| Any application providing too much information in error logs and in administrative messages to the screen risks compromising the data and security of the application and system. The structure and content of error messages needs to be carefully considered by the organization and development team.
The extent to which the application is able to identify and handle error conditions is guided by organizational policy and operational requirements. Sensitive information includes account numbers, social security numbers, and credit card numbers.
Databases can inadvertently provide a wealth of information to an attacker through improperly handled error messages. In addition to sensitive business or personal information, database errors can provide host names, IP addresses, user names, and other system information not required for troubleshooting but very useful to someone targeting the system.
This calls for inspection of application source code, which will require collaboration with the application developers. It is recognized that in many cases, the database administrator (DBA) is organizationally separate from the application developers and may have limited, if any, access to source code. Nevertheless, protections of this type are so important to the secure operation of databases that they must not be ignored. At a minimum, the DBA must attempt to obtain assurances from the development organization that this issue has been addressed and must document what has been discovered. |