10 Critical Web Injection Attacks in 2024 (Risks & Mitigation)

Since you are in the industry, especially in the network and admin team, you need to know a few vulnerabilities, such as injection attacks to stay alert from them.

Each attack or vulnerability has a different method, most importantly injection-type attacks.

To understand that and to take a precaution for that, you need to know about them. Here you can also learn about XXE attacks, RFI, and LFI attacks.

Before we discuss the popular injection attack types, let us discuss what injection attacks are.

The term injection can depict the way of the attack.

How injection passes liquid medicine inside the body similarly, these attackers also give some content to fetch the information.

This injection comes mainly from malicious attackers who ensure you get a significant loss in your business.

Through the injection Attacks, the attacker can input different types of programs.

These inputs get interpreted so that the processor considers it as commands and executes them, which generates the wrong result.

After this, data will get crashed, and an attacker will get all your business’s confidential data.

Only most of the attackers use injection attack types because it is the oldest method.

Injection attacks is one of the significant problems, and they rank as the first vulnerability application.

There are strong reasons behind it. Injection attacks are very dangerous.

Injection attacks get used for the application and get used to steal confidential and private information or even hijack the entire server, so only they are a threat to the web application industry.

What is an injection Attack?

A security vulnerability called an injection attack allows an attacker to insert malicious code or commands into a system or application.

In order to change the behavior of the program or obtain unauthorized access to data, this attack takes advantage of careless handling or a lack of validation of user input.

It can happen in a variety of settings, including network protocols, databases, command-line interfaces, and online applications.

What are the causes of injection Attacks?

Insufficient input validation and flaws in a system or application’s handling of untrusted data frequently lead to injection attacks.

When user input is not carefully checked, the door is left open for malicious commands or characters to be introduced into the system.

Attackers may inject malicious code or command that the system may execute if the input is not sanitized and validated.

Additionally, incorrect data handlings, such as improper encoding or inappropriate escape of special characters, can provide attackers access to the system’s intended behavior.

Injection attacks have more opportunities due to lax or absent security measures, such as inadequate input filtering, lax access rules, or weak encryption techniques.

What is injection attack Risk?

A system or application’s potential susceptibility to injection assaults is referred to as injection risk.

Unauthorized access, data manipulation, or other malicious behaviors are possible as a result of the probability that malicious code or commands can be injected as untrusted data and then executed.

Defects in the system’s input validation, data management, and security rules are what lead to injection hazards.

A system or application becomes vulnerable to injection attacks when user input is improperly validated or external data sources are not correctly handled and sanitized.

This may involve improper special character encoding or escape, relying on user input without checking it, or insufficient security measures to prevent unauthorized code execution.

10 Most Dangerous Injection Attacks 2024

  • Code injection
  • SQL injection
  • Command injection
  • Cross-site scripting
  • XPath injection
  • Mail command injection
  • CRLF injection
  • Host header injection
  • LDAP injection
  •  XXE Injection
10 Injection Attacks Types Injection Attacks Risks
1. Code injection 1. Arbitrary code execution.
2. Remote code execution (RCE).
3. Privilege escalation.
4. Data manipulation or destruction.
2. SQL injection 1. Unauthorized data access.
2. Data manipulation or modification.
3. Server compromise.
4. Privilege escalation.
3. Command injection 1. Arbitrary command execution.
2. Unauthorized system access.
3. Data manipulation or destruction.
4. Privilege escalation.
4. Cross-site scripting 1. Unauthorized access to sensitive data.
2. Session hijacking and identity theft.
3. Defacement and site manipulation.
4. Malicious content delivery.
5. XPath injection 1. Unauthorized data access.
2. Data manipulation or modification.
3. Server compromise.
4. Privilege escalation.
6. Mail command injection 1. Unauthorized command execution on the mail server.
2. Email spoofing and impersonation.
3. Unauthorized access to email accounts.
4. Data exfiltration or tampering.
7. CRLF injection 1. HTTP response splitting.
2. Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
3. Session hijacking and session fixation.
4. Cookie manipulation and theft.
8. Host header injection 1. Server-side request forgery (SSRF) attacks.
2. Cache poisoning or cache-based attacks.
3. Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
4. Session fixation attacks.
9. LDAP injection 1. Unauthorized data access.
2. Data manipulation or modification.
3. Server compromise.
4. Privilege escalation.
10.  XXE Injection 1. Unauthorized data access.
2. Remote file retrieval.
3. Server-side request forgery (SSRF) attacks.
4. Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.

