Top 7 Consequences of an SQL Injection Attack

Guest Author
You may have heard about SQL injection attacks and how they can infiltrate company websites. You may have heard of how expensive they are to remove and how companies lose money and reputation if their victimization becomes public. However, you may not fully understand what an SQL injection is and what can happen if a hacker uses this strategy to gain illegal access to the back-end of your ecommerce website. Here is a list of the top seven consequences of an SQL injection attack.

SQL Injection

1. User Data Accessed

An SQL injection attack is when a hacker creates a code and inserts it in order to override the protocols of a SQL database. These types of attacks take advantage of certain vulnerabilities that are common when the programming for these databases is created and uploaded. Hackers often can obtain a specific user data with this code and then use that user data to access other information for that user.  That means if a hacker has the user’s password than can gain access to the users address, billing history or even bank information.

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2. Unauthorized Access

In addition to user data, a hacker can use SQL injection to obtain other unauthorized information for the company or its vendors. The information hackers’ gain with this type of attack can be used to gain access to other databases or specific records that have monetary value. Selling data is a common way for hackers to make money.

3. Modify Databases

Sometimes the goal of a hacker isn’t to gain information, but to change the information that exists in the database. This can be simply to wreak havoc on the company who owns the website or to set up a reason for users to go in and modify the information in the database so the hacker to gather new information.

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4. Control Databases

When SQL code is injected into a database, the hacker may be able to gain control of the database and alter or add specific commands. This will allow the malicious user to change certain back-end protocols or change the information that appears on specific web pages. This can be one step in a more elaborate scheme on the part of the hacker to damage not just the company but the users who access the website as well.

SQL Injection Attack

5. Continued Access

If the breach isn’t discovered, the hacker has an all access pass into your company website. They make several visits, each one with a different goal in mind, until they are either discovered or they have done as much damage as they desire and move on to more interesting prey.

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6. Delete Data

Sometimes people who gain illegal access into a website want to delete information instead of modify it. This can be malicious or to remove codes that restrict access to other areas of the site. They may even decide to delete the entire database and cause untold amounts of trouble for the company.

7.  Remove Significant Data

While some attacks have to achieve goals in small instances over time, some SQL injection attacks are so devastating they can remove huge chunks of data in a short amount of time. The attack on Yahoo, known as a Union Based SQL attack, was able to remove 450,000 user names and passwords in a short period. The damage caused in this attack was devastating to the company’s reputation as well as to the user’s whose information was accessed.

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It is important to understand SQL injection attacks and the damage they can cause for your website if specific vulnerabilities are leveraged by a hacker. You need to create security measures to protect and monitor your website for potential attacks by malicious users.

Author Bio: 

Fergal Glynn is the Director of Product Marketing at, an award-winning application security company specializing in secure SDLC and other security breaches with effective risk assessment tools.

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