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Definition: SQLMAP is an open-source penetration testing tool that automates the process of detecting and exploiting SQL injection vulnerabilities in databases. It provides a powerful testing environment to extract database information, compromise the underlying server, and even access the file system on the database server.

SQLMAP supports a wide range of databases, including MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and others, enabling users to perform enumeration over database servers and obtain critical data. It is a command-line tool that offers a vast array of features, supporting various types of SQL injection techniques and possessing the ability to directly connect to databases for efficient exploitation.

The tool is often employed in the reconnaissance phase of a cyber attack to map out the database landscape and establish a foundation for further exploitation or analysis. While SQLMAP is extensively used by ethical hackers for security assessments, it can also be used for malicious purposes if databases are exposed to SQL injection flaws.

Key Characteristics:

  • Automated SQL Injection: Facilitates the automated detection and exploitation of SQL injection vulnerabilities.
  • Database Support: Compatible with numerous database systems, broadening its utility.
  • Versatile Functionality: Offers a full-suite of features to enumerate databases, retrieve data, and leverage database server vulnerabilities.
  • Command-Line Interface: Operated via command line, providing flexibility and powerful scripting capabilities for advanced users.


  • Real-World Example: A cybersecurity professional uses SQLMAP to test a web application’s user login form and discovers an SQL injection flaw, allowing the organisation to remediate the vulnerability before it is exploited.
  • Hypothetical Scenario: An attacker scans websites to identify SQL injection vulnerabilities and uses SQLMAP to extract credential data from the website’s associated database, leading to a data breach.

Related Terms:

  • SQL Injection: A type of security exploit in which an attacker adds SQL code to a web form input box to gain access to resources or make changes to data.
  • Penetration Testing: The practice of testing a computer system, network, or web application to find vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit, often using tools like SQLMAP.
  • Ethical Hacking: Legally breaking into computers and devices to test an organisation’s defences, which typically involves the identification of SQL injection vulnerabilities.

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