1. Code Injection

Code Injection

This is very one of the common in this injection attacks where if the attacker knows the programming language, database operating system, web application, etc.

Then it will become easy to inject the code via text input and force that to the webserver.

These happen mainly for an application that has a lack of input data validation.

In this injection attack, users enter whatever they want, so the application becomes potentially exploitable, and there is any input hacker can put and the server will allow entering.

Injection code vulnerabilities are easy to find; you only need to provide the different content before the attacker puts that in the same web application.

Though the attacker exploits the vulnerabilities, your confidentiality, availability, integrity, etc. are lost.

Code Injection Risks

  • Arbitrary code execution: Code injection vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target system.
  • Remote code execution (RCE): Certain code injection vulnerabilities can enable remote code execution, where an attacker can execute malicious code remotely on the target system.
  • Privilege escalation: Code injection vulnerabilities can be used to escalate privileges and gain higher access levels than originally intended.
  • Data manipulation or destruction: Attackers can exploit code injection vulnerabilities to manipulate or delete data within the target system.
  • Denial of Service (DoS): Code injection can be used to execute resource-intensive operations or trigger infinite loops, causing a

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2. SQL injection

SQL injection

This is also a similar type of injection where attackers attack SQL scripts.

This language is mostly used by the query operations in this text input field. Scrip has to go to the application, which will directly execute with the database.

The attacker also needs to pass the login screen, or sometimes it has to do even more dangerous things to read the sensitive data from the database.

It also destroys the database where the businessman has to execute again.

PHP and ASP applications are older versions, so the chances are higher for an SQL injection attack.

J2EE and ASP.Net are more protected against the attack, and it also provides the vulnerability so when SQL gets injected that time it does not allow to attack.

You cannot even imagine the limitation of the attacker’s skills and imagination. SQL attack is also high.

SQL injection Attack Risks

  • Unauthorized data access: By injecting malicious SQL commands, an attacker can bypass authentication mechanisms and gain unauthorized access to sensitive data in the database.
  • Data manipulation or deletion: SQL injection can allow attackers to modify or delete data within the database.
  • Remote code execution: In certain situations, an attacker can inject SQL commands that enable them to execute arbitrary code on the server.
  • Denial of Service (DoS): An attacker can exploit SQL injection vulnerabilities to perform DoS attacks by executing resource-intensive queries or repeatedly submitting malicious requests.
  • Information leakage: SQL error messages or stack traces generated by the application may contain sensitive information about the database structure or query execution details.

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3. Command Injection

Command injection

If you do not put sufficient validation, then this type of attack is expected.

Here these attackers insert the command into the system instead of programming code or script.

Sometimes, hackers may not know the programming language but they definitely identify the server’s operating system.

There are a few inserted systems where the operating system executes commands and it allows content expose by arbitrary files residing server.

This also shows the directory structure to change the user password compared to others.

These types of attacks can reduce by using sysadmin, and they also need to limit the access level of the system where web applications can run the server.

Command Injection Risks

  • Arbitrary command execution: An attacker can inject commands to execute arbitrary system commands on the server or application.
  • Operating system control: Command injection can allow an attacker to gain control over the underlying operating system.
  • Data exposure or destruction: Attackers can use command injection to access or manipulate the server’s files, databases, or other resources.
  • Remote code execution: In some instances, command injection vulnerabilities can enable remote code execution.
  • Privilege escalation: By exploiting command injection, an attacker can escalate their privileges within the system.

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4. Cross-site scripting

Cross-site scripting

The output will automatically get generated whenever anything is inserted without encoding or validating.

This is the chance for an attacker to send the malicious code to a different end-user.

In this application, attackers take this situation as an opportunity and inject malicious scripts into the trusted website.

Finally, that website becomes the attacker’s victim.

