Chapter 6 Security

Table of Contents

6.1 General Security Issues
6.1.1 Security Guidelines
6.1.2 Keeping Passwords Secure
6.1.3 Making MySQL Secure Against Attackers
6.1.4 Security-Related mysqld Options and Variables
6.1.5 How to Run MySQL as a Normal User
6.1.6 Security Issues with LOAD DATA LOCAL
6.1.7 Client Programming Security Guidelines
6.2 The MySQL Access Privilege System
6.2.1 Privileges Provided by MySQL
6.2.2 Grant Tables
6.2.3 Specifying Account Names
6.2.4 Access Control, Stage 1: Connection Verification
6.2.5 Access Control, Stage 2: Request Verification
6.2.6 When Privilege Changes Take Effect
6.2.7 Troubleshooting Problems Connecting to MySQL
6.3 MySQL User Account Management
6.3.1 User Names and Passwords
6.3.2 Adding User Accounts
6.3.3 Removing User Accounts
6.3.4 Setting Account Resource Limits
6.3.5 Assigning Account Passwords
6.3.6 Pluggable Authentication
6.3.7 Proxy Users
6.3.8 SQL-Based MySQL Account Activity Auditing
6.4 Using Secure Connections
6.4.1 OpenSSL Versus yaSSL
6.4.2 Building MySQL with Support for Secure Connections
6.4.3 Secure Connection Protocols and Ciphers
6.4.4 Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections
6.4.5 Command Options for Secure Connections
6.4.6 Creating SSL Certificates and Keys Using openssl
6.4.7 Connecting to MySQL Remotely from Windows with SSH
6.5 Security Plugins
6.5.1 Authentication Plugins
6.5.2 MySQL Enterprise Audit

When thinking about security within a MySQL installation, you should consider a wide range of possible topics and how they affect the security of your MySQL server and related applications:

6.1 General Security Issues

This section describes general security issues to be aware of and what you can do to make your MySQL installation more secure against attack or misuse. For information specifically about the access control system that MySQL uses for setting up user accounts and checking database access, see Section 2.10, “Postinstallation Setup and Testing”.

For answers to some questions that are often asked about MySQL Server security issues, see Section A.9, “MySQL 5.5 FAQ: Security”.

6.1.1 Security Guidelines

Anyone using MySQL on a computer connected to the Internet should read this section to avoid the most common security mistakes.

In discussing security, it is necessary to consider fully protecting the entire server host (not just the MySQL server) against all types of applicable attacks: eavesdropping, altering, playback, and denial of service. We do not cover all aspects of availability and fault tolerance here.

MySQL uses security based on Access Control Lists (ACLs) for all connections, queries, and other operations that users can attempt to perform. There is also support for SSL-encrypted connections between MySQL clients and servers. Many of the concepts discussed here are not specific to MySQL at all; the same general ideas apply to almost all applications.

When running MySQL, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not ever give anyone (except MySQL root accounts) access to the user table in the mysql database! This is critical.

  • Learn how the MySQL access privilege system works (see Section 6.2, “The MySQL Access Privilege System”). Use the GRANT and REVOKE statements to control access to MySQL. Do not grant more privileges than necessary. Never grant privileges to all hosts.

    Checklist:

    • Try mysql -u root. If you are able to connect successfully to the server without being asked for a password, anyone can connect to your MySQL server as the MySQL root user with full privileges! Review the MySQL installation instructions, paying particular attention to the information about setting a root password. See Section 2.10.4, “Securing the Initial MySQL Accounts”.

    • Use the SHOW GRANTS statement to check which accounts have access to what. Then use the REVOKE statement to remove those privileges that are not necessary.

  • Do not store cleartext passwords in your database. If your computer becomes compromised, the intruder can take the full list of passwords and use them. Instead, use SHA2() or some other one-way hashing function and store the hash value.

    To prevent password recovery using rainbow tables, do not use these functions on a plain password; instead, choose some string to be used as a salt, and use hash(hash(password)+salt) values.

  • Do not choose passwords from dictionaries. Special programs exist to break passwords. Even passwords like xfish98 are very bad. Much better is duag98 which contains the same word fish but typed one key to the left on a standard QWERTY keyboard. Another method is to use a password that is taken from the first characters of each word in a sentence (for example, Four score and seven years ago results in a password of Fsasya). The password is easy to remember and type, but difficult to guess for someone who does not know the sentence. In this case, you can additionally substitute digits for the number words to obtain the phrase 4 score and 7 years ago, yielding the password 4sa7ya which is even more difficult to guess.

  • Invest in a firewall. This protects you from at least 50% of all types of exploits in any software. Put MySQL behind the firewall or in a demilitarized zone (DMZ).

    Checklist:

    • Try to scan your ports from the Internet using a tool such as nmap. MySQL uses port 3306 by default. This port should not be accessible from untrusted hosts. As a simple way to check whether your MySQL port is open, try the following command from some remote machine, where server_host is the host name or IP address of the host on which your MySQL server runs:

      shell> telnet server_host 3306
      

      If telnet hangs or the connection is refused, the port is blocked, which is how you want it to be. If you get a connection and some garbage characters, the port is open, and should be closed on your firewall or router, unless you really have a good reason to keep it open.

  • Applications that access MySQL should not trust any data entered by users, and should be written using proper defensive programming techniques. See Section 6.1.7, “Client Programming Security Guidelines”.

  • Do not transmit plain (unencrypted) data over the Internet. This information is accessible to everyone who has the time and ability to intercept it and use it for their own purposes. Instead, use an encrypted protocol such as SSL or SSH. MySQL supports internal SSL connections. Another technique is to use SSH port-forwarding to create an encrypted (and compressed) tunnel for the communication.

  • Learn to use the tcpdump and strings utilities. In most cases, you can check whether MySQL data streams are unencrypted by issuing a command like the following:

    shell> tcpdump -l -i eth0 -w - src or dst port 3306 | strings
    

    This works under Linux and should work with small modifications under other systems.

    Warning

    If you do not see cleartext data, this does not always mean that the information actually is encrypted. If you need high security, consult with a security expert.

6.1.2 Keeping Passwords Secure

Passwords occur in several contexts within MySQL. The following sections provide guidelines that enable end users and administrators to keep these passwords secure and avoid exposing them. There is also a discussion of how MySQL uses password hashing internally.

6.1.2.1 End-User Guidelines for Password Security

MySQL users should use the following guidelines to keep passwords secure.

When you run a client program to connect to the MySQL server, it is inadvisable to specify your password in a way that exposes it to discovery by other users. The methods you can use to specify your password when you run client programs are listed here, along with an assessment of the risks of each method. In short, the safest methods are to have the client program prompt for the password or to specify the password in a properly protected option file.

  • Use a -pyour_pass or --password=your_pass option on the command line. For example:

    shell> mysql -u francis -pfrank db_name
    

    This is convenient but insecure. On some systems, your password becomes visible to system status programs such as ps that may be invoked by other users to display command lines. MySQL clients typically overwrite the command-line password argument with zeros during their initialization sequence. However, there is still a brief interval during which the value is visible. Also, on some systems this overwriting strategy is ineffective and the password remains visible to ps. (SystemV Unix systems and perhaps others are subject to this problem.)

    If your operating environment is set up to display your current command in the title bar of your terminal window, the password remains visible as long as the command is running, even if the command has scrolled out of view in the window content area.

  • Use the -p or --password option on the command line with no password value specified. In this case, the client program solicits the password interactively:

    shell> mysql -u francis -p db_name
    Enter password: ********
    

    The * characters indicate where you enter your password. The password is not displayed as you enter it.

    It is more secure to enter your password this way than to specify it on the command line because it is not visible to other users. However, this method of entering a password is suitable only for programs that you run interactively. If you want to invoke a client from a script that runs noninteractively, there is no opportunity to enter the password from the keyboard. On some systems, you may even find that the first line of your script is read and interpreted (incorrectly) as your password.

  • Store your password in an option file. For example, on Unix, you can list your password in the [client] section of the .my.cnf file in your home directory:

    [client]
    password=your_pass
    

    To keep the password safe, the file should not be accessible to anyone but yourself. To ensure this, set the file access mode to 400 or 600. For example:

    shell> chmod 600 .my.cnf
    

    To name from the command line a specific option file containing the password, use the --defaults-file=file_name option, where file_name is the full path name to the file. For example:

    shell> mysql --defaults-file=/home/francis/mysql-opts
    

    Section 4.2.6, “Using Option Files”, discusses option files in more detail.

  • Store your password in the MYSQL_PWD environment variable. See Section 4.9, “MySQL Program Environment Variables”.

    This method of specifying your MySQL password must be considered extremely insecure and should not be used. Some versions of ps include an option to display the environment of running processes. On some systems, if you set MYSQL_PWD, your password is exposed to any other user who runs ps. Even on systems without such a version of ps, it is unwise to assume that there are no other methods by which users can examine process environments.

On Unix, the mysql client writes a record of executed statements to a history file (see Section 4.5.1.3, “mysql Logging”). By default, this file is named .mysql_history and is created in your home directory. Passwords can be written as plain text in SQL statements such as CREATE USER, GRANT, and SET PASSWORD, so if you use these statements, they are logged in the history file. To keep this file safe, use a restrictive access mode, the same way as described earlier for the .my.cnf file.

If your command interpreter is configured to maintain a history, any file in which the commands are saved will contain MySQL passwords entered on the command line. For example, bash uses ~/.bash_history. Any such file should have a restrictive access mode.

6.1.2.2 Administrator Guidelines for Password Security

Database administrators should use the following guidelines to keep passwords secure.

MySQL stores passwords for user accounts in the mysql.user table. Access to this table should never be granted to any nonadministrative accounts.

A user who has access to modify the plugin directory (the value of the plugin_dir system variable) or the my.cnf file that specifies the plugin directory location can replace plugins and modify the capabilities provided by plugins, including authentication plugins.

Files such as log files to which passwords might be written should be protected. See Section 6.1.2.3, “Passwords and Logging”.

6.1.2.3 Passwords and Logging

Passwords can be written as plain text in SQL statements such as CREATE USER, GRANT, SET PASSWORD, and statements that invoke the PASSWORD() function. If such statements are logged by the MySQL server as written, passwords in them become visible to anyone with access to the logs. This applies to the general query log, the slow query log, and the binary log (see Section 5.4, “MySQL Server Logs”).

Contents of the audit log file produced by the audit log plugin are not encrypted. For security reasons, this file should be written to a directory accessible only to the MySQL server and users with a legitimate reason to view the log. See Section 6.5.2.2, “MySQL Enterprise Audit Security Considerations”.

To guard log files against unwarranted exposure, locate them in a directory that restricts access to the server and the database administrator. If the server logs to tables in the mysql database, grant access to those tables only to the database administrator.

Replication slaves store the password for the replication master in the master.info file. Restrict this file to be accessible only to the database administrator.

Use a restricted access mode to protect database backups that include log tables or log files containing passwords.

6.1.2.4 Password Hashing in MySQL

Note

The information in this section applies only for accounts that use the mysql_native_password or mysql_old_password authentication plugins.

MySQL lists user accounts in the user table of the mysql database. Each MySQL account can be assigned a password, although the user table does not store the cleartext version of the password, but a hash value computed from it.

MySQL uses passwords in two phases of client/server communication:

  • When a client attempts to connect to the server, there is an initial authentication step in which the client must present a password that has a hash value matching the hash value stored in the user table for the account the client wants to use.

  • After the client connects, it can (if it has sufficient privileges) set or change the password hash for accounts listed in the user table. The client can do this by using the PASSWORD() function to generate a password hash, or by using a password-generating statement (CREATE USER, GRANT, or SET PASSWORD).

In other words, the server checks hash values during authentication when a client first attempts to connect. The server generates hash values if a connected client invokes the PASSWORD() function or uses a password-generating statement to set or change a password.

Password hashing methods in MySQL have the history described following. These changes are illustrated by changes in the result from the PASSWORD() function that computes password hash values and in the structure of the user table where passwords are stored.

The Original (Pre-4.1) Hashing Method

The original hashing method produced a 16-byte string. Such hashes look like this:

mysql> SELECT PASSWORD('mypass');
+--------------------+
| PASSWORD('mypass') |
+--------------------+
| 6f8c114b58f2ce9e   |
+--------------------+

To store account passwords, the Password column of the user table was at this point 16 bytes long.

The 4.1 Hashing Method

MySQL 4.1 introduced password hashing that provided better security and reduced the risk of passwords being intercepted. There were several aspects to this change:

  • Different format of password values produced by the PASSWORD() function

  • Widening of the Password column

  • Control over the default hashing method

  • Control over the permitted hashing methods for clients attempting to connect to the server

The changes in MySQL 4.1 took place in two stages:

  • MySQL 4.1.0 used a preliminary version of the 4.1 hashing method. This method was short lived and the following discussion says nothing more about it.

