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Security Best Practices for PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a powerful open-source database management system that comes with advanced functionalities and maintenance task features. In what follows, we cover some of the essential security best practices for PostgreSQL.

This article covers the following security best practices for PostgreSQL:

  • Authentication
  • Password profiles
  • Authorization
  • Auditing
  • Data Encryption
  • SQL injection attacks

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Authentication

The pg_hba.conf (PostgreSQL host-based access) file prohibits users permissions on the user’s account, data system, and source IP (if making a connection mostly through TCP/IP). Authentication methods are often allocated throughout this file.

Kerberos/GSSAPI

As per RFC 1964, PostgreSQL claims to support GSSAPI to Kerberos encryption. GSSAPI enables unlimited verification (single sign-on). Although the authentication is safe, information sent through the description of the data is not encoded except if GSS or SSL encrypted data is used.

SSPI

You can use this one if you’d like to enforce Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication on a Windows computer. Unless Kerberos (which includes both SSPI and GSSAPI) is not an option, LDAP must be used. Because the username and password are relayed to the LDAP server, LDAP becomes less secure.

LDAP and RADIUS

LDAP and RADIUS are helpful once you have a huge number of devices and have to handle passwords from a central location. This central control has the effect of getting your pg_hba.conf file tiny and controllable, as well as providing users with a “truly united password expertise” all across your connectivity.

RADIUS may not be used due to the weak encrypted data, which employs the MD5 hash function for authentication. Cert :TLS credential verification (also known as SSL) could be used for both wire traffic authentication and encryption.

Scram

Scram-sha-256 verification is an option if you have a small number of authorized users. Scram is favored over MD5 because it securely hashes passcodes.

Reject

Use this technique to directly disregard users, database connections, and/or procure IP addresses.

Password Profiles

While using MD5 and SCRAM verification, the enhanced platform provides Oracle-compatible passcode profiles starting with version 9.5. A password profile is a labeled collection of password traits that enables a DBA to efficiently handle a team of roles with similar authentication requirements. For every profile, you can have one or more affiliated users. Whenever a device accesses the database, the browser imposes the rules.

Password profiles are used to:

  • Restrict the number of unsuccessful attempts
  • Throw an account given the high series of unsuccessful login attempts
  • Set a password to expire
  • Establish a time limit when a password expires
  • Establishing standard security rules
  • Establish rules to restrict password repurpose

Authorization

After the user has been appropriately authenticated, users should be granted permission to visualize information and execute database tasks. Only grant the rights necessary for a user to complete a task and ban shared (group) username and password credentials.

Role tasks are used in PostgreSQL to handle access permissions. A position can apply to a specific consumer or a group of people. Roles in PostgreSQL are described at the cluster (database server) stage. This means that positions are implemented to any and all datasets characterized for the grouping computer. Authorizations could be assigned to SQL query objects (tables, views, and so on).

So we have the following items:

  • Access to the predefined database objects
  • Accessing the views and enabling information visibility for specific groups
  • Row-level security is assigned by PostgreSQL
  • Another technique for managing access to data is data redaction, which is the ability to ignore relevant data or preferentially deflect data.

Auditing

Database monitoring enables system administrators, accountants, and providers to monitor and evaluate database activity. Such audited actions involve database accessibility, as well as data creation, alteration, and deleting data. The internal audit system relies on the configuration that has already been described in the configuration file.

Make sure you log only at the required level to avoid generating a large number of log files. PostgreSQL allows users to set dumping levels on a user and database basis. Examine one’s audit logs on a regular basis for abnormal activity. Create traceability for one’s log.

Remember that an elevated logging tier coupled with password storage inside the database could result in passwords appearing in the logs. In EDB, use the edb_filter_log.redact_password_commands extension to instruct the server to redact stored passwords from the log files.

Data Encryption

If worried about information leaks during client-to-database transfers, enable SSL in the PostgreSQL.conf database to encrypt the connection between client and server. Even when the encryption process comes with transmission costs and credential management could be difficult, that’s generally a necessary procedure.

To secure communications on the per basis, use the pgcrypto contrib device. This method has a few disadvantages:

  • Based on the size of the menu, perhaps there is a performance hit
  • The encoded fields are not searchable or indexable
  • Encrypted data must be implemented only at the time of table creation, which requires advance planning
  • Data encryption managers can also be complicated

SQL Injection Attacks

An SQL injection attempts to make concessions to a file by trying to run SQL queries that provide the attacker with information about the application’s content, framework, or safety. SQL injection attacks are usually the responsibility of the software developer. Typically, database management systems have almost no power over possible threats.

Using structured query language is indeed the basic method for preventing SQL injections in PostgreSQL. To safeguard against SQL injection attacks, use the SQL/Protect subsystem with the EDB Postgres Enhanced Database. PostgreSQL/Protect provides more security to standard database security protocols by scanning inbound inquiries besides simple SQL profiles. SQL/Protect reverts to the computer programmer by notifying and obstructing them.

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Guest Writer

Anusha Vunnam, HKR Trainings
An experienced tech content writer, Anusha loves to learn new things and grow professionally. She is an expert in delivering content and training materials on tech topics as diverse as Cyberark, JBoss, Informatica Cloud, PostgreSQL tutorials, and Salesforce.