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From Sylvain Lebresne <>
Subject Re: "SQL" Injection C* (via CQL & Thrift)
Date Tue, 18 Jun 2013 12:51:11 GMT
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.


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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