Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Jonathan Fries

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Security Series | SQL Injection and SaaS

Avoiding Common Security Attacks In SaaS Applications

Security #1 Concern for Cloud Adoption
An analysis of several CIO Surveys about cloud adoption reveals two things:

  1. There is a growing adoption of cloud computing
  2. But Security Concerns remains on top of CIO's minds

So either as a SaaS provider or a IT services provider who develops applications on PaaS platform, we should address the security concerns,  and this series of  article aims at  addressing various security concerns.

This concern is aptly shown in the study,  Courtesy ‘Microsoft : The Economics Of Cloud'.

SaaS and SQL Injection
Like other web-based systems, cloud applications are prone to most of the common web attacks ranging from:

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  • Injection Flaws
  • Information Leakage and Improper Error Handling
  • Broken Authentication and Session Management
  • Failure to Restrict URL Access
  • Improper Data Validation
  • Insecure Communications
  • Malicious File Execution

While  most of these are common vulnerabilities found in web applications, a SQL Injection is one of the highest possibilities in a SaaS application.

SQL injection is a method of attack where an attacker can exploit vulnerable code and the type of data an application will accept, and can be exploited in any application parameter that influences a database query.

Examples include parameters within the url itself, post data, or cookie values. If successful, SQL Injection can give an attacker access to backend database contents, the ability to remotely execute system commands, or in some circumstances the means to take control of the server hosting the database.

SQL Injection In Multi Tenant Database Design
We have seen in some of the earlier posts about  multi tenant database design, that  storing the multi tenant database in the same table  segregated by the Tenant ID acting as a primary key is a valid design pattern.

For example if there is a Retail SaaS applications that allows multiple  retailers to host their products and sell them through the online SaaS Application, then the possible multi tenant table design for table that hosts all the orders could be.

Column Name

Description

Tenant ID

Unique ID that distinguishes each tenant

Order ID

Unique Order ID per tenant

Order Total Price

Total Price Of the Order

Order Currency

Currency  in which the order is done

.... Other Order related parameters like Customer Information, Shipping Address Etc.

 

 

If the SaaS application is prone to  SQL Injection, then it is very easy for  some one logging on behalf of  One Tenant can view the orders belonging to another Client, let us see with an example.

As explained in this simple example.

  • Front end application sends the tenant id to the database calls, so that the orders belonging to that tenant can be retrieved
  • However the dynamic SQL written simply attaches the ‘tenant Id' Supplied, and returns the results
  • This could potentially lead to a situation, where a hacker who could create a dummy tenant id' with the SaaS application can pass on random tenant ID values and could view orders belong to other tenants

Common Steps to Avoid SQL Injection
Below are some generic best practices that could be utilized by any application to avoid SQL Injection.

  • Parameterized Queries: SQL Injection arises from an attacker's manipulation of query data to modify query logic. The best method of preventing SQL Injection attacks is thereby to separate the logic of a query from its data. This will prevent commands inserted from user input from being executed.
  • Validate input: The vast majority of SQL Injection checks can be prevented by properly validating user input for both type and format.
  • Stored Procedures: Consider using stored procedures. They require a very specific parameter format, which makes them less susceptible to SQL Injection attacks.

Additional Steps for SaaS Applications
Below are some additional steps  on top of  the common steps mentioned above, which could be used to prevent SQL Injection specific to SaaS cloud application.

  • Never pass the Tenant ID as a parameter to the back end queries in a open form, which will enable hackers to guess and manipulate the same, keep the Tenant ID as a hidden or internal value from the eyes of the user.
  • Do not display the internal values of Tenant ID or the Table names involved when database errors happen, rather mask the errors with generic text
  • Validate that the Tenant ID indeed belong to the particular User who has logged on before executing the query. For example if a particular user say John Doe logged on and use the SaaS application for the Tenant A, then any queries by John Doe should only retrieve records from Tenant A and should not include other tenants , this cross reference between the users and tenants are maintained in the system and should be used in all queries.
  • Enable additional controls at the database level like Virtual Private Database feature of Oracle 11g or equivalent so that even with the Injection we cannot view the values of other tenants.

Summary
Protecting tenant specific data is the ultimate goal  of the SaaS application and  hackers can use SQL Injection among all techniques  to penetrate the same and the above mentioned  techniques will prevent the SQL Injection and make the application secure and speed up the Cloud Enablement in the minds of CIOs.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Srinivasan is passionate about ownership and driving things on his own, with his breadth and depth on Enterprise Technology he could run any aspect of IT Industry and make it a success.

He is a seasoned Enterprise IT Expert, mainly in the areas of Solution, Integration and Architecture, across Structured, Unstructured data sources, especially in manufacturing domain.

He currently works as Technology Head For GAVS Technologies.

@CloudExpo Stories
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.
Enterprise networks are complex. Moreover, they were designed and deployed to meet a specific set of business requirements at a specific point in time. But, the adoption of cloud services, new business applications and intensifying security policies, among other factors, require IT organizations to continuously deploy configuration changes. Therefore, enterprises are looking for better ways to automate the management of their networks while still leveraging existing capabilities, optimizing perf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, will discuss how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He will discuss how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors...
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
As machines are increasingly connected to the internet, it’s becoming easier to discover the numerous ways Industrial IoT (IIoT) is helping to shape the business world. This is exactly why we have decided to take a closer look at this pervasive movement and to examine the desire to connect more things! Now if you need a refresher on IIoT and how it is changing the world, take a moment and listen to Greg Gorbach with ARC Advisory Group. Gorbach believes, "IIoT will significantly change the worl...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...