Risk
2/12/2013
07:06 AM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Quick Hits
50%
50%

Building And Maintaining Database Access Control Permissions

Provisioning user access to database resources can be tricky and time-consuming. Here are a few tips to help you keep up

[Excerpted from "Building and Maintaining Database Access Control Permissions," a new report posted this week on Dark Reading's Database Security Tech Center.]

Database permissions can cause headaches for even the most sophisticated security organizations. Indeed, many of the most persistent problems with malicious or risky database access start before the database server software is even up and running.

Why are database access controls so maddeningly complex? In a word, flexibility -- the very flexibility that enables organizations to create multiple and interlocking roles can also create a knot of confusion and vulnerability.

Why are database permissions such a sore spot for otherwise sophisticated organizations? Security experts agree that many of the most persistent problems with malicious or risky database access start before the database server software is even up and running.

There are many reasons for this disconnect. For one thing, access controls in modern databases are designed to be infinitely flexible to support the vast array of applications and uses that enterprise databases are called on to perform.

"It's in the nature of many of these databases that they have a straightforward role-based access control system at the center, but -- being flexible -- it becomes very complex," says Josh Shaul, the CTO at Application

Security, a database activity monitoring firm. Users, Shaul notes, might be assigned access permissions individually and as a member of one or more "roles."

All this talk about complex user and role-based privileges ignores what experts consider the biggest security gap of all: catch-all pseudo-user groups like Oracle's PUBLIC. These groups are intended to be bare-bones, minimum privilege roles that encompass every database user. The truth, however, is often very different.

Older Oracle databases -- like Oracle 9 and 10, for example -- granted PUBLIC execute privileges on a number of important packages by default, including the Oracle encryption toolkit and utilities that allow PUBLIC users to read and write to the file system, access TCP-based networking functionality and send mail. Newer versions have eliminated some of those permissions from PUBLIC but still give the PUBLIC group access to many database objects.

Once organizations have a handle on their most powerful super users and have curtailed the privileges of the unwashed masses in pseudo-user groups like PUBLIC, they need to tackle a thornier problem: how to monitor user activity and identify abhorrent, malicious or just unwanted behaviors.

To get details on how to monitor database access activity -- and to learn more about the technologies and practices for controlling database resources -- download the free report on database access control.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-0714
Published: 2015-05-02
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in Cisco Finesse Server 10.0(1), 10.5(1), 10.6(1), and 11.0(1) allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters, aka Bug ID CSCut53595.

CVE-2014-3598
Published: 2015-05-01
The Jpeg2KImagePlugin plugin in Pillow before 2.5.3 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via a crafted image.

CVE-2014-8361
Published: 2015-05-01
The miniigd SOAP service in Realtek SDK allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted NewInternalClient request.

CVE-2015-0237
Published: 2015-05-01
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) Manager before 3.5.1 ignores the permission to deny snapshot creation during live storage migration between domains, which allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (prevent host start) by creating a long snapshot chain.

CVE-2015-0257
Published: 2015-05-01
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) Manager before 3.5.1 uses weak permissions on the directories shared by the ovirt-engine-dwhd service and a plugin during service startup, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information by reading files in the directory.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.