  • In MySQL 4.1.1, the hashing method was modified to produce a longer 41-byte hash value:

    mysql> SELECT PASSWORD('mypass');
    +-------------------------------------------+
    | PASSWORD('mypass')                        |
    +-------------------------------------------+
    | *6C8989366EAF75BB670AD8EA7A7FC1176A95CEF4 |
    +-------------------------------------------+
    

    The longer password hash format has better cryptographic properties, and client authentication based on long hashes is more secure than that based on the older short hashes.

    To accommodate longer password hashes, the Password column in the user table was changed at this point to be 41 bytes, its current length.

    A widened Password column can store password hashes in both the pre-4.1 and 4.1 formats. The format of any given hash value can be determined two ways:

    • The length: 4.1 and pre-4.1 hashes are 41 and 16 bytes, respectively.

    • Password hashes in the 4.1 format always begin with a * character, whereas passwords in the pre-4.1 format never do.

    To permit explicit generation of pre-4.1 password hashes, two additional changes were made:

    • The OLD_PASSWORD() function was added, which returns hash values in the 16-byte format.

    • For compatibility purposes, the old_passwords system variable was added, to enable DBAs and applications control over the hashing method. The default old_passwords value of 0 causes hashing to use the 4.1 method (41-byte hash values), but setting old_passwords=1 causes hashing to use the pre-4.1 method. In this case, PASSWORD() produces 16-byte values and is equivalent to OLD_PASSWORD()

    To permit DBAs control over how clients are permitted to connect, the secure_auth system variable was added. Starting the server with this variable disabled or enabled permits or prohibits clients to connect using the older pre-4.1 password hashing method. Before MySQL 5.6.5, secure_auth is disabled by default. As of 5.6.5, secure_auth is enabled by default to promote a more secure default configuration. (DBAs can disable it at their discretion, but this is not recommended.)

    In addition, the mysql client supports a --secure-auth option that is analogous to secure_auth, but from the client side. It can be used to prevent connections to less secure accounts that use pre-4.1 password hashing. This option is disabled by default before MySQL 5.6.7, enabled thereafter.

Compatibility Issues Related to Hashing Methods

The widening of the Password column in MySQL 4.1 from 16 bytes to 41 bytes affects installation or upgrade operations as follows:

  • If you perform a new installation of MySQL, the Password column is made 41 bytes long automatically.

  • Upgrades from MySQL 4.1 or later to current versions of MySQL should not give rise to any issues in regard to the Password column because both versions use the same column length and password hashing method.

  • For upgrades from a pre-4.1 release to 4.1 or later, you must upgrade the system tables after upgrading. (See Section 4.4.7, “mysql_upgrade — Check and Upgrade MySQL Tables”.)

The 4.1 hashing method is understood only by MySQL 4.1 (and higher) servers and clients, which can result in some compatibility problems. A 4.1 or higher client can connect to a pre-4.1 server, because the client understands both the pre-4.1 and 4.1 password hashing methods. However, a pre-4.1 client that attempts to connect to a 4.1 or higher server may run into difficulties. For example, a 4.0 mysql client may fail with the following error message:

shell> mysql -h localhost -u root
Client does not support authentication protocol requested
by server; consider upgrading MySQL client

This phenomenon also occurs for attempts to use the older PHP mysql extension after upgrading to MySQL 4.1 or higher. (See Common Problems with MySQL and PHP.)

The following discussion describes the differences between the pre-4.1 and 4.1 hashing methods, and what you should do if you upgrade your server but need to maintain backward compatibility with pre-4.1 clients. (However, permitting connections by old clients is not recommended and should be avoided if possible.) Additional information can be found in Section B.5.2.4, “Client does not support authentication protocol”. This information is of particular importance to PHP programmers migrating MySQL databases from versions older than 4.1 to 4.1 or higher.

The differences between short and long password hashes are relevant both for how the server uses passwords during authentication and for how it generates password hashes for connected clients that perform password-changing operations.

The way in which the server uses password hashes during authentication is affected by the width of the Password column:

  • If the column is short, only short-hash authentication is used.

  • If the column is long, it can hold either short or long hashes, and the server can use either format:

    • Pre-4.1 clients can connect, but because they know only about the pre-4.1 hashing method, they can authenticate only using accounts that have short hashes.

    • 4.1 and later clients can authenticate using accounts that have short or long hashes.

Even for short-hash accounts, the authentication process is actually a bit more secure for 4.1 and later clients than for older clients. In terms of security, the gradient from least to most secure is:

  • Pre-4.1 client authenticating with short password hash

  • 4.1 or later client authenticating with short password hash

  • 4.1 or later client authenticating with long password hash

The way in which the server generates password hashes for connected clients is affected by the width of the Password column and by the old_passwords system variable. A 4.1 or later server generates long hashes only if certain conditions are met: The Password column must be wide enough to hold long values and old_passwords must not be set to 1.

Those conditions apply as follows:

  • The Password column must be wide enough to hold long hashes (41 bytes). If the column has not been updated and still has the pre-4.1 width of 16 bytes, the server notices that long hashes cannot fit into it and generates only short hashes when a client performs password-changing operations using the PASSWORD() function or a password-generating statement. This is the behavior that occurs if you have upgraded from a version of MySQL older than 4.1 to 4.1 or later but have not yet run the mysql_upgrade program to widen the Password column.

  • If the Password column is wide, it can store either short or long password hashes. In this case, the PASSWORD() function and password-generating statements generate long hashes unless the server was started with the old_passwords system variable set to 1 to force the server to generate short password hashes instead.

The purpose of the old_passwords system variable is to permit backward compatibility with pre-4.1 clients under circumstances where the server would otherwise generate long password hashes. The option does not affect authentication (4.1 and later clients can still use accounts that have long password hashes), but it does prevent creation of a long password hash in the user table as the result of a password-changing operation. Were that permitted to occur, the account could no longer be used by pre-4.1 clients. With old_passwords disabled, the following undesirable scenario is possible:

  • An old pre-4.1 client connects to an account that has a short password hash.

  • The client changes its own password. With old_passwords disabled, this results in the account having a long password hash.

  • The next time the old client attempts to connect to the account, it cannot, because the account has a long password hash that requires the 4.1 hashing method during authentication. (Once an account has a long password hash in the user table, only 4.1 and later clients can authenticate for it because pre-4.1 clients do not understand long hashes.)

This scenario illustrates that, if you must support older pre-4.1 clients, it is problematic to run a 4.1 or higher server without old_passwords set to 1. By running the server with old_passwords=1, password-changing operations do not generate long password hashes and thus do not cause accounts to become inaccessible to older clients. (Those clients cannot inadvertently lock themselves out by changing their password and ending up with a long password hash.)

The downside of old_passwords=1 is that any passwords created or changed use short hashes, even for 4.1 or later clients. Thus, you lose the additional security provided by long password hashes. To create an account that has a long hash (for example, for use by 4.1 clients) or to change an existing account to use a long password hash, an administrator can set the session value of old_passwords set to 0 while leaving the global value set to 1:


mysql> SET @@session.old_passwords = 0;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT @@session.old_passwords, @@global.old_passwords;
+-------------------------+------------------------+
| @@session.old_passwords | @@global.old_passwords |
+-------------------------+------------------------+
|                       0 |                      1 |
+-------------------------+------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> CREATE USER 'newuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'newpass';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.03 sec)

mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR 'existinguser'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('existingpass');
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

The following scenarios are possible in MySQL 4.1 or later. The factors are whether the Password column is short or long, and, if long, whether the server is started with old_passwords enabled or disabled.

Scenario 1: Short Password column in user table:

  • Only short hashes can be stored in the Password column.

  • The server uses only short hashes during client authentication.

  • For connected clients, password hash-generating operations involving the PASSWORD() function or password-generating statements use short hashes exclusively. Any change to an account's password results in that account having a short password hash.

  • The value of old_passwords is irrelevant because with a short Password column, the server generates only short password hashes anyway.

This scenario occurs when a pre-4.1 MySQL installation has been upgraded to 4.1 or later but mysql_upgrade has not been run to upgrade the system tables in the mysql database. (This is not a recommended configuration because it does not permit use of more secure 4.1 password hashing.)

Scenario 2: Long Password column; server started with old_passwords=1:

  • Short or long hashes can be stored in the Password column.

  • 4.1 and later clients can authenticate for accounts that have short or long hashes.

  • Pre-4.1 clients can authenticate only for accounts that have short hashes.

  • For connected clients, password hash-generating operations involving the PASSWORD() function or password-generating statements use short hashes exclusively. Any change to an account's password results in that account having a short password hash.

In this scenario, newly created accounts have short password hashes because old_passwords=1 prevents generation of long hashes. Also, if you create an account with a long hash before setting old_passwords to 1, changing the account's password while old_passwords=1 results in the account being given a short password, causing it to lose the security benefits of a longer hash.

To create a new account that has a long password hash, or to change the password of any existing account to use a long hash, first set the session value of old_passwords set to 0 while leaving the global value set to 1, as described previously.

In this scenario, the server has an up to date Password column, but is running with the default password hashing method set to generate pre-4.1 hash values. This is not a recommended configuration but may be useful during a transitional period in which pre-4.1 clients and passwords are upgraded to 4.1 or later. When that has been done, it is preferable to run the server with old_passwords=0 and secure_auth=1.

Scenario 3: Long Password column; server started with old_passwords=0:

  • Short or long hashes can be stored in the Password column.

  • 4.1 and later clients can authenticate using accounts that have short or long hashes.

  • Pre-4.1 clients can authenticate only using accounts that have short hashes.

  • For connected clients, password hash-generating operations involving the PASSWORD() function or password-generating statements use long hashes exclusively. A change to an account's password results in that account having a long password hash.

As indicated earlier, a danger in this scenario is that it is possible for accounts that have a short password hash to become inaccessible to pre-4.1 clients. A change to such an account's password made using the PASSWORD() function or a password-generating statement results in the account being given a long password hash. From that point on, no pre-4.1 client can connect to the server using that account. The client must upgrade to 4.1 or later.

If this is a problem, you can change a password in a special way. For example, normally you use SET PASSWORD as follows to change an account password:

SET PASSWORD FOR 'some_user'@'some_host' = PASSWORD('mypass');

To change the password but create a short hash, use the OLD_PASSWORD() function instead:

SET PASSWORD FOR 'some_user'@'some_host' = OLD_PASSWORD('mypass');

OLD_PASSWORD() is useful for situations in which you explicitly want to generate a short hash.

The disadvantages for each of the preceding scenarios may be summarized as follows:

In scenario 1, you cannot take advantage of longer hashes that provide more secure authentication.

In scenario 2, old_passwords=1 prevents accounts with short hashes from becoming inaccessible, but password-changing operations cause accounts with long hashes to revert to short hashes unless you take care to change the session value of old_passwords to 0 first.

In scenario 3, accounts with short hashes become inaccessible to pre-4.1 clients if you change their passwords without explicitly using OLD_PASSWORD().

The best way to avoid compatibility problems related to short password hashes is to not use them:

  • Upgrade all client programs to MySQL 4.1 or later.

  • Run the server with old_passwords=0.

  • Reset the password for any account with a short password hash to use a long password hash.

  • For additional security, run the server with secure_auth=1.

6.1.2.5 Implications of Password Hashing Changes in MySQL 4.1 for Application Programs

An upgrade to MySQL version 4.1 or later can cause compatibility issues for applications that use PASSWORD() to generate passwords for their own purposes. Applications really should not do this, because PASSWORD() should be used only to manage passwords for MySQL accounts. But some applications use PASSWORD() for their own purposes anyway.

If you upgrade to 4.1 or later from a pre-4.1 version of MySQL and run the server under conditions where it generates long password hashes, an application using PASSWORD() for its own passwords breaks. The recommended course of action in such cases is to modify the application to use another function, such as SHA2(), SHA1(), or MD5(), to produce hashed values. If that is not possible, you can use the OLD_PASSWORD() function, which is provided for generate short hashes in the old format. However, you should note that OLD_PASSWORD() may one day no longer be supported.

If the server is running with old_passwords=1, it generates short hashes and OLD_PASSWORD() is equivalent to PASSWORD().

PHP programmers migrating their MySQL databases from version 4.0 or lower to version 4.1 or higher should see MySQL and PHP.

6.1.3 Making MySQL Secure Against Attackers

When you connect to a MySQL server, you should use a password. The password is not transmitted in clear text over the connection. Password handling during the client connection sequence was upgraded in MySQL 4.1.1 to be very secure. If you are still using pre-4.1.1-style passwords, the encryption algorithm is not as strong as the newer algorithm. With some effort, a clever attacker who can sniff the traffic between the client and the server can crack the password. (See Section 6.1.2.4, “Password Hashing in MySQL”, for a discussion of the different password handling methods.)