Without noticing anything, the victim browser starts to execute the malicious script.

The browser allows access to session tokens, sensitive information, cookies, etc.

Usually, XSS attacks are divided into two categories stored and reflected.

In-store, malicious scripts permanently target the server through message forums or visitor logs.

The victim also gets the browser request from the message forum.

In reflected XSS, the malicious gives a response where the input is sent to the server. It also can be an error message from the server.

Cross-site scripting injection attack Risks

  • Theft of sensitive information: XSS attacks can steal sensitive user information, such as login credentials, session tokens, or personal data.
  • Cookie theft and session hijacking: By exploiting XSS vulnerabilities, attackers can access and steal session cookies stored in the user’s browser.
  • Defacement and content manipulation: XSS attacks can be used to modify the content of a trusted website or application, altering its appearance or displaying unauthorized content.
  • Malware distribution: Attackers can leverage XSS vulnerabilities to distribute malware to unsuspecting users.
  • Phishing attacks: XSS can be utilized to create convincing phishing attacks.

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5. XPath Injection

Injection Attacks
XPath injection

This type of injection mainly gets affected when the user works with XPath Query for XML data.

This attack exactly works like SQL injection where attackers send malformed information, they will attack your access data.

As we all know XPath is the standard language so specify the attributes wherever you will find them.

It has the query of XML data and other web applications that set the data, which should match.

When you get malformed input, that time pattern will turn to operation so that attacker can apply the data.

XPath Injection Risks

  • Unauthorized data access: An attacker can inject crafted XPath expressions to access sensitive data that they are not authorized to view.
  • Data manipulation: XPath injection can allow an attacker to modify data within XML documents or databases.
  • Information disclosure: XPath error messages or stack traces resulting from injection attempts may contain sensitive information about the application’s structure, query logic, or backend implementation.

Remote code execution: In certain cases, XPath injection can enable remote code execution, allowing the attacker to execute arbitrary code within the application’s context.

  • Denial of Service (DoS): An attacker can exploit XPath injection vulnerabilities to perform DoS attacks by crafting malicious XPath expressions that consume excessive resources or cause the application to enter an infinite loop, resulting in degraded performance or unavailability.

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6. Mail command Injection

Injection Attacks
Mail command injection

In this application, IAMP or SMTP statements are included, which improperly validated the user input.

These two will not have strong protection against attack and most web servers can be exploitable.

After entering through the mail, attackers have evaded restrictions for captchas and limited request numbers.

They need a valid email account so that they can send messages to inject the commands.

Usually, these injections can be done on the webmail application, which can exploit the message-reading functionality.

Mail command Injection Risks

  • Arbitrary command execution: By injecting malicious commands into the mail command, an attacker can execute arbitrary system commands on the server.
  • Server compromise: Mail command injection can enable an attacker to gain control over the underlying server.
  • Unauthorized data access: Attackers can exploit mail command injection to access or manipulate files, databases, or other resources on the server.
  • Email spoofing and phishing: Mail command injection can allow attackers to send malicious emails using the compromised email server.
  • Spamming and mail abuse: An attacker can abuse the compromised email server to send spam emails or conduct other malicious activities, potentially leading to the blacklisting of the server’s IP address or reputation damage.

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7. CRLF Injection

CRLF injection

The best combination of CRLF is a carriage return and line feed.

This is a web form that represents the attack method.

It has many traditional internet protocols like HTTP, NNTP, or MIME.

Usually, this attack performs based on the vulnerable web application, and it does not do the correct filtering for the user point.

Here vulnerability helps to open the web application which does not do the proper filtering.

CRLF Injection Risks

  • HTTP response splitting: CRLF injection can be used to manipulate HTTP responses, allowing an attacker to inject additional headers or modify the response content.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS): By injecting CRLF characters into user-generated content that is reflected in an HTTP response, an attacker can introduce malicious scripts into the page, leading to XSS attacks.
  • HTTP header injection: CRLF injection can be used to inject additional headers into HTTP responses, potentially leading to security bypass, cache poisoning, or other attacks.
  • Email header injection: In email systems, CRLF injection can be used to manipulate email headers, allowing an attacker to forge email content, spoof sender addresses, or perform phishing attacks.
  • Log injection: CRLF injection can be used to manipulate log files, inject arbitrary content or modify log entries.

