SQL Azure Security: DoS

Since I decided to understand in more depth how SQL Azure works I started to dig into its performance characteristics. So I decided to write an application that allows me to put SQL Azure to the test and compare results with a local SQL Server database. One of the options I added is the ability to issue the same command on multiple threads to get certain performance metrics.

That's when I stumbled on an interesting security feature of SQL Azure: its Denial of Service (DoS) detection engine. What this security feature does is that it performs a check on the number of connections being established, and if the rate of connection is too high, SQL Azure blocks all communication from that machine.

I am still trying to learn more about this specific feature, but it appears that going to the SQL Azure portal and testing the connection from the portal "resets" the feature and you are allowed to connect again... until you reach the login threashold. In the specific test I was performing, all the logins were successful. I haven't tried to login with an invalid account or password... that will be for next time.

On my Linked In group (SQL Server and SQL Azure Security: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2569994&trk=hb_side_g) Chip Andrews (www.sqlsecurity.com) pointed out that this feature in itself could present an internal threat. In theory, a rogue application could be issuing many login requests from a NATed network, which could potentially prevent any production system from connecting to SQL Azure within the same network. My initial response was that this could indeed be the case. However, while the TCP protocol contains the latest NATed IP address of a machine (which masks the origin of the machine making the SQL request), the TDS protocol itself contains the IP Address of the machine making the initial request; so technically there would be a way for SQL Azure to block only the internal IP address making the rogue requests. 

So this warrants further investigation... stay tuned...


Print | posted @ Friday, April 16, 2010 11:22 PM

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