All other information is transferred as text, and can be read by anyone who is able to watch the connection. If the connection between the client and the server goes through an untrusted network, and you are concerned about this, you can use the compressed protocol to make traffic much more difficult to decipher. You can also use MySQL's internal SSL support to make the connection even more secure. See Section 6.4, “Using Secure Connections”. Alternatively, use SSH to get an encrypted TCP/IP connection between a MySQL server and a MySQL client. You can find an Open Source SSH client at http://www.openssh.org/, and a comparison of both Open Source and Commercial SSH clients at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_SSH_clients.

To make a MySQL system secure, you should strongly consider the following suggestions:

  • Require all MySQL accounts to have a password. A client program does not necessarily know the identity of the person running it. It is common for client/server applications that the user can specify any user name to the client program. For example, anyone can use the mysql program to connect as any other person simply by invoking it as mysql -u other_user db_name if other_user has no password. If all accounts have a password, connecting using another user's account becomes much more difficult.

    For a discussion of methods for setting passwords, see Section 6.3.5, “Assigning Account Passwords”.

  • Make sure that the only Unix user account with read or write privileges in the database directories is the account that is used for running mysqld.

  • Never run the MySQL server as the Unix root user. This is extremely dangerous, because any user with the FILE privilege is able to cause the server to create files as root (for example, ~root/.bashrc). To prevent this, mysqld refuses to run as root unless that is specified explicitly using the --user=root option.

    mysqld can (and should) be run as an ordinary, unprivileged user instead. You can create a separate Unix account named mysql to make everything even more secure. Use this account only for administering MySQL. To start mysqld as a different Unix user, add a user option that specifies the user name in the [mysqld] group of the my.cnf option file where you specify server options. For example:

    [mysqld]
    user=mysql
    

    This causes the server to start as the designated user whether you start it manually or by using mysqld_safe or mysql.server. For more details, see Section 6.1.5, “How to Run MySQL as a Normal User”.

    Running mysqld as a Unix user other than root does not mean that you need to change the root user name in the user table. User names for MySQL accounts have nothing to do with user names for Unix accounts.

  • Do not grant the FILE privilege to nonadministrative users. Any user that has this privilege can write a file anywhere in the file system with the privileges of the mysqld daemon. This includes the server's data directory containing the files that implement the privilege tables. To make FILE-privilege operations a bit safer, files generated with SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE do not overwrite existing files and are writable by everyone.

    The FILE privilege may also be used to read any file that is world-readable or accessible to the Unix user that the server runs as. With this privilege, you can read any file into a database table. This could be abused, for example, by using LOAD DATA to load /etc/passwd into a table, which then can be displayed with SELECT.

    To limit the location in which files can be read and written, set the secure_file_priv system to a specific directory. See Section 5.1.5, “Server System Variables”.

  • Do not grant the PROCESS or SUPER privilege to nonadministrative users. The output of mysqladmin processlist and SHOW PROCESSLIST shows the text of any statements currently being executed, so any user who is permitted to see the server process list might be able to see statements issued by other users such as UPDATE user SET password=PASSWORD('not_secure').

    mysqld reserves an extra connection for users who have the SUPER privilege, so that a MySQL root user can log in and check server activity even if all normal connections are in use.

    The SUPER privilege can be used to terminate client connections, change server operation by changing the value of system variables, and control replication servers.

  • Do not permit the use of symlinks to tables. (This capability can be disabled with the --skip-symbolic-links option.) This is especially important if you run mysqld as root, because anyone that has write access to the server's data directory then could delete any file in the system! See Section 8.12.3.2, “Using Symbolic Links for MyISAM Tables on Unix”.

  • Stored programs and views should be written using the security guidelines discussed in Section 20.6, “Access Control for Stored Programs and Views”.

  • If you do not trust your DNS, you should use IP addresses rather than host names in the grant tables. In any case, you should be very careful about creating grant table entries using host name values that contain wildcards.

  • If you want to restrict the number of connections permitted to a single account, you can do so by setting the max_user_connections variable in mysqld. The GRANT statement also supports resource control options for limiting the extent of server use permitted to an account. See Section 13.7.1.3, “GRANT Syntax”.

  • If the plugin directory is writable by the server, it may be possible for a user to write executable code to a file in the directory using SELECT ... INTO DUMPFILE. This can be prevented by making plugin_dir read only to the server or by setting --secure-file-priv to a directory where SELECT writes can be made safely.

6.1.4 Security-Related mysqld Options and Variables

The following table shows mysqld options and system variables that affect security. For descriptions of each of these, see Section 5.1.4, “Server Command Options”, and Section 5.1.5, “Server System Variables”.

Table 6.1 Security Option/Variable Summary

NameCmd-LineOption FileSystem VarStatus VarVar ScopeDynamic
allow-suspicious-udfsYesYes    
automatic_sp_privileges  Yes GlobalYes
chrootYesYes    
des-key-fileYesYes    
local_infile  Yes GlobalYes
old_passwords  Yes BothYes
safe-show-databaseYesYes    
safe-user-createYesYes    
secure-authYesYes  GlobalYes
- Variable: secure_auth  Yes GlobalYes
secure-file-privYesYes  GlobalNo
- Variable: secure_file_priv  Yes GlobalNo
skip-grant-tablesYesYes    
skip-name-resolveYesYes  GlobalNo
- Variable: skip_name_resolve  Yes GlobalNo
skip-networkingYesYes  GlobalNo
- Variable: skip_networking  Yes GlobalNo
skip-show-databaseYesYes  GlobalNo
- Variable: skip_show_database  Yes GlobalNo

6.1.5 How to Run MySQL as a Normal User

On Windows, you can run the server as a Windows service using a normal user account.

On Linux, for installations performed using a MySQL repository, RPM packages, or Debian packages, the MySQL server mysqld should be started by the local mysql operating system user. Starting by another operating system user is not supported by the init scripts that are included as part of the installation.

On Unix (or Linux for installations performed using tar or tar.gz packages) , the MySQL server mysqld can be started and run by any user. However, you should avoid running the server as the Unix root user for security reasons. To change mysqld to run as a normal unprivileged Unix user user_name, you must do the following:

  1. Stop the server if it is running (use mysqladmin shutdown).

  2. Change the database directories and files so that user_name has privileges to read and write files in them (you might need to do this as the Unix root user):

    shell> chown -R user_name /path/to/mysql/datadir
    

    If you do not do this, the server will not be able to access databases or tables when it runs as user_name.

    If directories or files within the MySQL data directory are symbolic links, chown -R might not follow symbolic links for you. If it does not, you will also need to follow those links and change the directories and files they point to.

  3. Start the server as user user_name. Another alternative is to start mysqld as the Unix root user and use the --user=user_name option. mysqld starts up, then switches to run as the Unix user user_name before accepting any connections.

  4. To start the server as the given user automatically at system startup time, specify the user name by adding a user option to the [mysqld] group of the /etc/my.cnf option file or the my.cnf option file in the server's data directory. For example:

    [mysqld]
    user=user_name
    

If your Unix machine itself is not secured, you should assign passwords to the MySQL root accounts in the grant tables. Otherwise, any user with a login account on that machine can run the mysql client with a --user=root option and perform any operation. (It is a good idea to assign passwords to MySQL accounts in any case, but especially so when other login accounts exist on the server host.) See Section 2.10.4, “Securing the Initial MySQL Accounts”.

6.1.6 Security Issues with LOAD DATA LOCAL

The LOAD DATA statement can load a file located on the server host, or, if the LOCAL keyword is specified, on the client host.

There are two potential security issues with the LOCAL version of LOAD DATA:

  • The transfer of the file from the client host to the server host is initiated by the MySQL server. In theory, a patched server could be built that would tell the client program to transfer a file of the server's choosing rather than the file named by the client in the LOAD DATA statement. Such a server could access any file on the client host to which the client user has read access. (A patched server could in fact reply with a file-transfer request to any statement, not just LOAD DATA LOCAL, so a more fundamental issue is that clients should not connect to untrusted servers.)

  • In a Web environment where the clients are connecting from a Web server, a user could use LOAD DATA LOCAL to read any files that the Web server process has read access to (assuming that a user could run any statement against the SQL server). In this environment, the client with respect to the MySQL server actually is the Web server, not a remote program being run by users who connect to the Web server.

To avoid LOAD DATA issues, clients should avoid using LOCAL. To avoid connecting to untrusted servers, clients can establish a secure connection and verify the server identity by connecting using the --ssl-verify-server-cert option and the appropriate CA certificate.

To enable adminstrators and applications to manage the local data loading capability, LOCAL configuration works like this:

  • On the server side:

    • The local_infile system variable controls server-side LOCAL capability. Depending on the local_infile setting, the server refuses or permits local data loading by clients that have LOCAL enabled on the client side. By default, local_infile is enabled.

    • To explicitly cause the server to refuse or permit LOAD DATA LOCAL statements (regardless of how client programs and libraries are configured at build time or runtime), start mysqld with local_infile disabled or enabled, respectively. local_infile can also be set at runtime.

  • On the client side:

    • The ENABLED_LOCAL_INFILE CMake option controls the compiled-in default LOCAL capability for the MySQL client library. Clients that make no explicit arrangements therefore have LOCAL capability disabled or enabled according to the ENABLED_LOCAL_INFILE setting specified at MySQL build time.

      By default, the client library in MySQL binary distributions is compiled with ENABLED_LOCAL_INFILE enabled. If you compile MySQL from source, configure it with ENABLED_LOCAL_INFILE disabled or enabled based on whether clients that make no explicit arrangements should have LOCAL capability disabled or enabled, respectively.

    • Client programs that use the C API can control load data loading explicitly by invoking mysql_options() to disable or enable the MYSQL_OPT_LOCAL_INFILE option. See Section 23.8.7.49, “mysql_options()”.

    • For the mysql client, local data loading is disabled by default. To disable or enable it explicitly, use the --local-infile=0 or --local-infile[=1] option.

    • For the mysqlimport client, local data loading is disabled by default. To disable or enable it explicitly, use the --local=0 or --local[=1] option.

    • If you use LOAD DATA LOCAL in Perl scripts or other programs that read the [client] group from option files, you can add an local-infile option setting to that group. To prevent problems for programs that do not understand this option, specify it using the loose- prefix:

      [client]
      loose-local-infile=0
      

      or:

      [client]
      loose-local-infile=1
      
    • In all cases, successful use of a LOCAL load operation by a client also requires that the server permits it.

If LOCAL capability is disabled, on either the server or client side, a client that attempts to issue a LOAD DATA LOCAL statement receives the following error message:

ERROR 1148: The used command is not allowed with this MySQL version

6.1.7 Client Programming Security Guidelines

Applications that access MySQL should not trust any data entered by users, who can try to trick your code by entering special or escaped character sequences in Web forms, URLs, or whatever application you have built. Be sure that your application remains secure if a user enters something like ; DROP DATABASE mysql;. This is an extreme example, but large security leaks and data loss might occur as a result of hackers using similar techniques, if you do not prepare for them.

A common mistake is to protect only string data values. Remember to check numeric data as well. If an application generates a query such as SELECT * FROM table WHERE ID=234 when a user enters the value 234, the user can enter the value 234 OR 1=1 to cause the application to generate the query SELECT * FROM table WHERE ID=234 OR 1=1. As a result, the server retrieves every row in the table. This exposes every row and causes excessive server load. The simplest way to protect from this type of attack is to use single quotation marks around the numeric constants: SELECT * FROM table WHERE ID='234'. If the user enters extra information, it all becomes part of the string. In a numeric context, MySQL automatically converts this string to a number and strips any trailing nonnumeric characters from it.

Sometimes people think that if a database contains only publicly available data, it need not be protected. This is incorrect. Even if it is permissible to display any row in the database, you should still protect against denial of service attacks (for example, those that are based on the technique in the preceding paragraph that causes the server to waste resources). Otherwise, your server becomes unresponsive to legitimate users.

Checklist:

  • Enable strict SQL mode to tell the server to be more restrictive of what data values it accepts. See Section 5.1.8, “Server SQL Modes”.

  • Try to enter single and double quotation marks (' and ") in all of your Web forms. If you get any kind of MySQL error, investigate the problem right away.

  • Try to modify dynamic URLs by adding %22 ("), %23 (#), and %27 (') to them.

  • Try to modify data types in dynamic URLs from numeric to character types using the characters shown in the previous examples. Your application should be safe against these and similar attacks.

  • Try to enter characters, spaces, and special symbols rather than numbers in numeric fields. Your application should remove them before passing them to MySQL or else generate an error. Passing unchecked values to MySQL is very dangerous!

  • Check the size of data before passing it to MySQL.

  • Have your application connect to the database using a user name different from the one you use for administrative purposes. Do not give your applications any access privileges they do not need.

