NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB and Cassandra, have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their flexibility, scalability, and performance advantages over traditional relational databases. However, like any technology, NoSQL databases are not immune to security vulnerabilities. One of the most common security issues with NoSQL databases is NoSQL injection, which is similar to SQL injection in relational databases. In this blog, we will explain what NoSQL injection is, how it works, and provide a Proof of Concept (POC) to demonstrate the vulnerability.

What is NoSQL Injection?

NoSQL injection is a type of attack that targets NoSQL databases. It exploits vulnerabilities in the way NoSQL databases handle user input, such as invalidated user input, improper sanitization of input, or improper use of prepared statements. Attackers can use NoSQL injection to manipulate or steal data, bypass authentication, or execute arbitrary code on the database server.

How does NoSQL Injection work?

NoSQL injection attacks typically involve injecting malicious code into a database query to manipulate its behavior. The following is an example of a NoSQL injection attack that targets a MongoDB database:

Suppose that we have a simple web application that allows users to log in with their username and password. The application queries a MongoDB database to authenticate the user and retrieve their account information. The application code for the authentication process may look something like this:

var username = req.body.username;
var password = req.body.password;

db.collection('users').findOne({ username: username, password: password }, function(err, user) {
    if (err) throw err;

    if (!user) {
        res.status(401).send('Invalid username or password');
    } else {
        res.send('Welcome ' + + '!');

This code takes the username and password entered by the user, passes them to the findOne() method of the MongoDB driver, and checks whether a user with the given username and password exists. If a user is found, the application sends a welcome message with the user’s name. Otherwise, it sends an error message.

An attacker can exploit the application’s vulnerability by submitting a specially crafted username and password that includes a NoSQL injection payload. For example, the following payload could be submitted as the username:

{ $ne: 1 }

This payload is interpreted by the MongoDB driver as a logical operator that checks if the value of the field is not equal to 1. If the application does not sanitize the input properly, this payload will be passed to the findOne() method and will return the first user document that does not have a value of 1 in the username field. The attacker can then bypass the authentication process and gain access to the user’s account.

Proof of Concept (POC) To demonstrate the vulnerability

Let’s assume that the application code above is vulnerable to NoSQL injection. We can test this vulnerability by submitting the following payload as the username:

{ $ne: 1 }

The application will interpret this payload as a search for a user whose username is not equal to 1, regardless of the password. If there is such a user in the database, the application will allow the attacker to log in without a valid password.

To fix this vulnerability, the application should validate and sanitize all user input before passing it to the database driver. One way to do this is to use prepared statements, which can help prevent NoSQL injection attacks by automatically escaping special characters in user input.


NoSQL injection is a serious security vulnerability that can have devastating consequences for web applications that use NoSQL databases. To prevent NoSQL injection, developers should be aware of the risks and implement proper input validation and sanitization techniques.

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