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Following frequent assessments in our IT firm and administering questionnaires from fellow colleagues, database security has proved a major challenge in our organization. Database technology has offered means to which people can share information and store the data in centralized locations. This has provided a target to which unauthorized people can gain access to the database. The survey covers five main principal threats to database security and possible policies implemented to prevent them.
The purpose of database security is to help the Information Communication Technology ICT departments and administrators in addressing the issues that face them as they ensure that information stored in the database receives utmost protection. The steps put in place should ensure protected access to the contents in the database as well as preserve security, integrity, consistency, and overall quality of data (Defense Information Systems Agency, 2004).
Following the increased numbers of reported incidents evidenced by leaked personal details and exposure of sensitive information to the wrong hands, there has been the occurrence of an alarming concern of database security. Users in most database systems argue that threats to database security are as a result of:
Excessive privilege abuse
It occurs where users or applications are granted database privileges exceeding the requirements of their job function and are used for malicious purposes. This is caused by database administrator not being able to clearly define access privileges of each user. The solution to this problem is to institute a mechanism that restricts database privileges. The query level access control detects excessive use of privileges by the employees. (P.K.Singh, 2009)
In order for users to access the database they need to first identify themselves to the system which in turns verifies their identity. Weak authentication makes a database prone to attackers who assume the identity of the database by obtaining login credentials and accessing vital information. Methods put to place for strong authentication system involve use of usernames, secret passwords and use of smart cards.(P.K.Singh, 2009)
This is the granting of privileges to users enabling them to use certain portions of the database. Users tend to access into views of the database to which they are not permitted to, each user performs different roles and therefore views must be used to permit each person to view a part of the database pertinent to their job. Privacy, correctness and confidentiality of data is enforced by user being administered their own view.
Weak Audit Trails
An audit trail is a database log that is used for security purposes. It records and monitors actions of a user in the database. A weak audit trail is brought about by users lacking accountability. Users visit databases via web applications leaving their track records on the web applications and not the database itself. Therefore, when audit logs show fraud has taken place in the organization there is no link to the intruder. Strong audit mechanisms are instituted to provide links to the intruders in the database and enable future accountability for current actions taken by employees. Suspicion of malicious activity in the records of the database is detected much faster ensuring consistency of data within the records. (P.K.Singh, 2009)
This is the process of using cipher text instead of plain text in the encoding of data. Use of plain words by users leads to their information falling prey to hands of crackers and hackers who use the information available to them to satisfy themselves. Cipher text is implemented as control mechanisms in writing of passwords and information thereby hackers who get the information do not make sense of the data.