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The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws, 2nd Edition by Marcus Pinto, Dafydd Stuttard

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CHAPTER 9

Attacking Data Stores

Nearly all applications rely on a data store to manage data that is processed within the application. In many cases this data drives the core application logic, holding user accounts, permissions, application configuration settings, and more. Data stores have evolved to become significantly more than passive containers for data. Most hold data in a structured format, accessed using a predefined query format or language, and contain internal logic to help manage that data.

Typically, applications use a common privilege level for all types of access to the data store and when processing data belonging to different application users. If an attacker can interfere with the application's interaction with the data store, to make it retrieve or modify different data, he can usually bypass any controls over data access that are imposed at the application layer.

The principle just described can be applied to any kind of data store technology. Because this is a practical handbook, we will focus on the knowledge and techniques you need to exploit the vulnerabilities that exist in real-world applications. By far the most common data stores are SQL databases, XML-based repositories, and LDAP directories. Practical examples seen elsewhere are also covered.

In covering these key examples, we will describe the practical steps that you can take to identify and exploit these defects. There is a conceptual synergy in the process of understanding each new type of injection. ...

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