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Injection Attacks
Host header injection

In this server, many websites or applications include where it becomes necessary to determine the resident website or web application.

Everyone has a virtual host which processes the incoming request.

Here the server is the virtual host which can dispatch the request.

If the server receives an invalid host header, that time, it usually passes the first virtual host.

This vulnerability attacker used to send arbitrary host headers.

Host header manipulation is directly related to the PHP application through other web development technology, does it?

Host header attacks work like other types of attacks like web-cache poisoning and the consequences also include all kinds of execution by the attackers like password reset work.

Host Header Injection Risks

  • Server impersonation: By injecting a malicious Host header, an attacker can make a request appear as if it is targeting a different server or virtual host.
  • Session fixation: Host Header Injection can be used in combination with session-related vulnerabilities to conduct session fixation attacks.
  • Cache poisoning: Host Header Injection can manipulate the Host header value to poison the cache of an intermediate proxy server or CDN (Content Delivery Network).
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS): In some cases, a vulnerable application may reflect the Host header in its response or use it in generating dynamic content.
  • Server misconfiguration or exposure: Host Header Injection can reveal internal IP addresses, server names, or infrastructure details by injecting specially crafted host values.

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9. LDAP Injection

Injection Attacks
LDAP injection

This is one of the best protocol designs which is facilitated with the other network.

This is a very useful intranet where you can use a single-sign-on system and here user name and password will be stored.

This LDAP query gets involved with the special control character, which affects its control.

The attacker can change LDAP’s intended behavior, which can control the character.

It can also have several root problems that allow the LDAP injection attack which is improperly validated.

The text user sends the application where the LDAP query is a part, and it comes without sanitizing it.

LDAP Injection Risks

  • Unauthorized data access: LDAP injection can allow an attacker to modify the LDAP query or filter to access or retrieve sensitive information that they are not authorized to view.
  • Privilege escalation: By injecting malicious LDAP queries, an attacker can attempt to escalate their privileges within the LDAP directory.
  • Denial of Service (DoS): Attackers can exploit LDAP injection to perform DoS attacks by crafting malicious LDAP queries that consume excessive server resources or cause the LDAP server to become unresponsive, leading to a service disruption for legitimate users.
  • Account lockout: LDAP injection can be used to perform brute force attacks or account lockout attacks by manipulating the LDAP query to repeatedly attempt authentication with different usernames or passwords.
  • Data manipulation or deletion: Attackers can manipulate LDAP queries to modify or delete data within the LDAP directory.

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10. XXE Injection

Injection Attacks
XXE Injection

This type of injection gives the vulnerability in the compilation of XML external entity (XXE).

It exploited the support where it provides DTDs with weak XML parser security.

Attackers can easily use crafted XML documents that perform various attacks where it will have the remote code execution from path traversal to SSRF.

Like the other four attacks, it has not exploited unvalidated user input and has an inherently unsafe legacy.

If you process the application in XML documents, this is the only way to avoid the vulnerability that disables DTD’s support.

XXE Injection Risks

  • Information disclosure: XXE injection can allow an attacker to read sensitive files, such as configuration files, system files, or files containing credentials, from the server’s file system.
  • SSRF attacks: By exploiting XXE injection, an attacker can trigger server-side requests to arbitrary URLs or internal network resources accessible to the server.
  • Denial of Service (DoS): XXE injection can lead to DoS attacks by leveraging external entities that cause the server to consume excessive resources or enter into an infinite loop, resulting in unresponsiveness or system crashes.
  • Remote code execution: In certain cases, XXE injection can be combined with other vulnerabilities to achieve remote code execution.
  • The exploitation of backend integrations: If the XML input is processed by backend systems or services, XXE injection can impact those integrations as well.

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Conclusion – Injection Attacks

As we have mentioned in the article all attacks are directly happening towards the server and everything related to the internet open access. To prevent these attacks, you need to update this with advanced applications and regular updates that are released by your respective software vendors.

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