Many application programming interfaces provide a means of escaping special characters in data values. Properly used, this prevents application users from entering values that cause the application to generate statements that have a different effect than you intend:

  • MySQL C API: Use the mysql_real_escape_string() API call.

  • MySQL++: Use the escape and quote modifiers for query streams.

  • PHP: Use either the mysqli or pdo_mysql extensions, and not the older ext/mysql extension. The preferred API's support the improved MySQL authentication protocol and passwords, as well as prepared statements with placeholders. See also Choosing an API.

    If the older ext/mysql extension must be used, then for escaping use the mysql_real_escape_string() function and not mysql_escape_string() or addslashes() because only mysql_real_escape_string() is character set-aware; the other functions can be bypassed when using (invalid) multibyte character sets.

  • Perl DBI: Use placeholders or the quote() method.

  • Ruby DBI: Use placeholders or the quote() method.

  • Java JDBC: Use a PreparedStatement object and placeholders.

Other programming interfaces might have similar capabilities.

6.2 The MySQL Access Privilege System

The primary function of the MySQL privilege system is to authenticate a user who connects from a given host and to associate that user with privileges on a database such as SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE. Additional functionality includes the ability to have anonymous users and to grant privileges for MySQL-specific functions such as LOAD DATA INFILE and administrative operations.

There are some things that you cannot do with the MySQL privilege system:

  • You cannot explicitly specify that a given user should be denied access. That is, you cannot explicitly match a user and then refuse the connection.

  • You cannot specify that a user has privileges to create or drop tables in a database but not to create or drop the database itself.

  • A password applies globally to an account. You cannot associate a password with a specific object such as a database, table, or routine.

The user interface to the MySQL privilege system consists of SQL statements such as CREATE USER, GRANT, and REVOKE. See Section 13.7.1, “Account Management Statements”.

Internally, the server stores privilege information in the grant tables of the mysql database (that is, in the database named mysql). The MySQL server reads the contents of these tables into memory when it starts and bases access-control decisions on the in-memory copies of the grant tables.

The MySQL privilege system ensures that all users may perform only the operations permitted to them. As a user, when you connect to a MySQL server, your identity is determined by the host from which you connect and the user name you specify. When you issue requests after connecting, the system grants privileges according to your identity and what you want to do.

MySQL considers both your host name and user name in identifying you because there is no reason to assume that a given user name belongs to the same person on all hosts. For example, the user joe who connects from office.example.com need not be the same person as the user joe who connects from home.example.com. MySQL handles this by enabling you to distinguish users on different hosts that happen to have the same name: You can grant one set of privileges for connections by joe from office.example.com, and a different set of privileges for connections by joe from home.example.com. To see what privileges a given account has, use the SHOW GRANTS statement. For example:

SHOW GRANTS FOR 'joe'@'office.example.com';
SHOW GRANTS FOR 'joe'@'home.example.com';

MySQL access control involves two stages when you run a client program that connects to the server:

Stage 1: The server accepts or rejects the connection based on your identity and whether you can verify your identity by supplying the correct password.

Stage 2: Assuming that you can connect, the server checks each statement you issue to determine whether you have sufficient privileges to perform it. For example, if you try to select rows from a table in a database or drop a table from the database, the server verifies that you have the SELECT privilege for the table or the DROP privilege for the database.

For a more detailed description of what happens during each stage, see Section 6.2.4, “Access Control, Stage 1: Connection Verification”, and Section 6.2.5, “Access Control, Stage 2: Request Verification”.

If your privileges are changed (either by yourself or someone else) while you are connected, those changes do not necessarily take effect immediately for the next statement that you issue. For details about the conditions under which the server reloads the grant tables, see Section 6.2.6, “When Privilege Changes Take Effect”.

For general security-related advice, see Section 6.1, “General Security Issues”. For help in diagnosing privilege-related problems, see Section 6.2.7, “Troubleshooting Problems Connecting to MySQL”.

6.2.1 Privileges Provided by MySQL

The privileges granted to a MySQL account determine which operations the account can perform. MySQL privileges differ in the contexts in which they apply and at different levels of operation:

  • Administrative privileges enable users to manage operation of the MySQL server. These privileges are global because they are not specific to a particular database.

  • Database privileges apply to a database and to all objects within it. These privileges can be granted for specific databases, or globally so that they apply to all databases.

  • Privileges for database objects such as tables, indexes, views, and stored routines can be granted for specific objects within a database, for all objects of a given type within a database (for example, all tables in a database), or globally for all objects of a given type in all databases).

Information about account privileges is stored in the user, db, host, tables_priv, columns_priv, and procs_priv tables in the mysql system database (see Section 6.2.2, “Grant Tables”). The MySQL server reads the contents of these tables into memory when it starts and reloads them under the circumstances indicated in Section 6.2.6, “When Privilege Changes Take Effect”. Access-control decisions are based on the in-memory copies of the grant tables.

Some MySQL releases introduce changes to the structure of the grant tables to add new privileges or features. To make sure that you can take advantage of any new capabilities, update your grant tables to have the current structure whenever you upgrade MySQL. See Section 4.4.7, “mysql_upgrade — Check and Upgrade MySQL Tables”.

The following table shows the privilege names used in GRANT and REVOKE statements, along with the column name associated with each privilege in the grant tables and the context in which the privilege applies.

Table 6.2 Permissible Privileges for GRANT and REVOKE

PrivilegeColumnContext
ALL [PRIVILEGES]Synonym for all privilegesServer administration
ALTERAlter_privTables
ALTER ROUTINEAlter_routine_privStored routines
CREATECreate_privDatabases, tables, or indexes
CREATE ROUTINECreate_routine_privStored routines
CREATE TABLESPACECreate_tablespace_privServer administration
CREATE TEMPORARY TABLESCreate_tmp_table_privTables
CREATE USERCreate_user_privServer administration
CREATE VIEWCreate_view_privViews
DELETEDelete_privTables
DROPDrop_privDatabases, tables, or views
EVENTEvent_privDatabases
EXECUTEExecute_privStored routines
FILEFile_privFile access on server host
GRANT OPTIONGrant_privDatabases, tables, or stored routines
INDEXIndex_privTables
INSERTInsert_privTables or columns
LOCK TABLESLock_tables_privDatabases
PROCESSProcess_privServer administration
PROXYSee proxies_priv tableServer administration
REFERENCESReferences_privDatabases or tables
RELOADReload_privServer administration
REPLICATION CLIENTRepl_client_privServer administration
REPLICATION SLAVERepl_slave_privServer administration
SELECTSelect_privTables or columns
SHOW DATABASESShow_db_privServer administration
SHOW VIEWShow_view_privViews
SHUTDOWNShutdown_privServer administration
SUPERSuper_privServer administration
TRIGGERTrigger_privTables
UPDATEUpdate_privTables or columns
USAGESynonym for no privilegesServer administration

The following list provides general descriptions of the privileges available in MySQL. Particular SQL statements might have more specific privilege requirements than indicated here. If so, the description for the statement in question provides the details.

  • The ALL or ALL PRIVILEGES privilege specifier is shorthand. It stands for all privileges available at a given privilege level (except GRANT OPTION). For example, granting ALL at the global or table level grants all global privileges or all table-level privileges.

  • The ALTER privilege enables use of the ALTER TABLE statement to change the structure of tables. ALTER TABLE also requires the CREATE and INSERT privileges. Renaming a table requires ALTER and DROP on the old table, CREATE, and INSERT on the new table.

  • The ALTER ROUTINE privilege is needed to alter or drop stored routines (procedures and functions).

  • The CREATE privilege enables creation of new databases and tables.

  • The CREATE ROUTINE privilege is needed to create stored routines (procedures and functions).

  • The CREATE TABLESPACE privilege is needed to create, alter, or drop tablespaces and log file groups.

  • The CREATE TEMPORARY TABLES privilege enables the creation of temporary tables using the CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE statement.

    However, other operations on a temporary table, such as INSERT, UPDATE, or SELECT, require additional privileges for those operations for the database containing the temporary table, or for the nontemporary table of the same name. For more information, see Section 13.1.17.3, “CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE Syntax”.

  • The CREATE USER privilege enables use of the CREATE USER, DROP USER, RENAME USER, and REVOKE ALL PRIVILEGES statements.

  • The CREATE VIEW privilege enables use of the CREATE VIEW statement.

  • The DELETE privilege enables rows to be deleted from tables in a database.

  • The DROP privilege enables you to drop (remove) existing databases, tables, and views. The DROP privilege is required in order to use the statement ALTER TABLE ... DROP PARTITION on a partitioned table. The DROP privilege is also required for TRUNCATE TABLE. If you grant the DROP privilege for the mysql database to a user, that user can drop the database in which the MySQL access privileges are stored.

  • The EVENT privilege is required to create, alter, drop, or see events for the Event Scheduler.

  • The EXECUTE privilege is required to execute stored routines (procedures and functions).

  • The FILE privilege gives you permission to read and write files on the server host using the LOAD DATA INFILE and SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE statements and the LOAD_FILE() function. A user who has the FILE privilege can read any file on the server host that is either world-readable or readable by the MySQL server. (This implies the user can read any file in any database directory, because the server can access any of those files.) The FILE privilege also enables the user to create new files in any directory where the MySQL server has write access. This includes the server's data directory containing the files that implement the privilege tables. As a security measure, the server will not overwrite existing files. As of MySQL 5.5.54, the FILE privilege is required to use the DATA DIRECTORY or INDEX DIRECTORY table option for the CREATE TABLE statement.

    To limit the location in which files can be read and written, set the secure_file_priv system to a specific directory. See Section 5.1.5, “Server System Variables”.

  • The GRANT OPTION privilege enables you to give to other users or remove from other users those privileges that you yourself possess.

  • The INDEX privilege enables you to create or drop (remove) indexes. INDEX applies to existing tables. If you have the CREATE privilege for a table, you can include index definitions in the CREATE TABLE statement.

  • The INSERT privilege enables rows to be inserted into tables in a database. INSERT is also required for the ANALYZE TABLE, OPTIMIZE TABLE, and REPAIR TABLE table-maintenance statements.

  • The LOCK TABLES privilege enables the use of explicit LOCK TABLES statements to lock tables for which you have the SELECT privilege. This includes the use of write locks, which prevents other sessions from reading the locked table.

  • The PROCESS privilege pertains to display of information about the threads executing within the server (that is, information about the statements being executed by sessions). The privilege enables use of SHOW PROCESSLIST or mysqladmin processlist to see threads belonging to other accounts; you can always see your own threads. The PROCESS privilege also enables use of SHOW ENGINE.

  • The PROXY privilege enables a user to impersonate or become known as another user. See Section 6.3.7, “Proxy Users”.

  • The REFERENCES privilege is unused before MySQL 5.5.41. As of 5.5.41, creation of a foreign key constraint requires at least one of the SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, or REFERENCES privileges for the parent table.

  • The RELOAD privilege enables use of the FLUSH statement. It also enables mysqladmin commands that are equivalent to FLUSH operations: flush-hosts, flush-logs, flush-privileges, flush-status, flush-tables, flush-threads, refresh, and reload.

    The reload command tells the server to reload the grant tables into memory. flush-privileges is a synonym for reload. The refresh command closes and reopens the log files and flushes all tables. The other flush-xxx commands perform functions similar to refresh, but are more specific and may be preferable in some instances. For example, if you want to flush just the log files, flush-logs is a better choice than refresh.

  • The REPLICATION CLIENT privilege enables the use of the SHOW MASTER STATUS and SHOW SLAVE STATUS statements. In MySQL 5.5.25 and later, it also enables the use of the SHOW BINARY LOGS statement.

  • The REPLICATION SLAVE privilege should be granted to accounts that are used by slave servers to connect to the current server as their master. Without this privilege, the slave cannot request updates that have been made to databases on the master server.

  • The SELECT privilege enables you to select rows from tables in a database. SELECT statements require the SELECT privilege only if they actually retrieve rows from a table. Some SELECT statements do not access tables and can be executed without permission for any database. For example, you can use SELECT as a simple calculator to evaluate expressions that make no reference to tables:

    SELECT 1+1;
    SELECT PI()*2;
    

    The SELECT privilege is also needed for other statements that read column values. For example, SELECT is needed for columns referenced on the right hand side of col_name=expr assignment in UPDATE statements or for columns named in the WHERE clause of DELETE or UPDATE statements.

    The SELECT privilege is also needed for tables or views being used with EXPLAIN, including any underlying tables of views.

  • The SHOW DATABASES privilege enables the account to see database names by issuing the SHOW DATABASE statement. Accounts that do not have this privilege see only databases for which they have some privileges, and cannot use the statement at all if the server was started with the --skip-show-database option. Note that any global privilege is a privilege for the database.

  • The SHOW VIEW privilege enables use of the SHOW CREATE VIEW statement. This privilege is also needed for views being used with EXPLAIN.

