Database Security Using White-Hat Google Hacking

Security and Database Administration
Location: Ballroom B Level: Intermediate
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)

Session Outline:

What is Google Hacking?

  • How to do it
  • How to use/automate it without violating Google’s TOS

SQL Injection

  • search for inurl: “page” or “id” (i.e., knowledge bases, blog software, bug tracking software) or forms on a page
  • very manual process, but with metadata knowledge of DBs, very effective
  • validate/scrub input, only allow needed characters (i.e., cast page or id as int in code before using in SQL query)
  • use prepared statements when possible

Cross-Site Request Forgery

  • unlike SQL injection, CSRF uses completely valid requests
  • search for inurl: “delete”
  • can make harder with POST instead of GET
  • can avoid with referer checking (hackable) or validation tokens (for site and for permission—do not think “if they got to this page they can execute the code”—re-validate if necessary)

Cross-Site Scripting

  • search for a FORM TEXTAREA or such, and try to inject code (a malicious hacker likely wouldn’t use this approach, but Google search is likely better at finding everything on your site(s) than a person)
  • validate/scrub input (disallow < and > )
  • use prepared statements when possible

3rd Party Code & Gateway (Including App/Web Server) Vulnerabilities

  • search for “powered by”
  • search for common paths (“/wp-admin”)
  • search for inurl:port (i.e., 8987 = sawmill)
  • open source makes these more known; double-edged sword

Social Engineering

  • use Google to find out information, then use it against someone
  • a login or cookie may not be enough

Minimize Impact

  • you will be hacked
  • the gateway needs DB passwords to be an effective gateway, but if the gateway is hacked the DB password is easily attainable, your database’s security has been breached
  • defense in depth


  • Google Search for sql injection vulnerability advisory security announcement, i.e., “wordpress sql injection vulnerability advisory security announcement”
  • Get on security mailing lists for all 3rd party software
  • Check out previous vulnerabilities and make sure they don’t work; automate for regression testing


  • Audit your databases
  • Assume nothing (i.e., if apache is hacked, don’t assume it’s because it’s an old version of apache, it may be 3rd party software that gives a webserver exploit)
  • How to find where a known breach occurred
  • How to find breaches you did not know about, i.e., Tech_Segment:_Google_Queries_To_Run_Against_Your_Own_Domain


  • sqlmap, absinthe, bsqlbf 1.1, SQLBrute, sqlget, SQLiX, SQL Power Injector, Priamos: schema mappers/data grabbers using automated [some blind] SQL injection
  • pixy: detection of SQL injection and XSS vulnerabilities in PHP source code
  • Wapiti, w3af: Black-box testing for web applications
  • SPIKE Proxy (http and https), Wfuzz, Sandcat, XSS Shell, Odysseus: for white-hat hacking
  • FG-Injector Framework, BobCat, JBroFuzz: find SQL injection vulnerabilities
  • SQL Injection Cheatsheet:
Photo of Sheeri K. Cabral

Sheeri K. Cabral

Mozilla Foundation

Sheeri K. Cabral has a master’s degree in computer science specializing in databases from Brandeis University. She has background as a systems administrator; has worked with Oracle, Sybase, DB2, Solaris, RedHat/Fedora, AIX, and HP-UX. Unstoppable as a volunteer and activist since age 14, Cabral founded and organizes the Boston, Massachusetts, USA, MySQL User group, and wrote the MySQL Administrator’s Bible ( She currently works for PalominoDB, a remote database management company

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