Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Peter Galvin, Sanjay Zalavadia, Pat Romanski

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

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

@CloudExpo Stories
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
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, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors ...
Digital Initiatives create new ways of conducting business, which drive the need for increasingly advanced security and regulatory compliance challenges with exponentially more damaging consequences. In the BMC and Forbes Insights Survey in 2016, 97% of executives said they expect a rise in data breach attempts in the next 12 months. Sixty percent said operations and security teams have only a general understanding of each other’s requirements, resulting in a “SecOps gap” leaving organizations u...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
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...
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, a Developer Advocate with IBM Cloud Data Services, discussed...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
"SpeedyCloud's specialty lies in providing cloud services - we provide IaaS for Internet and enterprises companies," explained Hao Yu, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
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, Digital Transformation, 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 opportuni...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...