  • The SHUTDOWN privilege enables use of the mysqladmin shutdown command and the mysql_shutdown() C API function. There is no corresponding SQL statement.

  • The SUPER privilege enables these operations and server behaviors:

    • Enables configuration changes by modifying global system variables. For some system variables, setting the session value also requires the SUPER privilege; if so, it is indicated in the variable description. Examples include binlog_format, sql_log_bin, and sql_log_off.

    • Enables starting and stopping replication on slave servers.

    • Enables use of the CHANGE MASTER TO statement.

    • Enables binary log control by means of the PURGE BINARY LOGS and BINLOG statements.

    • Enables setting the effective authorization ID when executing a view or stored program. A user with this privilege can specify any account in the DEFINER attribute of a view or stored program.

    • Enables use of the CREATE SERVER, ALTER SERVER, and DROP SERVER statements.

    • Enables use of the mysqladmin debug command.

    • Enables reading the DES key file by the DES_ENCRYPT() function.

    • Enables control over client connections not permitted to non-SUPER accounts:

      • Enables use of the KILL statement or mysqladmin kill command to kill threads belonging to other accounts. (You can always kill your own threads.)

      • The server accepts one connection from a SUPER client even if the connection limit controlled by the max_connections system variable is reached.

      • Updates can be performed even when the read_only system variable is enabled. This applies to table updates and use of account-management statements such as GRANT and REVOKE.

      • The server does not execute init_connect system variable content when SUPER clients connect.

    You may also need the SUPER privilege to create or alter stored functions if binary logging is enabled, as described in Section 20.7, “Binary Logging of Stored Programs”.

  • The TRIGGER privilege enables trigger operations. You must have this privilege for a table to create, drop, execute, or display triggers for that table.

    When a trigger is activated (by a user who has privileges to execute INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statements for the table associated with the trigger), trigger execution requires that the user who defined the trigger still have the TRIGGER privilege.

  • The UPDATE privilege enables rows to be updated in tables in a database.

  • The USAGE privilege specifier stands for no privileges. It is used at the global level with GRANT to modify account attributes such as resource limits or SSL characteristics without naming specific account privileges. SHOW GRANTS displays USAGE to indicate that an account has no privileges at a privilege level.

It is a good idea to grant to an account only those privileges that it needs. You should exercise particular caution in granting the FILE and administrative privileges:

  • The FILE privilege can be abused to read into a database table any files that the MySQL server can read on the server host. This includes all world-readable files and files in the server's data directory. The table can then be accessed using SELECT to transfer its contents to the client host.

  • The GRANT OPTION privilege enables users to give their privileges to other users. Two users that have different privileges and with the GRANT OPTION privilege are able to combine privileges.

  • The ALTER privilege may be used to subvert the privilege system by renaming tables.

  • The SHUTDOWN privilege can be abused to deny service to other users entirely by terminating the server.

  • The PROCESS privilege can be used to view the plain text of currently executing statements, including statements that set or change passwords.

  • The SUPER privilege can be used to terminate other sessions or change how the server operates.

  • Privileges granted for the mysql database itself can be used to change passwords and other access privilege information. Passwords are stored encrypted, so a malicious user cannot simply read them to know the plain text password. However, a user with write access to the user table Password column can change an account's password, and then connect to the MySQL server using that account.

6.2.2 Grant Tables

The mysql system database includes several grant tables that contain information about user accounts and the privileges held by them. This section describes those tables. For information about other tables in the system database, see Section 5.3, “The mysql System Database”.

Normally, to manipulate the contents of grant tables, you modify them indirectly by using account-management statements such as CREATE USER, GRANT, and REVOKE to set up accounts and control the privileges available to each one. See Section 13.7.1, “Account Management Statements”. The discussion here describes the underlying structure of the grant tables and how the server uses their contents when interacting with clients.

Note

Direct modification of grant tables using statements such as INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE is discouraged and done at your own risk. The server is free to ignore rows that become malformed as a result of such modifications.

As of MySQL 5.5.55, for any operation that modifies a grant table, the server checks whether the table has the expected structure and produces an error if not. mysql_upgrade must be run to update the tables to the expected structure.

These mysql database tables contain grant information:

  • user: User accounts, global privileges, and other non-privilege columns

  • db: Database-level privileges

  • host: Obsolete

  • tables_priv: Table-level privileges

  • columns_priv: Column-level privileges

  • procs_priv: Stored procedure and function privileges

  • proxies_priv: Proxy-user privileges

Each grant table contains scope columns and privilege columns:

  • Scope columns determine the scope of each row in the tables; that is, the context in which the row applies. For example, a user table row with Host and User values of 'thomas.loc.gov' and 'bob' applies to authenticating connections made to the server from the host thomas.loc.gov by a client that specifies a user name of bob. Similarly, a db table row with Host, User, and Db column values of 'thomas.loc.gov', 'bob' and 'reports' applies when bob connects from the host thomas.loc.gov to access the reports database. The tables_priv and columns_priv tables contain scope columns indicating tables or table/column combinations to which each row applies. The procs_priv scope columns indicate the stored routine to which each row applies.

  • Privilege columns indicate which privileges a table row grants; that is, which operations it permits to be performed. The server combines the information in the various grant tables to form a complete description of a user's privileges. Section 6.2.5, “Access Control, Stage 2: Request Verification”, describes the rules for this.

The server uses the grant tables in the following manner:

  • The user table scope columns determine whether to reject or permit incoming connections. For permitted connections, any privileges granted in the user table indicate the user's global privileges. Any privileges granted in this table apply to all databases on the server.

    Caution

    Because any global privilege is considered a privilege for all databases, any global privilege enables a user to see all database names with SHOW DATABASES or by examining the SCHEMATA table of INFORMATION_SCHEMA.

  • The db table scope columns determine which users can access which databases from which hosts. The privilege columns determine the permitted operations. A privilege granted at the database level applies to the database and to all objects in the database, such as tables and stored programs.

  • The host table is used in conjunction with the db table when you want a given db table row to apply to several hosts. For example, if you want a user to be able to use a database from several hosts in your network, leave the Host value empty in the user's db table row, then populate the host table with a row for each of those hosts. This mechanism is described more detail in Section 6.2.5, “Access Control, Stage 2: Request Verification”.

    Note

    The host table must be modified directly with statements such as INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE. It is not affected by statements such as GRANT and REVOKE that modify the grant tables indirectly. Most MySQL installations need not use this table at all.

  • The tables_priv and columns_priv tables are similar to the db table, but are more fine-grained: They apply at the table and column levels rather than at the database level. A privilege granted at the table level applies to the table and to all its columns. A privilege granted at the column level applies only to a specific column.

  • The procs_priv table applies to stored routines (procedures and functions). A privilege granted at the routine level applies only to a single procedure or function.

  • The proxies_priv table indicates which users can act as proxies for other users and whether a user can grant the PROXY privilege to other users.

The server uses the user, db, and host tables in the mysql database at both the first and second stages of access control (see Section 6.2, “The MySQL Access Privilege System”). The columns in the user and db tables are shown here. The host table is similar to the db table but has a specialized use as described in Section 6.2.5, “Access Control, Stage 2: Request Verification”.

Table 6.3 user and db Table Columns

Table Nameuserdb
Scope columnsHostHost
 UserDb
 PasswordUser
Privilege columnsSelect_privSelect_priv
 Insert_privInsert_priv
 Update_privUpdate_priv
 Delete_privDelete_priv
 Index_privIndex_priv
 Alter_privAlter_priv
 Create_privCreate_priv
 Drop_privDrop_priv
 Grant_privGrant_priv
 Create_view_privCreate_view_priv
 Show_view_privShow_view_priv
 Create_routine_privCreate_routine_priv
 Alter_routine_privAlter_routine_priv
 Execute_privExecute_priv
 Trigger_privTrigger_priv
 Event_privEvent_priv
 Create_tmp_table_privCreate_tmp_table_priv
 Lock_tables_privLock_tables_priv
 References_privReferences_priv
 Reload_priv 
 Shutdown_priv 
 Process_priv 
 File_priv 
 Show_db_priv 
 Super_priv 
 Repl_slave_priv 
 Repl_client_priv 
 Create_user_priv 
 Create_tablespace_priv 
Security columnsssl_type 
 ssl_cipher 
 x509_issuer 
 x509_subject 
 plugin 
 authentication_string 
Resource control columnsmax_questions 
 max_updates 
 max_connections 
 max_user_connections 

The user table plugin, Password, and authentication_string columns store authentication plugin and credential information.

If an account row names a plugin in the plugin column, the server uses it to authenticate connection attempts for the account. It is up to the plugin whether it uses the Password and authentication_string column values.

If the plugin column for an account row is empty, the server authenticates the account using either the mysql_native_password or mysql_old_password plugin, depending on whether the password hash value in the Password column used native hashing or the older pre-4.1 hashing method. Clients must match the password in the Password column of the account row.

Prior to MySQL 5.5.11, the length of the plugin column was 60 characters. This was increased to 64 characters in MySQL 5.5.11 for compatibility with the mysql.plugin table's name column. (Bug #11766610, Bug #59752)

During the second stage of access control, the server performs request verification to ensure that each client has sufficient privileges for each request that it issues. In addition to the user, db, and host grant tables, the server may also consult the tables_priv and columns_priv tables for requests that involve tables. The latter tables provide finer privilege control at the table and column levels. They have the columns shown in the following table.

Table 6.4 tables_priv and columns_priv Table Columns

Table Nametables_privcolumns_priv
Scope columnsHostHost
 DbDb
 UserUser
 Table_nameTable_name
  Column_name
Privilege columnsTable_privColumn_priv
 Column_priv 
Other columnsTimestampTimestamp
 Grantor 

The Timestamp and Grantor columns are set to the current timestamp and the CURRENT_USER value, respectively, but are otherwise unused.

For verification of requests that involve stored routines, the server may consult the procs_priv table, which has the columns shown in the following table.

Table 6.5 procs_priv Table Columns

Table Nameprocs_priv
Scope columnsHost
 Db
 User
 Routine_name
 Routine_type
Privilege columnsProc_priv
Other columnsTimestamp
 Grantor

The Routine_type column is an ENUM column with values of 'FUNCTION' or 'PROCEDURE' to indicate the type of routine the row refers to. This column enables privileges to be granted separately for a function and a procedure with the same name.

The Timestamp and Grantor columns are unused.

The proxies_priv table records information about proxy accounts. It has these columns:

  • Host, User: The proxy account; that is, the account that has the PROXY privilege for the proxied account.

  • Proxied_host, Proxied_user: The proxied account.

  • Grantor, Timestamp: Unused.

  • With_grant: Whether the proxy account can grant the PROXY privilege to other accounts.

For an account to be able to grant the PROXY privilege to other accounts, it must have a row in the proxies_priv table with With_grant set to 1 and Proxied_host and Proxied_user set to indicate the account or accounts for which the privilege can be granted. For example, the 'root'@'localhost' account created during MySQL installation has a row in the proxies_priv table that enables granting the PROXY privilege for ''@'', that is, for all users and all hosts. This enables root to set up proxy users, as well as to delegate to other accounts the authority to set up proxy users. See Section 6.3.7, “Proxy Users”.

Scope columns in the grant tables contain strings. The default value for each is the empty string. The following table shows the number of characters permitted in each column.

Table 6.6 Grant Table Scope Column Lengths

Column NameMaximum Permitted Characters
Host, Proxied_host60
User, Proxied_user16
Password41
Db64
Table_name64
Column_name64
Routine_name64

For access-checking purposes, comparisons of User, Proxied_user, Password, Db, and Table_name values are case sensitive. Comparisons of Host, Proxied_host, Column_name, and Routine_name values are not case sensitive.

The user, db, and host tables list each privilege in a separate column that is declared as ENUM('N','Y') DEFAULT 'N'. In other words, each privilege can be disabled or enabled, with the default being disabled.

The tables_priv, columns_priv, and procs_priv tables declare the privilege columns as SET columns. Values in these columns can contain any combination of the privileges controlled by the table. Only those privileges listed in the column value are enabled.

Table 6.7 Set-Type Privilege Column Values

Table NameColumn NamePossible Set Elements
tables_privTable_priv'Select', 'Insert', 'Update', 'Delete', 'Create', 'Drop', 'Grant', 'References', 'Index', 'Alter', 'Create View', 'Show view', 'Trigger'
tables_privColumn_priv'Select', 'Insert', 'Update', 'References'
columns_privColumn_priv'Select', 'Insert', 'Update', 'References'
procs_privProc_priv'Execute', 'Alter Routine', 'Grant'

Only the user table specifies administrative privileges, such as RELOAD and SHUTDOWN. Administrative operations are operations on the server itself and are not database-specific, so there is no reason to list these privileges in the other grant tables. Consequently, the server need consult only the user table to determine whether a user can perform an administrative operation.

