DB Networks Looks to Detect SQL Injection With New Appliance

The new Linux-powered appliance aims to limit the risk for SQL injection attacks.

Year after year, in study after study, SQL injection is identified as a leading cause of data breaches and a top security vulnerability. There are a lot of vendors trying to help solve the problem, one of them being DB Networks, which announced a new security appliance this week designed to help detect the scourge that is SQL injection.

DB Networks was founded in 2009 and has raised $7 million in funding to date, Steve Hunt, president and chief operating officer of DB Networks, told eWEEK. This week, the company is officially launching its new core intrusion detection system (IDS), the IDS-6300 hardware appliance. The IDS-6300 is a continuous monitoring device for SQL injection detection, according to Hunt. In a SQL injection attack, the attacker injects bad input into a database SQL statement in an effort to gain unauthorized access to the data.

Hunt noted that one of the common ways that organizations try to defend against SQL injection is with a Web application firewall (WAF). However, Hunt said, attackers today can hide their attacks in ways that can get around a WAF, which is why the IDS-6300 takes a behavioral approach in contrast with the signature-based approach typically employed on a WAF.

The IDS-6300 connects into the network via a Test Access Port (TAP) or Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) port inside of an organization's existing network switching infrastructure. By using TAP or SPAN, the IDS-6300 is seeing a copy of the data traffic that is generated between the application server and the database server. As such, the IDS-6300 sits out-of-band on a network and does not impact the performance of the network or the database.

"We're modeling the behavior of the application traffic and then using advanced SQL injection behavioral analysis to detect attacks," Hunt said. "We're really looking for the difference between normal behavior and the abnormal behavior."

DB Networks' technology also does a deep analysis of the SQL statements that are sent to the database and monitors how they can change over time.

"We can see how one statement is generated as a variant of another SQL statement," Hunt explained. "So when you're looking for threats, you can see how statements morph over time and where the threats exist."


Currently, the IDS-6300 solution works with Oracle Database as well as Microsoft SQL Server databases. Michael Sabo, vice president of marketing at DB Networks, told eWEEK that there is a road map to add additional databases to the mix, with the next one being Oracle's open-source MySQL database.

From a bare metal perspective, the IDS-6300 runs on top of a Linux operating system and is a 2 Rack Unit (19 inches wide by 28 inches deep) appliance. The appliance includes four Gigabit Ethernet capture ports and can have up to 2TB of archival storage capacity.

Blocking SQL Injection

While the IDS-6300 can detect SQL injection attacks, the system does not currently automatically block attacks.

"One issue we found is that customers don't like blocking; they don't want to be blocking at the database tier because it can have some side effects from not tearing down the session properly," Sabo said. "A future feature in this product is a way to communicate forward to whatever perimeter device an organization has, to block the session at the Web tier."

Today, after an organization sees an attack, it can manually take the information provided by the IDS-6300 and use it to create a signature for a perimeter device like a firewall, Sabo said.

The system can also send data back into an enterprise Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system to do further correlation and analysis as well as alert notification, according to Hunt.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.