Preventing MySQL Injection Attacks With GreenSQL On Debian Etch

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

GreenSQL (or greensql-fw) is a firewall for MySQL databases that filters SQL injection attacks. It works as a reverse proxy, i.e., it takes the SQL queries, checks them, passes them on to the MySQL database and delivers back the result from the MySQL database. It comes with a web interface (called greensql-console) so that you can manage GreenSQL through a web browser. This guide shows how you can install GreenSQL and its web interface on a Debian Etch server.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I have tested this on a Debian Etch server where MySQL and Apache are already installed. I will use the virtual host with the document root /var/www/web1/web to install the GreenSQL web interface.


2 Installing greensql-fw

The GreenSQL project provides binary packages for Debian Etch on (you can find packages for other distributions on Download and install the latest .deb package like this:

cd /tmp
dpkg -i greensql-fw_0.9.2_i386.deb

(This is for an i386 system.)

You will see the following questions:

What is the name of the server used to store GreenSQL configuration db (MySQL server)? <-- localhost
What is the database name for the GreenSQL configuration? <-- greendb
Would you like to set up the database and tables automatically? <-- Yes
What is the username of the MySQL administrator? <-- root
Enter the MySQL administrator password <-- yourrootsqlpassword (replace this with your root MySQL password)
Confirm this password <-- yourrootsqlpassword (replace this with your root MySQL password)
What is the GreenSQL db username? <-- green
What is the GreenSQL user password? <-- greensqlpassword (replace this with a password of your choice for the green MySQL user)

After the installation, greensql-fw will run on on the port 3305 (the default MySQL port is 3306). You can check that by running

netstat -tap | grep greensql

server1:~# netstat -tap | grep greensql
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdom:3305 *:*                     LISTEN     4499/greensql-fw

To test if greensql-fw is working ok, you can try to connect to MySQL through the GreenSQL proxy:

mysql -h -P 3305 -u root -p

Type in your MySQL root password, and you should be logged in. greensql-fw is now ready to be used.

If you want your web applications to connect to MySQL through greensql-fw, you must change their MySQL settings. For example, if you have a PHP application with the following line in its configuration file (e.g. config.php)...

$link = mysql_connect('localhost', 'mysql_user', 'mysql_password');

... change it to

$link = mysql_connect('', 'mysql_user', 'mysql_password');

(It is important that you connect to instead of localhost because greensql-fw supports TCP connections, but not Unix sockets!)


3 Installing greensql-console

The GreenSQL web interface (greensql-console) can be downloaded from To install it in /var/www/web1/web, we proceed as follows:

cd /var/www/web1/web
tar xvfz greensql-console-0.4.2.tar.gz

This creates the subdirectory greensql-console in /var/www/web1/web. Next we must adjust the greensql-console configuration:

cd greensql-console
vi config.php

In config.php, make sure that you fill in the correct password for the green MySQL user (in the line $db_pass):


# Uncomment the following line to switch to demo version
#$demo_version = 1;

# greensql version
$version = "0.4.0";

# MySQL Database IP address
$db_host = "";

#MySQL Database Port Value.
$db_port = 3306;

# MySQL database name used to store greensql confiuration and alerts
$db_name = "greendb";

# MySQL database user and password
$db_user = "green";
$db_pass = "greensqlpassword";

# If you run greensql-fw service on the same computer you can specify
# location of it's log file. It will be visible as part of the console.
$log_file = "/var/log/greensql.log";

# Number of lines to show when viewing log file.
$num_log_lines = 200;

# Generated web pages cache
$cache_dir = "templates_c";


Then make the templates_c/ directory world-writable:

chmod 777 templates_c/

Open a browser and go to Log in with the username admin and the password pwd:

In the GreenSQL web interface, you can now see which MySQL queries got blocked and with what score, you can whitelist MySQL queries, tell greensql-fw what to block and what to allow for each individual database, watch the log or change the admin password for the GreenSQL web interface:

If you want to change the points that greensql-fw assigns for certain tests, you can do that by modifying the greensql-fw configuration file /etc/greensql/greensql.conf. After you have changed the file, you must restart greensql-fw:

/etc/init.d/greensql-fw stop
/etc/init.d/greensql-fw start

(The restart command did not work on my system, it seemed to hang...)

You can find the GreenSQL log in /var/log/greensql.log.


Falko Timme

About Falko Timme

Falko Timme is an experienced Linux administrator and founder of Timme Hosting, a leading nginx business hosting company in Germany. He is one of the most active authors on HowtoForge since 2005 and one of the core developers of ISPConfig since 2000. He has also contributed to the O'Reilly book "Linux System Administration".

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