Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

1/13/2010
10:13 AM
Adrian Lane
Adrian Lane
Commentary
50%
50%

Discovery And Your Database

Database discovery is the act of locating databases on a network. Years ago, this was simple because companies had only one or two databases. Now just about every application created relies on database services to provide data integrity and transactional consistency.

Database discovery is the act of locating databases on a network. Years ago, this was simple because companies had only one or two databases. Now just about every application created relies on database services to provide data integrity and transactional consistency.As is common with SQL Server, a single installation can support hundreds of database instances. With virtualization and mirroring in wide use for disaster recovery, these databases move and propagate automatically. Many desktop applications embed "lite" versions of enterprise databases, scattering databases across the endpoint. With companies having geographically disperse locations on networks further segmented by business function, finding and itemizing different databases is a complex task.

Each database in an organization poses a security risk. The risk is both in the data it houses and as a potential target for attackers. Forensic analysis of major data breaches has proved highly sensitive data has been stolen from unsecured test servers, and databases with poor security are leveraged to attack other database installations. Unless the database and data security settings have been adjusted from their default settings, they are not secure.

Discovery is not really a security operation per se, but finding databases is useful for a wide variety of security and operational tasks. The business motivation for database discovery is to itemize the databases in order to understand where these assets reside. Once discovered, this information is used to verify they conform to security policy through assessment. It is used by operations staff to check licensing and patch revision levels. It is used for data discovery tools to locate sensitive information. Databases communicate with other applications by setting themselves up to listen for communication requests at a specific location called a network "port." Most database discovery tools work by performing a scan of network ports on a server. As databases default (Oracle is port 1521, SQL Server is port 1433), automated network scanning tools will call these locations to see if there is a service listening. If so, it assumes a database is present. Most automated scanning tools accept a TCP-IP address range as well as port address ranges, and will look for specific database types. The scanner will attempt to communicate with the port and, depending on the response, can determine database type and possibly version.

If your company has only a handful of production databases, then database discovery is probably not appropriate for you. But if your firm has many applications and/or heterogeneous databases, then discovery tools are very helpful in managing database security. Both commercial and free tools are available, with variations on ease of use, speed of scan, and integration capabilities. Plan on running periodically to verify what you have, and locate new databases that have popped up.

Adrian Lane is an analyst/CTO with Securosis LLC, an independent security consulting practice. Special to Dark Reading. Adrian Lane is a Security Strategist and brings over 25 years of industry experience to the Securosis team, much of it at the executive level. Adrian specializes in database security, data security, and secure software development. With experience at Ingres, Oracle, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
6 Small-Business Password Managers
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  11/8/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18986
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Pimcore before 6.2.2 allow attackers to brute-force (guess) valid usernames by using the 'forgot password' functionality as it returns distinct messages for invalid password and non-existing users.
CVE-2019-18981
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Pimcore before 6.2.2 lacks an Access Denied outcome for a certain scenario of an incorrect recipient ID of a notification.
CVE-2019-18982
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
bundles/AdminBundle/Controller/Admin/EmailController.php in Pimcore before 6.3.0 allows script execution in the Email Log preview window because of the lack of a Content-Security-Policy header.
CVE-2019-18985
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Pimcore before 6.2.2 lacks brute force protection for the 2FA token.
CVE-2019-18928
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Cyrus IMAP 2.5.x before 2.5.14 and 3.x before 3.0.12 allows privilege escalation because an HTTP request may be interpreted in the authentication context of an unrelated previous request that arrived over the same connection.