Feeds

Databases still open to basic attack

Firewall free

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

With the constant wailing about security breaches on the Web it's hard to believe there are still folk who do not take it seriously. But database security specialist NGS Software reckons there could be close to half a million databases out there with no firewall protection at all.

An NGS survey this week estimates 368,000 Microsoft SQL Server and 124,000 Oracle databases are vulnerable to various levels of attack.

The survey used software to randomly sample 1.16 million IP addresses and test whether there were "directly accessible" - or unprotected - database servers present. If it found one, it checked the type and version and recorded the data. The survey found 157 SQL Servers and 53 Oracle servers. The final figures were arrived at through a process of extrapolation based on the total number of IP addresses (2.71 billion).

Survey author David Litchfield acknowledges that the approach may not be accurate - but reckons that it is "accurate enough."

The results of this year's survey are compared with a similar survey in 2005. But it used a different sampling approach so it is difficult draw any real conclusions.

At face value, the number of "at risk" Microsoft SQL Servers has increased - from 210,000 in 2005, while the number of vulnerable Oracle servers has decreased from 140,000. This suggests SQL Server users are becoming more lax about security and Oracle users are showing some signs of improvement.

Other observations? One is that SQL Server users tend to wait for service pack (SP) fixes rather than use "hot" fixes to patch their systems. Only eight out of 129 showed evidence of interim fixes with the rest on RTM or versions of SP 3 to 4.

Another interesting revelation was that those running vulnerable versions of Oracle were evenly divided between Windows and Linux/Solaris - suggesting Windows installations are no worse at security than those using other operating systems.

Despite the apparent risks highlighted by NGS, a majority of companies are supposedly happy about their level of protection. A database security survey - sponsored by Application Security, conducted by Ponemon published in June - found 68 per cent of respondents feel, overall, they are managing their database security effectively. Just 15 per cent saw upgrading database security as a priority.®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, watchdog claims
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.