The FILE privilege also is specified only in the user table. It is not an administrative privilege as such, but a user's ability to read or write files on the server host is independent of the database being accessed.

The server reads the contents of the grant tables into memory when it starts. You can tell it to reload the tables by issuing a FLUSH PRIVILEGES statement or executing a mysqladmin flush-privileges or mysqladmin reload command. Changes to the grant tables take effect as indicated in Section 6.2.6, “When Privilege Changes Take Effect”.

When you modify an account, it is a good idea to verify that your changes have the intended effect. To check the privileges for a given account, use the SHOW GRANTS statement. For example, to determine the privileges that are granted to an account with user name and host name values of bob and pc84.example.com, use this statement:

SHOW GRANTS FOR 'bob'@'pc84.example.com';

6.2.3 Specifying Account Names

MySQL account names consist of a user name and a host name. This enables creation of accounts for users with the same name who can connect from different hosts. This section describes how to write account names, including special values and wildcard rules.

In SQL statements such as CREATE USER, GRANT, and SET PASSWORD, account names follow these rules:

  • Account name syntax is 'user_name'@'host_name'.

  • An account name consisting only of a user name is equivalent to 'user_name'@'%'. For example, 'me' is equivalent to 'me'@'%'.

  • The user name and host name need not be quoted if they are legal as unquoted identifiers. Quotes are necessary to specify a user_name string containing special characters (such as space or -), or a host_name string containing special characters or wildcard characters (such as . or %); for example, 'test-user'@'%.com'.

  • Quote user names and host names as identifiers or as strings, using either backticks (`), single quotation marks ('), or double quotation marks ("). For string-quoting and identifier-quoting guidelines, see Section 9.1.1, “String Literals”, and Section 9.2, “Schema Object Names”.

  • The user name and host name parts, if quoted, must be quoted separately. That is, write 'me'@'localhost', not 'me@localhost'; the latter is actually equivalent to 'me@localhost'@'%'.

  • A reference to the CURRENT_USER or CURRENT_USER() function is equivalent to specifying the current client's user name and host name literally.

MySQL stores account names in grant tables in the mysql system database using separate columns for the user name and host name parts:

  • The user table contains one row for each account. The User and Host columns store the user name and host name. This table also indicates which global privileges the account has.

  • Other grant tables indicate privileges an account has for databases and objects within databases. These tables have User and Host columns to store the account name. Each row in these tables associates with the account in the user table that has the same User and Host values.

  • For access-checking purposes, comparisons of User values are case sensitive. Comparisons of Host values are not case sensitive.

For additional detail about grant table structure, see Section 6.2.2, “Grant Tables”.

User names and host names have certain special values or wildcard conventions, as described following.

The user name part of an account name is either a nonblank value that literally matches the user name for incoming connection attempts, or a blank value (empty string) that matches any user name. An account with a blank user name is an anonymous user. To specify an anonymous user in SQL statements, use a quoted empty user name part, such as ''@'localhost'.

The host name part of an account name can take many forms, and wildcards are permitted:

  • A host value can be a host name or an IP address (IPv4 or IPv6). The name 'localhost' indicates the local host. The IP address '127.0.0.1' indicates the IPv4 loopback interface. The IP address '::1' indicates the IPv6 loopback interface.

  • The % and _ wildcard characters are permitted in host name or IP address values. These have the same meaning as for pattern-matching operations performed with the LIKE operator. For example, a host value of '%' matches any host name, whereas a value of '%.mysql.com' matches any host in the mysql.com domain. '192.168.1.%' matches any host in the 192.168.1 class C network.

    Because IP wildcard values are permitted in host values (for example, '192.168.1.%' to match every host on a subnet), someone could try to exploit this capability by naming a host 192.168.1.somewhere.com. To foil such attempts, MySQL does not perform matching on host names that start with digits and a dot. For example, if a host is named 1.2.example.com, its name never matches the host part of account names. An IP wildcard value can match only IP addresses, not host names.

  • For a host value specified as an IPv4 address, a netmask can be given to indicate how many address bits to use for the network number. Netmask notation cannot be used for IPv6 addresses.

    The syntax is host_ip/netmask. For example:

    CREATE USER 'david'@'192.58.197.0/255.255.255.0';
    

    This enables david to connect from any client host having an IP address client_ip for which the following condition is true:

    client_ip & netmask = host_ip
    

    That is, for the CREATE USER statement just shown:

    client_ip & 255.255.255.0 = 192.58.197.0
    

    IP addresses that satisfy this condition range from 192.58.197.0 to 192.58.197.255.

    A netmask typically begins with bits set to 1, followed by bits set to 0. Examples:

    • 192.0.0.0/255.0.0.0: Any host on the 192 class A network

    • 192.168.0.0/255.255.0.0: Any host on the 192.168 class B network

    • 192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0: Any host on the 192.168.1 class C network

    • 192.168.1.1: Only the host with this specific IP address

The server performs matching of host values in account names against the client host using the value returned by the system DNS resolver for the client host name or IP address. Except in the case that the account host value is specified using netmask notation, the server performs this comparison as a string match, even for an account host value given as an IP address. This means that you should specify account host values in the same format used by DNS. Here are examples of problems to watch out for:

  • Suppose that a host on the local network has a fully qualified name of host1.example.com. If DNS returns name lookups for this host as host1.example.com, use that name in account host values. If DNS returns just host1, use host1 instead.

  • If DNS returns the IP address for a given host as 192.168.1.2, that will match an account host value of 192.168.1.2 but not 192.168.01.2. Similarly, it will match an account host pattern like 192.168.1.% but not 192.168.01.%.

To avoid problems like these, it is advisable to check the format in which your DNS returns host names and addresses. Use values in the same format in MySQL account names.

6.2.4 Access Control, Stage 1: Connection Verification

When you attempt to connect to a MySQL server, the server accepts or rejects the connection based on your identity and whether you can verify your identity by supplying the correct password. If not, the server denies access to you completely. Otherwise, the server accepts the connection, and then enters Stage 2 and waits for requests.

Credential checking is performed using the three user table scope columns (Host, User, and Password). The server accepts the connection only if the Host and User columns in some user table row match the client host name and user name and the client supplies the password specified in that row. The rules for permissible Host and User values are given in Section 6.2.3, “Specifying Account Names”.

Your identity is based on two pieces of information:

  • The client host from which you connect

  • Your MySQL user name

If the User column value is nonblank, the user name in an incoming connection must match exactly. If the User value is blank, it matches any user name. If the user table row that matches an incoming connection has a blank user name, the user is considered to be an anonymous user with no name, not a user with the name that the client actually specified. This means that a blank user name is used for all further access checking for the duration of the connection (that is, during Stage 2).

The Password column can be blank. This is not a wildcard and does not mean that any password matches. It means that the user must connect without specifying a password. If the server authenticates a client using a plugin, the authentication method that the plugin implements may or may not use the password in the Password column. In this case, it is possible that an external password is also used to authenticate to the MySQL server.

Nonblank Password values in the user table represent encrypted passwords. MySQL does not store passwords in cleartext form for anyone to see. Rather, the password supplied by a user who is attempting to connect is encrypted (using the PASSWORD() function). The encrypted password then is used during the connection process when checking whether the password is correct. This is done without the encrypted password ever traveling over the connection. See Section 6.3.1, “User Names and Passwords”.

From MySQL's point of view, the encrypted password is the real password, so you should never give anyone access to it. In particular, do not give nonadministrative users read access to tables in the mysql database.

The following table shows how various combinations of User and Host values in the user table apply to incoming connections.

User ValueHost ValuePermissible Connections
'fred''thomas.loc.gov'fred, connecting from thomas.loc.gov
'''thomas.loc.gov'Any user, connecting from thomas.loc.gov
'fred''%'fred, connecting from any host
'''%'Any user, connecting from any host
'fred''%.loc.gov'fred, connecting from any host in the loc.gov domain
'fred''x.y.%'fred, connecting from x.y.net, x.y.com, x.y.edu, and so on; this is probably not useful
'fred''192.168.10.177'fred, connecting from the host with IP address 192.168.10.177
'fred''192.168.10.%'fred, connecting from any host in the 192.168.10 class C subnet
'fred''192.168.10.0/255.255.255.0'Same as previous example

It is possible for the client host name and user name of an incoming connection to match more than one row in the user table. The preceding set of examples demonstrates this: Several of the entries shown match a connection from thomas.loc.gov by fred.

When multiple matches are possible, the server must determine which of them to use. It resolves this issue as follows:

  • Whenever the server reads the user table into memory, it sorts the rows.

  • When a client attempts to connect, the server looks through the rows in sorted order.

  • The server uses the first row that matches the client host name and user name.

The server uses sorting rules that order rows with the most-specific Host values first. Literal host names and IP addresses are the most specific. (The specificity of a literal IP address is not affected by whether it has a netmask, so 192.168.1.13 and 192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0 are considered equally specific.) The pattern '%' means any host and is least specific. The empty string '' also means any host but sorts after '%'. Rows with the same Host value are ordered with the most-specific User values first (a blank User value means any user and is least specific). For rows with equally-specific Host and User values, the order is indeterminate.

To see how this works, suppose that the user table looks like this:

+-----------+----------+-
| Host      | User     | ...
+-----------+----------+-
| %         | root     | ...
| %         | jeffrey  | ...
| localhost | root     | ...
| localhost |          | ...
+-----------+----------+-

When the server reads the table into memory, it sorts the rows using the rules just described. The result after sorting looks like this:

+-----------+----------+-
| Host      | User     | ...
+-----------+----------+-
| localhost | root     | ...
| localhost |          | ...
| %         | jeffrey  | ...
| %         | root     | ...
+-----------+----------+-

When a client attempts to connect, the server looks through the sorted rows and uses the first match found. For a connection from localhost by jeffrey, two of the rows from the table match: the one with Host and User values of 'localhost' and '', and the one with values of '%' and 'jeffrey'. The 'localhost' row appears first in sorted order, so that is the one the server uses.

Here is another example. Suppose that the user table looks like this:

+----------------+----------+-
| Host           | User     | ...
+----------------+----------+-
| %              | jeffrey  | ...
| thomas.loc.gov |          | ...
+----------------+----------+-

The sorted table looks like this:

+----------------+----------+-
| Host           | User     | ...
+----------------+----------+-
| thomas.loc.gov |          | ...
| %              | jeffrey  | ...
+----------------+----------+-

A connection by jeffrey from thomas.loc.gov is matched by the first row, whereas a connection by jeffrey from any host is matched by the second.

Note

It is a common misconception to think that, for a given user name, all rows that explicitly name that user are used first when the server attempts to find a match for the connection. This is not true. The preceding example illustrates this, where a connection from thomas.loc.gov by jeffrey is first matched not by the row containing 'jeffrey' as the User column value, but by the row with no user name. As a result, jeffrey is authenticated as an anonymous user, even though he specified a user name when connecting.

If you are able to connect to the server, but your privileges are not what you expect, you probably are being authenticated as some other account. To find out what account the server used to authenticate you, use the CURRENT_USER() function. (See Section 12.14, “Information Functions”.) It returns a value in user_name@host_name format that indicates the User and Host values from the matching user table row. Suppose that jeffrey connects and issues the following query:

mysql> SELECT CURRENT_USER();
+----------------+
| CURRENT_USER() |
+----------------+
| @localhost     |
+----------------+

The result shown here indicates that the matching user table row had a blank User column value. In other words, the server is treating jeffrey as an anonymous user.

Another way to diagnose authentication problems is to print out the user table and sort it by hand to see where the first match is being made.

6.2.5 Access Control, Stage 2: Request Verification

After you establish a connection, the server enters Stage 2 of access control. For each request that you issue through that connection, the server determines what operation you want to perform, then checks whether you have sufficient privileges to do so. This is where the privilege columns in the grant tables come into play. These privileges can come from any of the user, db, host, tables_priv, columns_priv, or procs_priv tables. (You may find it helpful to refer to Section 6.2.2, “Grant Tables”, which lists the columns present in each of the grant tables.)

The user table grants privileges that are assigned to you on a global basis and that apply no matter what the default database is. For example, if the user table grants you the DELETE privilege, you can delete rows from any table in any database on the server host! It is wise to grant privileges in the user table only to people who need them, such as database administrators. For other users, you should leave all privileges in the user table set to 'N' and grant privileges at more specific levels only. You can grant privileges for particular databases, tables, columns, or routines.

The db and host tables grant database-specific privileges. Values in the scope columns of these tables can take the following forms:

  • A blank User value in the db table matches the anonymous user. A nonblank value matches literally; there are no wildcards in user names.

  • The wildcard characters % and _ can be used in the Host and Db columns of either table. These have the same meaning as for pattern-matching operations performed with the LIKE operator. If you want to use either character literally when granting privileges, you must escape it with a backslash. For example, to include the underscore character (_) as part of a database name, specify it as \_ in the GRANT statement.

