Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Malware & Threats

Majority of Malicious Job Attacks on Microsoft SQL Server Target Asia

Vietnam emerges as the country affected the most by Microsoft SQL Server attacks that leverage malicious jobs, a new report from Kaspersky reveals.

Vietnam emerges as the country affected the most by Microsoft SQL Server attacks that leverage malicious jobs, a new report from Kaspersky reveals.

Microsoft SQL Server is being used worldwide by companies of all sizes for database management, and its popularity, along with the fact that it is not sufficiently protected, make it the target of choice for many threat actors looking to compromise business environments for all kinds of gains.

One of the most common attacks on Microsoft SQL Server is a remote assault based on malicious jobs. It has been around for a while, but attackers continue to abuse it to gain access to workstations through less-than-strong administrator passwords.

According to Kaspersky’s statistics, Vietnam is at the receiving end of the largest number of such attacks, accounting for 16% of them. Next in line is Russia, with 12%, followed by India at 7%, China at 6%, and Turkey and Brazil at 5% each.

“Microsoft SQL Server attacks are normally massive in nature and have no particular target: the attackers scan sub-networks in search of a server with a weak password,” Kaspersky notes.

Following a remote check for the SQL Server installation, the attackers attempt to brute-force the account password to access the system. Authorization via a user account token (authorized on a previously infected machine) might also be used for intrusion.

The next step involves modifying the server configuration to access the command line, which allows attackers to covertly make the malware secure in the target system using jobs for the SQL Server.

A job represents a sequence of commands executed by the SQL Server agent and could include a variety of actions, some of which the attackers can abuse for code execution or other malicious operations.

For example, the attackers could install a malware download job using the standard ftp.exe utility, could download malware from a remote resource using JavaScript, or write malware to the system and then execute it.

An analysis of the payloads delivered as part of attacks on MS SQL Server via malicious jobs has revealed that most of them are cryptocurrency miners and remote access backdoors. Some other payloads could be password capturing and privilege escalation utilities.

“It should be mentioned, however, that the choice of payload depends on the attackers’ goals and capabilities and is by no means limited to the mentioned options,” Kaspersky points out.

To stay protected from such attacks, Kaspersky notes, admins should consider using robust, brute-force-proof passwords for their SQL Server accounts. Checking Agent SQL Server for third-party jobs could also help detect possible intrusions.

Related: MassMiner Attacks Web Servers With Multiple Exploits

Related: New Trojan Uses SQL Server for C&C

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join this webinar to learn best practices that organizations can use to improve both their resilience to new threats and their response times to incidents.


Join this live webinar as we explore the potential security threats that can arise when third parties are granted access to a sensitive data or systems.


Expert Insights

Related Content


Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...


The changing nature of what we still generally call ransomware will continue through 2023, driven by three primary conditions.


No one combatting cybercrime knows everything, but everyone in the battle has some intelligence to contribute to the larger knowledge base.


A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...

Risk Management

The supply chain threat is directly linked to attack surface management, but the supply chain must be known and understood before it can be...


Apple has released updates for macOS, iOS and Safari and they all include a WebKit patch for a zero-day vulnerability tracked as CVE-2023-23529.

Application Security

Drupal released updates that resolve four vulnerabilities in Drupal core and three plugins.

Cloud Security

VMware vRealize Log Insight vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to take full control of a target system.