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Data Worms

September 20, 2012
The FLAME malware

Are we going to see more and more targeted cyberwarfare attacks in corporations? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Effective data administration include backups. I would argue this is the most important part of managing your data since no matter what happens, backups give you the ability to recover your system. Whether it’s an accidental data modification by a user, a hardware failure, a natural disaster or some other event, having a copy of your data (or log) on some other system or media can be the difference between getting back to work and having to go find other work.

For the most part we’ve been concerned over disasters that are random, and while they may be destructive, their effect is usually limited in scope. SQL injection attacks often affect a single system, and with a good backup, you can usually recover your data quickly. However that may be changing as the world grows closer together.

The Shamoon malware has been causing problems lately and making companies rethink their incident response. The worm has wiped workstations and destroyed data. Destructive software is nothing new, but as more and more cyber warfare takes places at the government level, it’s likely that retaliation might target civilian targets, especially successful companies. I’d hate to think that destructive malware might target databases, but I’m sure it will. The SQL Slammer worm was a complete disruption of our database services for days at JD Edwards almost a decade ago, but it could have been much worse if that malware had been written to be destructive.

We don’t have default names and passwords in SQL Server, but we should make sure all accounts have strong passwords. There’s also some value in not configuring all systems identically. It makes management easier, but it also makes a successful attack that much more successful.

Steve Jones


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