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  SQL Server Tips by Gama and Naughter


Script injection with MSDOS commands


Script injection is not restricted to SQL, JScript or VBScript, MSDOS commands can be injected in a string that is passed to a shell and execute with the current privileges.

The system XP xp_cmdshell is very dangerous and most users should have no privileges to use it at all. Even indirect use can be dangerous as the next example will prove.


CREATE PROCEDURE txtFileLog @data varchar(50)

--Log with the ECHO command


DECLARE @contents varchar(2033)

SET @contents='ECHO '+@data+'>>\log.txt'

EXEC master..xp_cmdshell @contents, no_output


This will work fine when there are no spaces, tabs, >, <, | or & symbols.

For example:


EXEC txtFileLog 'line1'


Will add one line with the string line1. One way of storing spaces and all the other characters is to place double quotes around the input string. The line stored in the file will also have the double quotes though. This is not the best way to save text to a file but it is used widely.


The number 2033 is 2048-15, 15 is the number of characters of 'ECHO ' and '>>\log.txt'

2048 is the maximum length of a line in Windows Command prompt (or 8192 on Windows XP or later), otherwise the error "The input line is too long." is generated.


To execute any DOS command is a matter of placing it between two ampersands and a REM keyword at the end, to ignore the rest of the string:


EXEC txtFileLog 'abc&dir>\test.txt&rem '


The ampersands separate commands in MSDOS so that more than one command can run in one line of text. This example will create a file name test.txt in the root but more malevolent code could be there. For example, adding a new user:


net user hacker hpassword /add


The above book excerpt is from:

Super SQL Server Systems
Turbocharge Database Performance with C++ External Procedures

ISBN: 0-9761573-2-2
Joseph Gama, P. J. Naughter


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