Imperva: 71 SQL Injection Attacks Per Hour Since July

On Thursday the Justice Department confirmed that the FBI arrested two alleged members of LulzSec and Anonymous in San Francisco and Phoenix while also securing charges against a third suspect from Ohio. The FBI was also said to be executing search warrants in New Jersey, Minnesota and Montana.

According to reports, 23-year-old Cody "recursion" Kretsinger from Phoenix, Arizona is believed to be a current or former member of LulzSec and has been charged with conspiracy and the unauthorized impairment of a protected computer.

Additionally, 47-year-old Christopher Doyon of Mountain View, California, believed to be part of Anonymous, has been charged with conspiracy to cause intentional damage to a protected computer, causing intentional damage to a protected computer and aiding and abetting. 26-year-old Joshua Covelli of Fairborn, Ohio also faces the same charges.

As reported earlier, LulzSec and Anonymous use a hacking technique called SQL injection (SQLi) to breach systems. Thursday Imperva pointed to a recent report (PDF) stating that, since July, web applications are attacked by using SQL injection an average of 71 times per hour. Even more, specific applications were occasionally under aggressive attacks and at their peak, were attacked 800 to 1300 times per hour.

"SQL injection is the most pernicious vulnerability in human computer history," Imperva said in a blog earlier this week. "From 2005 through today, SQL injection has been responsible for 83-percent of successful hacking-related data breaches. Using data from, we checked the data breaches from 2005 to today. There were 312,437,487 data records lost due to hacking with about 262 million records from various breaches including TJMax, RockYou and Heartland, all of which were SQL injection attacks."

According to the report, hackers are using new SQLi attack variants which allow the evasion of simple signature-based defense mechanisms. Hackers are also using readily-available automated hacking tools like Sqlmap and Havij. To execute their attack, hackers hide behind a distributed network of compromised hosts, or "zombies," that are used in an interchangeable manner in order to defeat black-listing defense mechanisms. Nearly 41-percent of all SQLi attacks originate from just ten hosts.

To combat these attacks, Imperva suggests that companies use a combination of application layer knowledge (application profile) and a pre-configured database of attack vector formats. They also need to identify the access patterns of automated tools, and create and deploy a blacklist of hosts that have initiated SQLi attacks.

The report goes on to reveal that 58-percent of the SQLi attacks occurring since July have originated here in the States. Sweden trails way behind with 11-percent, followed by China (8-percent), Great Britain (6-percent) and Vietnam (3-percent). The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Ecuador, the European Union and Germany are also on the list. Imperva also shows an "Other" listing which executed another 6-percent of the attacks since July.

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