How do you prevent code injection?

Alton Alexander
By Alton AlexanderUpdated on June 4th, 2022

Code injection is a form of security vulnerability where malicious code is injected into a program or system. This can happen through user input, such as when a user is asked to enter their name and instead enters malicious code. This code is then executed, usually with the same permissions as the user or program that was originally targeted. Code injection can be used to damage data, spread malware, or gain unauthorized access to systems.

One of the most common reasons code injection happens is due to poor input validation. This is when user input is not properly checked before it is used. This leaves the door open for malicious code to be injected and executed. Another common cause is when developers use unsanitized user input in database queries. This can lead to SQL injection, where malicious code is injected into a database query. This can give attackers access to sensitive data or even allow them to modify database content.

To prevent code injection, developers need to properly validate and sanitize all user input. This includes checking data types, ranges, and lengths. All user input should be treated as untrusted and potentially malicious. Input that comes from untrusted sources, such as user input, should never be used directly in database queries. Instead, it should be passed through a safe API that will escape any special characters.

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1. Sanitize user input

The steps to sanitize user input are as follows:

  1. Remove any user input that is not essential for the task at hand. For example, if you are deleting a file, remove any extraneous text or characters.
  2. Replace all white-space characters with a single space.
  3. Convert all capital letters to lowercase letters.
  4. Replace all punctuation with single quotes.
  5. Escapes all characters that are not letters, numbers, or underscores.

2. Use prepared statements

To use prepared statements, first you need to create a statement object. This object will contain the code to be executed, as well as any parameters that need to be passed in. Next, you need to create an instance of the statement object and pass in the code and any parameters that need to be passed in. Finally, you need to use the exec() function to run the statement.

3. Use a whitelist

There are a few different ways to use a whitelist in order to fix code injection. The simplest way to do this is to create a list of specific strings that are not allowed to be injected into your code. This can be done by simply editing your code and removing any instances of the strings that you want to exclude. Another way to use a whitelist is to use a security program such as AppLocker or Windows Defender to create a list of specific applications that are not allowed to inject code into your code. Finally, you can also use a whitelist in your code review process in order to identify potential code injection issues. By specifically identifying which code is not allowed to be injected, you can quickly and easily identify and fix any potential issues.

4. Escape characters

  1. Open the Microsoft Visual Studio editor.
  2. Click on File > Open.
  3. Navigate to the directory where you saved the malicious code.
  4. Double-click on the code file.
  5. Click on the Escape Characters button.
  6. In the escape sequence text box, type the following sequence: ESC
  7. Click on the OK button.
  8. In the editor, press F5 to run the code.
  9. If the code runs successfully, then the malicious code has been successfully escaped.

If the answers above didn't work then you should also try:

  1. Use a web application firewall