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[New Paper] Dealing with Database Denial of Service

By Adrian Lane

We are pleased to put the finishing touches on our Database Denial of Service (DB-DoS) research and distribute it to the security community. Unless you have had your head in the sand for the past year, you know DoS attacks are back with a vengeance. Less visible but no less damaging is the fact that attackers are “moving up the stack” to the application and database layers. Rather than “flooding the pipes” with millions of bogus packets, we now see cases where a single request topples a database – halting the web services it supported. Database DoS requires less effort for the attacker, and provides a stealthier approach to achieving their goals. Companies that have been victimized by DB-DoS are not eager to share details, but here at Securosis we think it’s time you know what we are hearing about so you can arm yourself with knowledge of how to defend against this sort of attack. Here is an except from the paper:

Attackers exploit defects by targeting a specific weakness or bug in the database. In the last decade we have seen a steady parade of bugs that enable attackers – often remotely and without credentials – to knock over databases. A single ‘query of death’ is often all it takes. Buffer overflows have long been the principal vulnerability exploited for Db – DoS. We have seen a few dozen buffer overflow attacks on Oracle that can take down a database – sometimes even without user credentials by leveraging the PUBLIC privilege. SQL Server has its own history of similar issues, including the named pipes vulnerability. Attackers have taken down DB2 by sending UDP packets. We hear rumors at present of a MySQL attack that slows databases to a crawl.

We would like to thank DBNetworks for licensing the content in this paper. Obviously we wouldn’t be able to do the research we do, or offer it to you for this most excellent price, without clients licensing our content. If you have comments of questions about this research please feel free to email us with questions!

Download the paper, free of charge: Dealing with Database Denial of Service.

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