Sql Injection Detection

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Typical examples of cases when an application needs to talk to a DB include:

  1. Authentication forms: when authentication is performed using a web form, chances are that the user credentials are checked against a database that contains all usernames and passwords (or, better, password hashes).
  2. Search engines: the string submitted by the user could be used in a SQL query that extracts all relevant records from a database.
  3. E-Commerce sites: the products and their characteristics (price, description, availability, etc) are very likely to be stored in a database.


  1. The tester has to make a list of all input fields whose values could be used in crafting a SQL query
  2. Including the hidden fields of POST requests and then test them separately, trying to interfere with the query and to generate an error. Consider also HTTP headers and Cookies.
  3. The very first test usually consists of adding a single quote (‘) or a semicolon (;) to the field or parameter under test.

Suppose we insert the following Username and Password values:

$username = 1' or '1' = '1
$password = 1' or '1' = '1

The query will be:

SELECT * FROM Users WHERE Username='1' OR '1' = '1' AND Password='1' OR '1' = '1' 

If we suppose that the values of the parameters are sent to the server through the GET method, and if the domain of the vulnerable web site is www.example.com, the request that we’ll carry out will be:


After a short analysis we notice that the query returns a value (or a set of values) because the condition is always true (OR 1=1). In this way the system has authenticated the user without knowing the username and password.

In some systems the first row of a user table would be an administrator user. This may be the profile returned in some cases. Another example of query is the following:

SELECT * FROM Users WHERE ((Username='$username') AND (Password=MD5('$password'))) 

In this case, there are two problems, one due to the use of the parentheses and one due to the use of MD5 hash function. First of all, we resolve the problem of the parentheses. That simply consists of adding a number of closing parentheses until we obtain a corrected query. To resolve the second problem, we try to evade the second condition. We add to our query a final symbol that means that a comment is beginning. In this way, everything that follows such symbol is considered a comment. Every DBMS has its own syntax for comments, however, a common symbol to the greater majority of the databases is /*. In Oracle the symbol is “–“. This said, the values that we’ll use as Username and Password are:

$username = 1' or '1' = '1'))/*
$password = foo

In this way, we’ll get the following query:

SELECT * FROM Users WHERE ((Username='1' or '1' = '1'))/*') AND (Password=MD5('$password'))) 

(Due to the inclusion of a comment delimiter in the $username value the password portion of the query will be ignored.)

The URL request will be:


This may return a number of values. 

Sometimes, the authentication code verifies that the number of returned records/results is exactly equal to 1. In the previous examples, this situation would be difficult (in the database there is only one value per user). In order to go around this problem, it is enough to insert a SQL command that imposes a condition that the number of the returned results must be one. (One record returned) In order to reach this goal, we use the operator “LIMIT <num>”, where <num> is the number of the results/records that we want to be returned. With respect to the previous example, the value of the fields Username and Password will be modified as follows:

$username = 1' or '1' = '1')) LIMIT 1/* 
$password = foo 

In this way, we create a request like the follow:


Example 2 (simple SELECT statement):

Consider the following SQL query:

SELECT * FROM products WHERE id_product=$id_product

Consider also the request to a script who executes the query above:


When the tester tries a valid value (e.g. 10 in this case), the application will return the description of a product. A good way to test if the application is vulnerable in this scenario is play with logic, using the operators AND and OR.

Consider the request:

http://www.example.com/product.php?id=10 AND 1=2
SELECT * FROM products WHERE id_product=10 AND 1=2

In this case, probably the application would return some message telling us there is no content available or a blank page. Then the tester can send a true statement and check if there is a valid result:

http://www.example.com/product.php?id=10 AND 1=1

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