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From aaron morton <>
Subject Re: "SQL" Injection C* (via CQL & Thrift)
Date Thu, 20 Jun 2013 09:15:49 GMT
> As for the thrift side (i.e. using Hector or Astyanax), anyone have a crafty way to inject

The only thing I've ever heard of coming close was a thrift bug that allowed a malformed request
to crash the server. But that was a while ago


Aaron Morton
Freelance Cassandra Consultant
New Zealand


On 19/06/2013, at 1:46 AM, Brian O'Neill <> wrote:

> Perfect.  Thanks Sylvain.  That is exactly the input I was looking for, and I agree completely.
> (t's easy enough to protect against)
> As for the thrift side (i.e. using Hector or Astyanax), anyone have a crafty way to inject
> At first glance, it doesn't appear possible, but I'm not 100% confident making that assertion.

> -brian
> ---
> Brian O'Neill
> Lead Architect, Software Development
> Health Market Science
> The Science of Better Results
> 2700 Horizon Drive • King of Prussia, PA • 19406
> M: 215.588.6024 • @boneill42  •  
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> From: Sylvain Lebresne <>
> Reply-To: <>
> Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 8:51 AM
> To: "" <>
> Subject: Re: "SQL" Injection C* (via CQL & Thrift)
> If you're not careful, then "CQL injection" is possible.
> Say you naively build you query with
>   "UPDATE foo SET col='" + user_input + "' WHERE key = 'k'"
> then if user_input is "foo' AND col2='bar", your user will have overwritten a column
it shouldn't have been able to. And something equivalent in a BATCH statement could allow
to overwrite/delete some random row in some random table.
> Now CQL being much more restricted than SQL (no subqueries, no generic transaction, ...),
the extent of what you can do with a CQL injection is way smaller than in SQL. But you do
have to be careful.
> As far as the Datastax java driver is concerned, you can fairly easily protect yourself
by using either:
> 1) prepared statements: if the user input is a prepared variable, there is nothing the
user can do (it's "equivalent" to the thrift situation).
> 2) using the query builder: it will escape quotes in the strings you provided, thuse
avoiding injection.
> So I would say that injections are definitively possible if you concatenate strings too
naively, but I don't think preventing them is very hard.
> --
> Sylvain
> On Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM, Brian O'Neill <> wrote:
>> Mostly for fun, I wanted to throw this out there...
>> We are undergoing a security audit for our platform (C* + Elastic Search + Storm).
 One component of that audit is susceptibility to SQL injection.  I was wondering if anyone
has attempted to construct a SQL injection attack against Cassandra?  Is it even possible?
>> I know the code paths fairly well, but...
>> Does there exists a path in the code whereby user data gets interpreted, which could
be exploited to perform user operations?
>> From the Thrift side of things, I've always felt safe.  Data is opaque.  Serializers
are used to convert it to Bytes, and C* doesn't ever really do anything with the data.
>> In examining the CQL java-driver, it looks like there might be a bit more exposure
to injection.  (or even CQL over Thrift)  I haven't dug into the code yet, but dependent on
which flavor of the API you are using, you may be including user data in your statements.
>> Does anyone know if the CQL java-driver does anything to protect against injection?
 Or is it possible to say that the syntax is strict enough that any embedded operations in
data would not parse?
>> just some food for thought...
>> I'll be digging into this over the next couple weeks.  If people are interested,
I can throw a blog post out there with the findings.
>> -brian
>> -- 
>> Brian ONeill
>> Lead Architect, Health Market Science (
>> mobile:215.588.6024
>> blog:
>> twitter: @boneill42

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