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  SQL Server Tips by Burleson

Port security

SQL Server 2000 by default has two protocols enabled in both the Server Network Utility and the Client Network Utility, they are TCP/IP and Named Pipes.

If the application using SQL Server is running in the same box then the best solution is to remove all protocols (netlibs) in Server Network Utility and the server will automatically use Shared Memory, the client should have set “enable shared memory protocol”. There is a plus: this protocol is the fastest of all.

However, most applications usually run on a computer other than the SQL Server machine, and sometimes only accessible through TCP/IP. The InterNet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigned port 1433 to Microsoft SQL Server. IANA is the "central coordinator for the assignment of unique parameter values for Internet protocols".

For that reason SQL Server uses 1433 as a default UDP port but it also uses port 1434 as a listener service for multi-instance support.

With the need to audit network resources, tools were developed for various tasks, and an easy one is to enumerate a list of SQL Servers in a network. Either by running Osql –L or sending a broadcast UDP packet to port 1434. ChipAndrews, Rajiv Delwadia and Michael Choi coded SQLPing in C++ after studying the packets during the SQL Server communication process. Interestingly, they also found some vulnerabilties in the server dealing with the packets; some specially crafted packets could cause a Denial Of Service (DOS), buffer overflows or heap overflows.

SQLPing retrieves information about a server:

The version details are not correct but a list of the returned values and the corresponding real ones is easy to obtain with simple examination. Still, the older the version, the most vulnerable it is. Known exploits, not patched, are easy targets. If the server uses named pipes over NetBIOS there is the possibility of ports 139 and 445 being targeted as well. If the named pipes protocol is not used, then you should disable it as an extra precaution.

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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