What is code injection?

Code injection allows unwanted code to be introduced and executed due to vulnerabilities in computer programs or web applications. This becomes possible, for example, if user input is not sufficiently validated and passed to the interpreter.

Common examples of code injection into the web environment are cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection.

Code injection are vulnerabilities that allow the execution of unwanted code due to a lack of input validation.

Code injection is the name given to the exploitation of vulnerabilities in computer programs or web applications that allow the introduction and execution of unintended or unwanted program code. Executing unwanted code can have serious consequences, such as introducing malware, stealing information, or manipulating data and applications.

An attacker can take complete control of systems such as web servers. In the field of Internet applications, code injection is one of the most popular and frequently used attack methods. To successfully penetrate the program code, the attacked applications must have vulnerabilities that, for example, do not allow adequate verification of user input and allow this data to be transmitted to the interpreter.

Common examples of unwanted code injection into a web environment are cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, XPath injection, email injection, XML injection, or LDAP injection.

Possible consequences of code injection

Depending on the type of injection and the application being attacked, code injection can have very far-reaching consequences. Possible consequences:

- Unauthorized reading of confidential data

- Tampering or deleting stored data

- Performing unwanted program functions

- Providing extended user rights in the system

- Providing malware

- Capture entire computers

- Denial of service

Common examples of unwanted code injection

Code injection is a general term that refers to many different ways of introducing unintended or unwanted code into applications. Common types are SQL injection and cross-site scripting. Using SQL injection, an attacker is able to send SQL database commands, for example through a text input field, to a web application running a SQL database.

These commands are then executed on the database and can be used to read, change or delete data. Database administration operations can be performed. PHP applications often used in web environments whose data is stored in SQL databases, such as content management systems (CMS), are vulnerable to SQL injection.

Cross-site scripting, abbreviated as XSS, allows unwanted scripts to be executed on trusted websites. These scripts can be used to steal sensitive information or compromise cookies and session tokens. Other examples of code injection are XPath injection, email injection, XML injection, or LDAP injection.

Code injection protection

Typically, code injection may involve a vulnerability that does not adequately validate the input data or processes it in a dangerous manner. The most important protective measure is validation of input data. Data entered must be limited to allowed characters, allowed formats, and allowed input quantities.

A common practice is to whitelist allowed entries. In addition, it should be possible to transfer the received data only to those interpreter functions that are really needed. To check computer programs and web applications for code injection vulnerabilities, scanners are used to check the application's code or interactive input capabilities in a systematic and structured manner for unauthorized code injection.

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