  • A '%' Host value in the db table means any host. A blank Host value in the db table means consult the host table for further information (a process that is described later in this section).

  • A '%' or blank Host value in the host table means any host.

  • A '%' or blank Db value in either table means any database.

The server reads the db and host tables into memory and sorts them at the same time that it reads the user table. The server sorts the db table based on the Host, Db, and User scope columns, and sorts the host table based on the Host and Db scope columns. As with the user table, sorting puts the most-specific values first and least-specific values last, and when the server looks for matching rows, it uses the first match that it finds.

The tables_priv, columns_priv, and procs_priv tables grant table-specific, column-specific, and routine-specific privileges. Values in the scope columns of these tables can take the following forms:

  • The wildcard characters % and _ can be used in the Host column. These have the same meaning as for pattern-matching operations performed with the LIKE operator.

  • A '%' or blank Host value means any host.

  • The Db, Table_name, Column_name, and Routine_name columns cannot contain wildcards or be blank.

The server sorts the tables_priv, columns_priv, and procs_priv tables based on the Host, Db, and User columns. This is similar to db table sorting, but simpler because only the Host column can contain wildcards.

The server uses the sorted tables to verify each request that it receives. For requests that require administrative privileges such as SHUTDOWN or RELOAD, the server checks only the user table row because that is the only table that specifies administrative privileges. The server grants access if the row permits the requested operation and denies access otherwise. For example, if you want to execute mysqladmin shutdown but your user table row does not grant the SHUTDOWN privilege to you, the server denies access without even checking the db or host tables. (They contain no Shutdown_priv column, so there is no need to do so.)

For database-related requests (INSERT, UPDATE, and so on), the server first checks the user's global privileges by looking in the user table row. If the row permits the requested operation, access is granted. If the global privileges in the user table are insufficient, the server determines the user's database-specific privileges by checking the db and host tables:

  1. The server looks in the db table for a match on the Host, Db, and User columns. The Host and User columns are matched to the connecting user's host name and MySQL user name. The Db column is matched to the database that the user wants to access. If there is no row for the Host and User, access is denied.

  2. If there is a matching db table row and its Host column is not blank, that row defines the user's database-specific privileges.

  3. If the matching db table row's Host column is blank, it signifies that the host table enumerates which hosts should be permitted access to the database. In this case, a further lookup is done in the host table to find a match on the Host and Db columns. If no host table row matches, access is denied. If there is a match, the user's database-specific privileges are computed as the intersection (not the union!) of the privileges in the db and host table rows; that is, the privileges that are 'Y' in both rows. (This way you can grant general privileges in the db table row and then selectively restrict them on a host-by-host basis using the host table rows.)

After determining the database-specific privileges granted by the db and host table rows, the server adds them to the global privileges granted by the user table. If the result permits the requested operation, access is granted. Otherwise, the server successively checks the user's table and column privileges in the tables_priv and columns_priv tables, adds those to the user's privileges, and permits or denies access based on the result. For stored-routine operations, the server uses the procs_priv table rather than tables_priv and columns_priv.

Expressed in boolean terms, the preceding description of how a user's privileges are calculated may be summarized like this:

global privileges
OR (database privileges AND host privileges)
OR table privileges
OR column privileges
OR routine privileges

It may not be apparent why, if the global user row privileges are initially found to be insufficient for the requested operation, the server adds those privileges to the database, table, and column privileges later. The reason is that a request might require more than one type of privilege. For example, if you execute an INSERT INTO ... SELECT statement, you need both the INSERT and the SELECT privileges. Your privileges might be such that the user table row grants one privilege and the db table row grants the other. In this case, you have the necessary privileges to perform the request, but the server cannot tell that from either table by itself; the privileges granted by the rows in both tables must be combined.

The host table is not affected by the GRANT or REVOKE statements, so it is unused in most MySQL installations. If you modify it directly, you can use it for some specialized purposes, such as to maintain a list of secure servers on the local network that are granted all privileges.

You can also use the host table to indicate hosts that are not secure. Suppose that you have a machine public.your.domain that is located in a public area that you do not consider secure. You can enable access to all hosts on your network except that machine by using host table rows like this:

+--------------------+----+-
| Host               | Db | ...
+--------------------+----+-
| public.your.domain | %  | ... (all privileges set to 'N')
| %.your.domain      | %  | ... (all privileges set to 'Y')
+--------------------+----+-

6.2.6 When Privilege Changes Take Effect

When mysqld starts, it reads all grant table contents into memory. The in-memory tables become effective for access control at that point.

If you modify the grant tables indirectly using account-management statements such as GRANT, REVOKE, SET PASSWORD, or RENAME USER, the server notices these changes and loads the grant tables into memory again immediately.

If you modify the grant tables directly using statements such as INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE, your changes have no effect on privilege checking until you either restart the server or tell it to reload the tables. If you change the grant tables directly but forget to reload them, your changes have no effect until you restart the server. This may leave you wondering why your changes seem to make no difference!

To tell the server to reload the grant tables, perform a flush-privileges operation. This can be done by issuing a FLUSH PRIVILEGES statement or by executing a mysqladmin flush-privileges or mysqladmin reload command.

A grant table reload affects privileges for each existing client connection as follows:

  • Table and column privilege changes take effect with the client's next request.

  • Database privilege changes take effect the next time the client executes a USE db_name statement.

    Note

    Client applications may cache the database name; thus, this effect may not be visible to them without actually changing to a different database.

  • Global privileges and passwords are unaffected for a connected client. These changes take effect only for subsequent connections.

If the server is started with the --skip-grant-tables option, it does not read the grant tables or implement any access control. Anyone can connect and do anything, which is insecure. To cause a server thus started to read the tables and enable access checking, flush the privileges.

6.2.7 Troubleshooting Problems Connecting to MySQL

If you encounter problems when you try to connect to the MySQL server, the following items describe some courses of action you can take to correct the problem.

  • Make sure that the server is running. If it is not, clients cannot connect to it. For example, if an attempt to connect to the server fails with a message such as one of those following, one cause might be that the server is not running:

    shell> mysql
    ERROR 2003: Can't connect to MySQL server on 'host_name' (111)
    shell> mysql
    ERROR 2002: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket
    '/tmp/mysql.sock' (111)
    
  • It might be that the server is running, but you are trying to connect using a TCP/IP port, named pipe, or Unix socket file different from the one on which the server is listening. To correct this when you invoke a client program, specify a --port option to indicate the proper port number, or a --socket option to indicate the proper named pipe or Unix socket file. To find out where the socket file is, you can use this command:

    shell> netstat -ln | grep mysql
    
  • Make sure that the server has not been configured to ignore network connections or (if you are attempting to connect remotely) that it has not been configured to listen only locally on its network interfaces. If the server was started with --skip-networking, it will not accept TCP/IP connections at all. If the server was started with --bind-address=127.0.0.1, it will listen for TCP/IP connections only locally on the loopback interface and will not accept remote connections.

  • Check to make sure that there is no firewall blocking access to MySQL. Your firewall may be configured on the basis of the application being executed, or the port number used by MySQL for communication (3306 by default). Under Linux or Unix, check your IP tables (or similar) configuration to ensure that the port has not been blocked. Under Windows, applications such as ZoneAlarm or the Windows XP personal firewall may need to be configured not to block the MySQL port.

  • The grant tables must be properly set up so that the server can use them for access control. For some distribution types (such as binary distributions on Windows, or RPM distributions on Linux), the installation process initializes the MySQL data directory, including the mysql database containing the grant tables. For distributions that do not do this, you must initialize the data directory manually. For details, see Section 2.10, “Postinstallation Setup and Testing”.

    To determine whether you need to initialize the grant tables, look for a mysql directory under the data directory. (The data directory normally is named data or var and is located under your MySQL installation directory.) Make sure that you have a file named user.MYD in the mysql database directory. If not, initialize the data directory. After doing so and starting the server, test the initial privileges by executing this command:

    shell> mysql -u root
    

    The server should let you connect without error.

  • After a fresh installation, you should connect to the server and set up your users and their access permissions:

    shell> mysql -u root mysql
    

    The server should let you connect because the MySQL root user has no password initially. That is also a security risk, so setting the password for the root accounts is something you should do while you're setting up your other MySQL accounts. For instructions on setting the initial passwords, see Section 2.10.4, “Securing the Initial MySQL Accounts”.

  • If you have updated an existing MySQL installation to a newer version, did you run the mysql_upgrade script? If not, do so. The structure of the grant tables changes occasionally when new capabilities are added, so after an upgrade you should always make sure that your tables have the current structure. For instructions, see Section 4.4.7, “mysql_upgrade — Check and Upgrade MySQL Tables”.

  • If a client program receives the following error message when it tries to connect, it means that the server expects passwords in a newer format than the client is capable of generating:

    shell> mysql
    Client does not support authentication protocol requested
    by server; consider upgrading MySQL client
    

    For information on how to deal with this, see Section 6.1.2.4, “Password Hashing in MySQL”, and Section B.5.2.4, “Client does not support authentication protocol”.

  • Remember that client programs use connection parameters specified in option files or environment variables. If a client program seems to be sending incorrect default connection parameters when you have not specified them on the command line, check any applicable option files and your environment. For example, if you get Access denied when you run a client without any options, make sure that you have not specified an old password in any of your option files!

    You can suppress the use of option files by a client program by invoking it with the --no-defaults option. For example:

    shell> mysqladmin --no-defaults -u root version
    

    The option files that clients use are listed in Section 4.2.6, “Using Option Files”. Environment variables are listed in Section 4.9, “MySQL Program Environment Variables”.

  • If you get the following error, it means that you are using an incorrect root password:

    shell> mysqladmin -u root -pxxxx ver
    Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost' (using password: YES)
    

    If the preceding error occurs even when you have not specified a password, it means that you have an incorrect password listed in some option file. Try the --no-defaults option as described in the previous item.

    For information on changing passwords, see Section 6.3.5, “Assigning Account Passwords”.

    If you have lost or forgotten the root password, see Section B.5.3.2, “How to Reset the Root Password”.

  • If you change a password by using SET PASSWORD, INSERT, or UPDATE, you must encrypt the password using the PASSWORD() function. If you do not use PASSWORD() for these statements, the password will not work. For example, the following statement assigns a password, but fails to encrypt it, so the user is not able to connect afterward:

    SET PASSWORD FOR 'abe'@'host_name' = 'eagle';
    

    Instead, set the password like this:

    SET PASSWORD FOR 'abe'@'host_name' = PASSWORD('eagle');
    

    The PASSWORD() function is unnecessary when you specify a password using the CREATE USER or GRANT statements or the mysqladmin password command. Each of those automatically uses PASSWORD() to encrypt the password. See Section 6.3.5, “Assigning Account Passwords”, and Section 13.7.1.1, “CREATE USER Syntax”.

  • localhost is a synonym for your local host name, and is also the default host to which clients try to connect if you specify no host explicitly.

    You can use a --host=127.0.0.1 option to name the server host explicitly. This will make a TCP/IP connection to the local mysqld server. You can also use TCP/IP by specifying a --host option that uses the actual host name of the local host. In this case, the host name must be specified in a user table row on the server host, even though you are running the client program on the same host as the server.

  • The Access denied error message tells you who you are trying to log in as, the client host from which you are trying to connect, and whether you were using a password. Normally, you should have one row in the user table that exactly matches the host name and user name that were given in the error message. For example, if you get an error message that contains using password: NO, it means that you tried to log in without a password.

  • If you get an Access denied error when trying to connect to the database with mysql -u user_name, you may have a problem with the user table. Check this by executing mysql -u root mysql and issuing this SQL statement:

    SELECT * FROM user;
    

    The result should include a row with the Host and User columns matching your client's host name and your MySQL user name.

  • If the following error occurs when you try to connect from a host other than the one on which the MySQL server is running, it means that there is no row in the user table with a Host value that matches the client host:

    Host ... is not allowed to connect to this MySQL server
    

    You can fix this by setting up an account for the combination of client host name and user name that you are using when trying to connect.

    If you do not know the IP address or host name of the machine from which you are connecting, you should put a row with '%' as the Host column value in the user table. After trying to connect from the client machine, use a SELECT USER() query to see how you really did connect. Then change the '%' in the user table row to the actual host name that shows up in the log. Otherwise, your system is left insecure because it permits connections from any host for the given user name.

    On Linux, another reason that this error might occur is that you are using a binary MySQL version that is compiled with a different version of the glibc library than the one you are using. In this case, you should either upgrade your operating system or glibc, or download a source distribution of MySQL version and compile it yourself. A source RPM is normally trivial to compile and install, so this is not a big problem.

