Setting Up AWS RDS

In the next series of posts I’m going to provide a tutorial on how to write and exploit and SQL Injection vulnerability on a web applications. However, before we can get there we need to setup our database.

We could set it up on our local machine, but that would be too easy, instead we’ll use Amazon’s RDS (relation database service) to setup our database.

I’m not going to walk you through creating an AWS account, it’s pretty straightforward. I’m going to assume you have an account.

1 Navigate to the RDS Service Dashboard

If you don’t know how to get to the RDS Service, you can search for it:

You’ll be presented with following dashboard:

RDS Dashboard

II. Create Database

In the Create Database page, we’ll select the following features:

  • Database Creation Method – “Standard Create”
  • Database Engine – “MySQL”
  • Version – 8.0.27
  • Template – “Free Tier”
  • DB Settings – Username/Password
These values are up to you
  • Instance Class – Leave Default
  • Storage – Leave Default
  • Connectivity – Leave Default
  • Database Authentication – “Password”
  • Create Database

You’ll be re-directed to the following screen:

It will take a few minutes for the server to get created on AWS’ servers. The server is technically created/built at this point, however, we now have to make it accessible from the Internet, i.e. your home computer.

  • Click on the “database-1” hyperlink to configure

III. Make the DB “Publicly Accessible

  • Click on “Modify”
  • In the “Connectivity Section”, Click on “Additional Cofiguration”:
  • Select “Publicly Accessible” option:
  • Click on “Continue” at the bottom of the page
  • Click on “Modify DB Instance” on the next page

We are not yet complete with our configuration. You’re RDS or EC2 instances inside your VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) have NACLS (Network Access Control Lists) and Security Groups (SGs) applied to them:

IV. Quick Lesson on SG and NACLS

  • Security Groups

Think of Security Groups as Host Level Firewalls. All of your instances running in your VPC must have a Security Group applied to them.

With Security Groups, you set the allowable ports/protocols/services and source addresses.

  • Network Access Control Lists

NACLs are applied to the subnets in your VPC. Every subnet in your VPC must have NACL associated with it.

All of your instances will belong to a Subnet.

All of your Subnets will have a NACL applied to them.

With NACLS, you can configure based on IP address(es) and Ports

  • Quirks

If you have NACLs set to allow “All traffic” through, but your Security Group is “Deny All”, you won’t be able to reach your instance

If you have your NACL set to “Deny All”, but your SG to “Allow All”, you won’t be able to reach your instance

A good strategy with managing NACLs and SG is:

  • NACLs: Filter only by IP and allow all ports/protocols
  • Security Groups: Filter by Ports/Protocols

V. Configuring the Security Group

  • From RDS Dashboard, click on your DB Instances
RDS Dashboard showing the “DB Instances” Link, clic on it
  • Select your DB Instance
Shows available DB instances, we only have one – “database-1”
  • Under the “Connectivity and Security” menu, select the default security group
    • Recall that this was left to default when first created the DB
    • This Dashboard shows which SGs are applied to our RDS instance and we can just follow the links to edit it.
  • Select “Edit inbound rules”
  • Add rule to allow “MYSQL/Aurora” traffic type from the drop down
  • Select “Save Rules”

VI. Configuring the NACL

  • From RDS Dashboard, select “DB Instances”, then select your running RDS instance
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2022-02-04-at-7.47.19-AM-1024x436.png
  • Click on the VPC hyperlink under “VPC”
  • Click on the hyperlink under “Main network ACL”
    • mine is “acl-f483728f”
    • your’s will be different
  • Click on the “Inbound Rules” tab, then “Edit Inbound Rules”
  • Add a rule to allow all ports and traffic (

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