CodeQL documentation

SQL query built from user-controlled sources

ID: rb/sql-injection
Kind: path-problem
Security severity: 8.8
Severity: error
Precision: high
   - security
   - external/cwe/cwe-089
Query suites:
   - ruby-code-scanning.qls
   - ruby-security-extended.qls
   - ruby-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

If a database query (such as a SQL or NoSQL query) is built from user-provided data without sufficient sanitization, a malicious user may be able to run malicious database queries.


Most database connector libraries offer a way of safely embedding untrusted data into a query by means of query parameters or prepared statements.


In the following Rails example, an ActionController class has a text_bio method to handle requests to fetch a biography for a specified user.

The user is specified using a parameter, user_name provided by the client. This value is accessible using the params method.

The method illustrates three different ways to construct and execute an SQL query to find the user by name.

In the first case, the parameter user_name is inserted into an SQL fragment using string interpolation. The parameter is user-supplied and is not sanitized. An attacker could use this to construct SQL queries that were not intended to be executed here.

The second case uses string concatenation and is vulnerable in the same way that the first case is.

In the third case, the name is passed in a hash instead. ActiveRecord will construct a parameterized SQL query that is not vulnerable to SQL injection attacks.

class UserController < ActionController::Base
  def text_bio
    # BAD -- Using string interpolation
    user = User.find_by "name = '#{params[:user_name]}'"

    # BAD -- Using string concatenation
    find_str = "name = '" + params[:user_name] + "'"
    user = User.find_by(find_str)

    # GOOD -- Using a hash to parameterize arguments
    user = User.find_by name: params[:user_name]

    render plain: user&.text_bio


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