[phpMyAdmin Developers] How do I determine if versions of phpMyAdmin before 4.8.5 is SQL Injectable using sqlmap?

Turritopsis Dohrnii Teo En Ming ceo at teo-en-ming-corp.com
Wed Apr 17 15:57:19 CEST 2019

Subject/Topic: How do I determine if versions of phpMyAdmin before 4.8.5 is SQL Injectable using sqlmap?

Good evening from Singapore,

Our customer (company name is Confidential/not disclosed) reported that their MySQL database has been found missing or was deleted a few times. They are using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Linux server with Apache2 Web Server, MySQL and PHP (LAMP).

We responded to these security incidents by changing the passwords of the regular user, root user, and MySQL database user root. We have also examined /var/log/auth.log and think that the hacker could not have come in through ssh or sftp over ssh. From /var/log/mysql/error.log, we can ascertain that the MySQL database has been deleted at certain timings. We have also found nothing abnormal after examining /var/log/apache2/access.log.

Even though we have secured the Ubuntu Linux server by changing passwords, the hacker was still able to delete our customer's MySQL database again and again. I have already proposed to install ModSecurity Open Source Web Application Firewall (WAF) to defend against web application attacks but my boss has told me to put that on hold at the moment. In fact, I have already deployed ModSecurity 2.9.0 on a Ubuntu 16.04 LTS *Testing* server and found that it actively detects and logs Nessus and sqlmap vulnerability scans in blocking mode.

Since we did not find any evidence that the hacker had breached our customer's Ubuntu 16.04 LTS production server through ssh or Teamviewer, we suspect that the hacker could have achieved it by SQL injection. I took the initiative of downloading and installing Nessus Professional 8.3.1 Trial version for Windows 64-bit. The vulnerability scan report generated by Nessus Web Application Tests shows that our customer is using a version of phpMyAdmin prior to 4.8.5 which could be vulnerable to SQL injection using the designer feature.

Further research shows that I can use sqlmap to determine if phpMyAdmin is SQL injectable. I already have a Testing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Linux server with a Testing MySQL database and a Testing phpMyAdmin 4.8.4. I have purposely installed phpMyAdmin 4.8.4 because this version was reported to be vulnerable to SQL injection using the designer feature, and our customer is using a vulnerable version, according to CVE-2019-6798 ( https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2019-6798 ). Then I proceeded to download and execute sqlmap on our Ubuntu Linux desktop against our Testing server.

No matter how many commands I try, sqlmap always report that phpMyAdmin 4.8.4 is *NOT* SQL injectable. Perhaps I was using the wrong sqlmap commands all the time? The following is one of the many sqlmap commands I have used.

$ python sqlmap.py -u "https://www.EXAMPLE.com/phymyadmin/index.php?id=1" --level=1 --dbms=mysql --sql-query="drop database"

Replace database by database name.

May I know what is the correct sqlmap command that I should use to determine that my Testing phpMyAdmin 4.8.4 is SQL injectable? I would like to know if I can successfully drop/delete the Testing database on our Testing server. If I can successfully drop/delete the Testing MySQL database using sqlmap, I would be able to conclude that the hacker must have carried out SQL injection to drop/delete the customer's database. I have already turned off the Testing ModSecurity Web Application Firewall on our Testing server to allow sqlmap to go through.

Please point me to any good tutorial on SQL injection using sqlmap. Maybe I do not understand SQL injection well enough. Our customer is also using a customised in-house inventory management system that relies on PHP application and MySQL database.

Would open source Snort Intrusion Detection System (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) be able to detect and block SQL injection as well?

Please advise.

Thank you very much.


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Singaporean Mr. Turritopsis Dohrnii Teo En Ming's Academic
Qualifications as at 14 Feb 2019

[1] https://tdtemcerts.wordpress.com/

[2] https://tdtemcerts.blogspot.sg/

[3] https://www.scribd.com/user/270125049/Teo-En-Ming


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