Feeds

Database security via event stream processing

Peace of mind

Business security measures using SSL

I wrote recently about the potential for using event stream processing (or complex event processing) for database security. This is precisely what Symantec will be offering later this summer (the exact date has yet to be announced).

Moreover, this database security product, which will also provide auditing capability, will be delivered as an appliance.

Let me first deal with the appliance part of this equation. What this means is that Symantec will deliver a combined hardware and software product, with the latter having been pre-installed and pre-configured so that there are no set-up issues: you simply plug it in and go.

You plug it into the network, where it monitors all traffic that goes into and out of the database. For the first few days after installation it will not apparently do much. This is because it is monitoring the behaviour of the various users that access the database and building up patterns of activity that it can recognise. Once it has done so it can report on any anomalies that may occur, ranging from authorised users doing odd things (according to the US Secret Service, 78 per cent of all fraud is conducted by authorised users) to SQL injection and Application Server hacks.

This last is particularly important because CRM, ERP and other such applications have global access to the database so hacking the Application Server is an easy way to break into the system.

Another important capability is what Symantec refers to as extrusion detection. That is, when anomalous data is leaving the database (as opposed to people getting into it). As an example, the company suggests setting up one or more dummy records in the database. There is no good reason why anyone should access these and, therefore, anyone who does so may be doing so for nefarious purposes.

All alerts and reporting is done in real-time, as is the monitoring of traffic entering and leaving the database, which is where the event streaming aspect of the product is relevant. By contrast, the traditional way to provide this sort of information (which includes conventional auditing: who did what and when) is to use database log files. However, full database logging is normally turned off because it can kill performance and, in any case, database logs are not easy to read. At best, they are only useful for post-fact analysis.

As with other event streaming products you can define filters - so you can tell the appliance that you are not interested in certain data and, similarly, you can define policy rules to be applied to incoming or outgoing information with respect to what you are interested in.

As far as I can see, and bearing in mind that this will be a first release of a product that will no doubt add capabilities as time goes by, the only drawback to the appliance is that it uses proprietary storage mechanisms.

While efficient from a storage and administrative perspective, this has a downside when it comes to analysis of the collected data.

There are built-in query and reporting capabilities, but if you wanted to apply a business intelligence or data mining tool to the collected data for more detailed analysis, you would have to export the data to an external (ODBC compliant) data mart. However, this seems a relatively small price to pay for the peace of mind that this product should bring.

Copyright © 2006, IT-Analysis.com

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.