Database security involves safeguarding the information stored within databases from attacks, theft and corruption. It encompasses various security protocols designed to provide protection from these risks.
Effective database security practices involve employing strong encryption, access control and authentication measures (verifying that users are who they say they are), patch management to address new vulnerabilities as quickly as possible and reduce criminal risk exposure.
Encryption helps secure digital data by transforming its original form, known as plaintext, into unreadable ciphertext format. Decryption requires using a secret key to unscramble information back into its original state – an essential step in protecting information on computers systems or networks such as the internet.
Database encryption is often considered an integral component of data security policies to meet compliance standards such as HIPAA, PCI DSS and GDPR. Furthermore, encryption prevents unauthorised users from gaining access to sensitive or confidential information.
There are multiple methods available for securing databases, from API calls and plugins to Transparent Data Encryption. TDE allows a database to encrypt its indexes and log files while in rest mode without an extra security layer – transparent to both applications and database engines alike. Furthermore, TDE technology can also be used for transient encryption: protecting communications channels between applications and databases while travelling across either private or public networks.
2. Access Control
Databases are the crown jewels of every business. From protecting military secrets to scripts for hit TV shows, security measures must be put in place to protect information that should remain private from theft, destruction, exposure or use by unapproved parties. Access control is an integral component of any database security system.
Access control best practices suggest restricting the number of users, applications and APIs with direct access to databases to reduce the likelihood of any single breach compromising an entire database.
Access control measures consist primarily of authentication and authorization. Authentication involves verifying someone is who they claim they are, while authorization determines if access should be granted to someone or not. Both forms of protection are essential in protecting databases; the more layers a database has the more secure it will become.
Hardening refers to the technical components of database security that involve making parts of its ecosystem more resistant to attack, through measures like:
Databases should be configured so they operate under an account other than that of their owner, to reduce privilege escalation vulnerabilities and optimize queries requiring significant resources (or being potentially dangerous) for batch processing instead of real time to avoid competing with other services for database resources.
Physical security measures such as locking down a server room and restricting access to equipment only to IT staff and database administrators may help prevent an attack exploiting physical vulnerabilities, but for optimal cybersecurity robust detective controls such as intrusion detection system (IDS) monitoring/logging as well as preventative controls like those listed above must also be implemented in addition to preventative ones like those discussed here.
Example: Database administrator accounts should have only the minimum privileges necessary for performing certain tasks and should only be granted temporarily. Larger organizations often utilize Privileged Access Management (PAM) software to generate temporary passwords, log activities and prevent sharing of credentials – helping reduce risks such as SQL injection attacks (where hackers inject malicious code into Structured Query Language statements) and blind SQL injections.
Firewalls that monitor database traffic for suspicious activity can help protect data against unauthoritarian access and the most frequent attacks like brute force (systematically trying out numerous combinations of letters and numbers), dictionary attacks and password spraying attacks.
Physical threats could include infiltrators entering your server room or data center physically or malware infiltrating it and providing attackers with remote access. To reduce such risks, the database server should be kept apart from other servers within its facility and only IT personnel and database administrators should have access.