Data is the backbone of any organization, and one of its most important assets, so security is a crucial part of any database system.
Data has become one of the most valuable assets an organization has and as such, databases with sensitive information are targeted for malicious purposes. The main danger to databases was external malicious actors, but internal data breaches are on the increase and this has become a critical security issue. An insider attack has the potential to be more damaging than one from an external source, with access to privileges that allows them to compromise database information.
Ensuring your MySQL database is secure to avoid data breach and potential data theft might seem impossible but there are ways to increase security levels to make sure it is as secure as possible.
What is MySQL and why it is used?
MySQL is a database management system, which is based on Structured Query Language (SQL).
Databases are used in the backend of websites, handing the site information so that it is easily accessed on the frontend by the user. A database is responsible for storing and manipulating data needed to keep a business operating and competitive in the target market.
MySQL is one of the most commonly used and popular database platforms in the world, used for the purpose of powering ecommerce and web applications. MySQL databases can store anything from sensitive data relating to customers or employees, internal processes, to vast inventories of products for online stores.
It’s critically important therefore a business considers the security of their database. The idea is to provide protection in layers, with each successive layer being more reliable than the last. This means protecting the system at the host level, the application level, the operating system level, and so on. Each level requires a unique security measure.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps a MySQL database administrator should take to ensure the security of their databases.
1. Encryption connections
MySQL connections are not encrypted by default, which means they are open to attack. By enforcing encryption you protect your data and keep it safe, as even if an attack is successful, the encrypted data is unable to be accessed without the decryption keys.
2. Set connection error limits
When the server receives multiple unsuccessful attempts to connect, this might indicate an issue with unauthorized users trying to access the database. Allow for a reasonable number of incorrect attempts.
3. Disable Show databases command
This command can be exploited by hackers to gather information and removing or limiting this command will improve security posture immensely.
4. Change default port num
By default, MySQL runs on port 3306. Default ports are used in brute force attacks, as they are commonly used, so changing this default port number can improve security. Attackers will have to manually try different port number variations, discouraging the attempt to hack into the system.
5. Control database access
Minimize the number of people who are able to access your database server. Give groups or roles different levels of permissions that are suitable for their job function, then only give the necessary privileges to those members who need them.
6. Audit and monitor activity
Real time monitoring can help identify any security issues or potential problems. By monitoring, you can highlight any compromised accounts or suspicious activity that might be occurring. Regularly checking logs will show instances of someone logging in who would not normally be able to do so, perhaps because they hacked the system.
7. Disable LOAD DATA LOCAL INFILE Command
This command allows users to read local files and access other files on the operating system. This can be exploited by cyber attackers using SQL injection methods. The command should be disabled to increase security.
8. Remove anonymous accounts
Consider deleting the anonymous users that are created by MySQL after installation. Because these accounts don’t usually serve any function, attackers can use them to gain access to your database.
9. Allow access to permitted hosts only
If you want to set up a standalone MySQL server (application and web servers query the database from another server), it should only be accessible by other servers on your network.
10. Remove MySQL history file
The MySQL history file is created by default during installation, and should be deleted. It contains historical details about installation and configuration which potential can result in the exposure of passwords.
11. Create regular backups of database
In the event your database is compromised, whether due to a cyber event or data corruption, it’s vital to regularly create backups. This means sensitive data isn’t lost, and is even more secure if the data backup is encrypted.
Businesses today can’t afford to have their data accessed or exposed to threats, and inappropriate security measures can see your organization become the latest data breach victim. To avoid the financial loss and reputational damage this entails, speak to the Everconnect team about their database security services and know your database is safe.