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Defend against the SQL injection tool Havij, other SQL injection tools

Expert Nick Lewis discusses the dangers of the SQL injection tool Havij and provides tips to protect the enterprise against other SQL injection tools.

My organization has recently been dealing with a spate of SQL injection attacks and I read about Havij, apparently one of the most popular tools available to hackers for delivering these attacks. Can you suggest some methods for dealing with Havij? Is there anything that makes this specific tool stand out above others for hackers?

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The SQL injection tool Havij stands outs from other SQL injection (SQLi) tools like SQL Ninja or SQL map because of its comprehensive features. Some Web application security scanners include functionality to check for SQLi, but Havij is much more thorough on this front. There are other SQL injection tools available that have evolved over time to include more functionality and improved ease of use, even offering GUIs. Many pen testers and attackers craft tools to look for specific attack vectors that they have discovered to be the most effective.

Some database firewalls can protect against SQL injection, which could help enterprises defend against Havij attacks on the database level.  You might be able to detect a remote host that is using Havij to scan for SQL injection and then block the host before it is able to compromise the security of the system. Havij could be blocked by a web application firewall, but it also has capabilities to bypass certain WAFs or IDSs.

While Havij might be responsible for certain SQL injection attacks, there are other SQL injection tools, including Web application security scanners and manual testing, that will also cause issues for enterprises only focused on defending against a specific tool like Havij. So even if an enterprise can block attacks from Havij, it may not be able to block all SQL injection attacks.  Following the guidance from OWASP via its SQL Injection Cheat Sheet is the best place to start when putting mitigations in place to protect against Havij and other SQL injection tool attacks.

This was first published in September 2012

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