for an extended period.
There are a wide variety of SQL injection vulnerabilities, attacks, and techniques, which arise in different situations. Some common SQL injection examples include:
Retrieving hidden data, where you can modify an SQL query to return additional results.
Subverting application logic, where you can change a query to interfere with the application's logic.
UNION attacks, where you can retrieve data from different database tables.
Examining the database, where you can extract information about the version and structure of the database.
Blind SQL injection, where the results of a query you control are not returned in the application's responses.
Most instances of SQL injection can be prevented by using parameterized queries (also known as prepared statements) instead of string concatenation within the query.
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