We’re all familiar with network firewalls, which prevent unauthorized access to your network from external sources. However, network firewalls don’t protect your databases from malicious attacks, which sometimes come disguised as privileged internal users. Web applications are a major source of data attacks, through stratagems such as SQL Injection, for example.
Oracle’s Database Firewall (a product Oracle gained through its acquisition of Secerno, a British firm, in 2010) offers a solid defensive perimeter to monitor and enforce accepted behavior on part of the applications. Web applications are notoriously hard to sanitize and harden against data attacks – the database firewall, on the other hand, can easily help protect you against SQL Injection, which, by the way, is a common web application based data attack that’s experienced by over 45% of companies that let users access their web applications on the internet.
Oracle Database Firewall is software that monitors SQL statements headed towards the database and applies security policies to those statements. These security policies could be based on white lists, black lists or exception lists. A white list specifies approved SQL statements, a black list contains all unapproved SQL statements and an exception list contains exceptions that override a white list or a black list policy. Using advanced “SQL grammar analysis”, the security policies, based on SQL type, time of day, user, IP address and other variables, scan all prospective SQL statements, allowing only safe code to run in the database.
Best of all, from the point of view of organizations dealing with mandates such as Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI-DSS and HIPAA, it is very easy to generate custom reports with the Database Firewall product, to help in your compliance efforts. You can deploy multiple database firewalls for availability and use the Oracle Database Firewall Management Server to manage security policies, consolidate data and generate reports for the multiple firewalls you install. All in all, the Oracle Database Firewall is a very solid product that all security administrators, CISO’s and CIOs must take a close look at, if they are in the business of trying to provided fool proof data security. By the way, Oracle Database Firewall can protect data not just in an Oracle database, but in all other databases such as DB2, SQL Server, etc.