Most instances of SQL injection can be prevented by using parameterized queries (also known as prepared statements) instead of string concatenation within the query.
The following code is vulnerable to SQL injection because the user input is concatenated directly into the query:
String query = "SELECT * FROM products WHERE category = '"+ input + "'";
Statement statement = connection.createStatement();
ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery(query);
This code can be easily rewritten in a way that prevents the user input from interfering with the query structure:
PreparedStatement statement = connection.prepareStatement("SELECT * FROM products WHERE category = ?");
ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery();
Parameterized queries can be used for any situation where untrusted input appears as data within the query, including the
WHERE clause and values in an
UPDATE statement. They can't be used to handle untrusted input in other parts of the query, such as table or column names, or the
ORDER BY clause. Application functionality that places untrusted data into those parts of the query will need to take a different approach, such as white-listing permitted input values, or using different logic to deliver the required behavior.
For a parameterized query to be effective in preventing SQL injection, the string that is used in the query must always be a hard-coded constant, and must never contain any variable data from any origin. Do not be tempted to decide case-by-case whether an item of data is trusted, and continue using string concatenation within the query for cases that are considered safe. It is all too easy to make mistakes about the possible origin of data, or for changes in other code to violate assumptions about what data is tainted.