  • If you specify a host name when trying to connect, but get an error message where the host name is not shown or is an IP address, it means that the MySQL server got an error when trying to resolve the IP address of the client host to a name:

    shell> mysqladmin -u root -pxxxx -h some_hostname ver
    Access denied for user 'root'@'' (using password: YES)
    

    If you try to connect as root and get the following error, it means that you do not have a row in the user table with a User column value of 'root' and that mysqld cannot resolve the host name for your client:

    Access denied for user ''@'unknown'
    

    These errors indicate a DNS problem. To fix it, execute mysqladmin flush-hosts to reset the internal DNS host cache. See Section 8.12.5.2, “DNS Lookup Optimization and the Host Cache”.

    Some permanent solutions are:

    • Determine what is wrong with your DNS server and fix it.

    • Specify IP addresses rather than host names in the MySQL grant tables.

    • Put an entry for the client machine name in /etc/hosts on Unix or \windows\hosts on Windows.

    • Start mysqld with the --skip-name-resolve option.

    • Start mysqld with the --skip-host-cache option.

    • On Unix, if you are running the server and the client on the same machine, connect to localhost. For connections to localhost, MySQL programs attempt to connect to the local server by using a Unix socket file, unless there are connection parameters specified to ensure that the client makes a TCP/IP connection. For more information, see Section 4.2.2, “Connecting to the MySQL Server”.

    • On Windows, if you are running the server and the client on the same machine and the server supports named pipe connections, connect to the host name . (period). Connections to . use a named pipe rather than TCP/IP.

  • If mysql -u root works but mysql -h your_hostname -u root results in Access denied (where your_hostname is the actual host name of the local host), you may not have the correct name for your host in the user table. A common problem here is that the Host value in the user table row specifies an unqualified host name, but your system's name resolution routines return a fully qualified domain name (or vice versa). For example, if you have a row with host 'pluto' in the user table, but your DNS tells MySQL that your host name is 'pluto.example.com', the row does not work. Try adding a row to the user table that contains the IP address of your host as the Host column value. (Alternatively, you could add a row to the user table with a Host value that contains a wildcard; for example, 'pluto.%'. However, use of Host values ending with % is insecure and is not recommended!)

  • If mysql -u user_name works but mysql -u user_name some_db does not, you have not granted access to the given user for the database named some_db.

  • If mysql -u user_name works when executed on the server host, but mysql -h host_name -u user_name does not work when executed on a remote client host, you have not enabled access to the server for the given user name from the remote host.

  • If you cannot figure out why you get Access denied, remove from the user table all rows that have Host values containing wildcards (rows that contain '%' or '_' characters). A very common error is to insert a new row with Host='%' and User='some_user', thinking that this enables you to specify localhost to connect from the same machine. The reason that this does not work is that the default privileges include a row with Host='localhost' and User=''. Because that row has a Host value 'localhost' that is more specific than '%', it is used in preference to the new row when connecting from localhost! The correct procedure is to insert a second row with Host='localhost' and User='some_user', or to delete the row with Host='localhost' and User=''. After deleting the row, remember to issue a FLUSH PRIVILEGES statement to reload the grant tables. See also Section 6.2.4, “Access Control, Stage 1: Connection Verification”.

  • If you are able to connect to the MySQL server, but get an Access denied message whenever you issue a SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE or LOAD DATA INFILE statement, your row in the user table does not have the FILE privilege enabled.

  • If you change the grant tables directly (for example, by using INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statements) and your changes seem to be ignored, remember that you must execute a FLUSH PRIVILEGES statement or a mysqladmin flush-privileges command to cause the server to reload the privilege tables. Otherwise, your changes have no effect until the next time the server is restarted. Remember that after you change the root password with an UPDATE statement, you will not need to specify the new password until after you flush the privileges, because the server will not know you've changed the password yet!

  • If your privileges seem to have changed in the middle of a session, it may be that a MySQL administrator has changed them. Reloading the grant tables affects new client connections, but it also affects existing connections as indicated in Section 6.2.6, “When Privilege Changes Take Effect”.

  • If you have access problems with a Perl, PHP, Python, or ODBC program, try to connect to the server with mysql -u user_name db_name or mysql -u user_name -pyour_pass db_name. If you are able to connect using the mysql client, the problem lies with your program, not with the access privileges. (There is no space between -p and the password; you can also use the --password=your_pass syntax to specify the password. If you use the -p or --password option with no password value, MySQL prompts you for the password.)

  • For testing purposes, start the mysqld server with the --skip-grant-tables option. Then you can change the MySQL grant tables and use the mysqlaccess script to check whether your modifications have the desired effect. When you are satisfied with your changes, execute mysqladmin flush-privileges to tell the mysqld server to reload the privileges. This enables you to begin using the new grant table contents without stopping and restarting the server.

  • If you get the following error, you may have a problem with the db or host table:

    Access to database denied
    

    If the row selected from the db table has an empty value in the Host column, make sure that there are one or more corresponding rows in the host table specifying which hosts the db table row applies to. This problem occurs infrequently because the host table is rarely used.

  • If everything else fails, start the mysqld server with a debugging option (for example, --debug=d,general,query). This prints host and user information about attempted connections, as well as information about each command issued. See Section 24.5.3, “The DBUG Package”.

  • If you have any other problems with the MySQL grant tables and feel you must post the problem to the mailing list, always provide a dump of the MySQL grant tables. You can dump the tables with the mysqldump mysql command. To file a bug report, see the instructions at Section 1.6, “How to Report Bugs or Problems”. In some cases, you may need to restart mysqld with --skip-grant-tables to run mysqldump.

6.3 MySQL User Account Management

This section describes how to set up accounts for clients of your MySQL server. It discusses the following topics:

  • The meaning of account names and passwords as used in MySQL and how that compares to names and passwords used by your operating system

  • How to set up new accounts and remove existing accounts

  • How to change passwords

  • Guidelines for using passwords securely

See also Section 13.7.1, “Account Management Statements”, which describes the syntax and use for all user-management SQL statements.

6.3.1 User Names and Passwords

MySQL stores accounts in the user table of the mysql system database. An account is defined in terms of a user name and the client host or hosts from which the user can connect to the server. For information about account representation in the user table, see Section 6.2.2, “Grant Tables”.

The account may also have a password. MySQL supports authentication plugins, so it is possible that an account authenticates using some external authentication method. See Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”.

There are several distinctions between the way user names and passwords are used by MySQL and your operating system:

  • User names, as used by MySQL for authentication purposes, have nothing to do with user names (login names) as used by Windows or Unix. On Unix, most MySQL clients by default try to log in using the current Unix user name as the MySQL user name, but that is for convenience only. The default can be overridden easily, because client programs permit any user name to be specified with a -u or --user option. This means that anyone can attempt to connect to the server using any user name, so you cannot make a database secure in any way unless all MySQL accounts have passwords. Anyone who specifies a user name for an account that has no password is able to connect successfully to the server.

  • MySQL user names can be up to 16 characters long. Operating system user names may be of a different maximum length. For example, Unix user names typically are limited to eight characters.

    Warning

    The limit on MySQL user name length is hardcoded in MySQL servers and clients, and trying to circumvent it by modifying the definitions of the tables in the mysql database does not work.

    You should never alter the structure of tables in the mysql database in any manner whatsoever except by means of the procedure that is described in Section 4.4.7, “mysql_upgrade — Check and Upgrade MySQL Tables”. Attempting to redefine MySQL's system tables in any other fashion results in undefined (and unsupported!) behavior. The server is free to ignore rows that become malformed as a result of such modifications.

  • To authenticate client connections for accounts that use MySQL native authentication (implemented by the mysql_native_password authentication plugin), the server uses passwords stored in the user table. These passwords are distinct from passwords for logging in to your operating system. There is no necessary connection between the external password you use to log in to a Windows or Unix machine and the password you use to access the MySQL server on that machine.

    If the server authenticates a client using some other plugin, the authentication method that the plugin implements may or may not use a password stored in the user table. In this case, it is possible that an external password is also used to authenticate to the MySQL server.

  • Passwords stored in the user table are encrypted using plugin-specific algorithms. For information about MySQL native password hashing, see Section 6.1.2.4, “Password Hashing in MySQL”.

  • If the user name and password contain only ASCII characters, it is possible to connect to the server regardless of character set settings. To connect when the user name or password contain non-ASCII characters, the client should call the mysql_options() C API function with the MYSQL_SET_CHARSET_NAME option and appropriate character set name as arguments. This causes authentication to take place using the specified character set. Otherwise, authentication will fail unless the server default character set is the same as the encoding in the authentication defaults.

    Standard MySQL client programs support a --default-character-set option that causes mysql_options() to be called as just described. In addition, character set autodetection is supported as described in Section 10.1.4, “Connection Character Sets and Collations”. For programs that use a connector that is not based on the C API, the connector may provide an equivalent to mysql_options() that can be used instead. Check the connector documentation.

    The preceding notes do not apply for ucs2, utf16, and utf32, which are not permitted as client character sets.

The MySQL installation process populates the grant tables with an initial account or accounts. The names and access privileges for these accounts are described in Section 2.10.4, “Securing the Initial MySQL Accounts”, which also discusses how to assign passwords to them. Thereafter, you normally set up, modify, and remove MySQL accounts using statements such as CREATE USER, DROP USER, GRANT, and REVOKE. See Section 13.7.1, “Account Management Statements”.

To connect to a MySQL server with a command-line client, specify user name and password options as necessary for the account that you want to use:

shell> mysql --user=finley --password db_name

If you prefer short options, the command looks like this:

shell> mysql -u finley -p db_name

If you omit the password value following the --password or -p option on the command line (as just shown), the client prompts for one. Alternatively, the password can be specified on the command line:

shell> mysql --user=finley --password=password db_name
shell> mysql -u finley -ppassword db_name

If you use the -p option, there must be no space between -p and the following password value.

Specifying a password on the command line should be considered insecure. See Section 6.1.2.1, “End-User Guidelines for Password Security”. You can use an option file to avoid giving the password on the command line. See Section 4.2.6, “Using Option Files”.

For additional information about specifying user names, passwords, and other connection parameters, see Section 4.2.2, “Connecting to the MySQL Server”.

6.3.2 Adding User Accounts

You can create MySQL accounts two ways:

  • By using account-management statements intended for creating accounts and establishing their privileges, such as CREATE USER and GRANT. These statements cause the server to make appropriate modifications to the underlying grant tables.

  • By manipulating the MySQL grant tables directly with statements such as INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE.

The preferred method is to use account-management statements because they are more concise and less error-prone than manipulating the grant tables directly. All such statements are described in Section 13.7.1, “Account Management Statements”. Direct grant table manipulation is discouraged, and is not described here. The server is free to ignore rows that become malformed as a result of such modifications.

Another option for creating accounts is to use the GUI tool MySQL Workbench. Also, several third-party programs offer capabilities for MySQL account administration. phpMyAdmin is one such program.

The following examples show how to use the mysql client program to set up new accounts. These examples assume that privileges have been set up according to the defaults described in Section 2.10.4, “Securing the Initial MySQL Accounts”. This means that to make changes, you must connect to the MySQL server as the MySQL root user, which has the CREATE USER privilege.

First, use the mysql program to connect to the server as the MySQL root user:

shell> mysql --user=root mysql

If you have assigned a password to the root account, you must also supply a --password or -p option.

After connecting to the server as root, you can add new accounts. The following example uses CREATE USER and GRANT statements to set up four accounts:

mysql> CREATE USER 'finley'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'some_pass';
mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON *.* TO 'finley'@'localhost'
    ->     WITH GRANT OPTION;
mysql> CREATE USER 'finley'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'some_pass';
mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON *.* TO 'finley'@'%'
    ->     WITH GRANT OPTION;
mysql> CREATE USER 'admin'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'admin_pass';
mysql> GRANT RELOAD,PROCESS ON *.* TO 'admin'@'localhost';
mysql> CREATE USER 'dummy'@'localhost';

The accounts created by those statements have the following properties:

  • Two accounts have a user name of finley and a password of some_pass. Both are superuser accounts with full privileges to do anything. The 'finley'@'localhost' account can be used only when connecting from the local host. The 'finley'@'%' account uses the '%' wildcard for the host part, so it can be used to connect from any host.

    The 'finley'@'localhost' account is necessary if there is an anonymous-user account for localhost. Without the 'finley'@'localhost' account, that anonymous-user account takes precedence when finley connects from the local host and finley is treated as an anonymous user. The reason for this is that the anonymous-user account has a more specific Host column value than the 'finley'@'%' account and thus comes earlier in the user table sort order. (user table sorting is discussed in Section 6.2.4, “Access Control, Stage 1: Connection Verification”.)

  • The 'admin'@'localhost' account has a password of admin_pass. This account can be used only by admin to connect from the local host. It is granted the RELOAD and PROCESS administrative privileges. These privileges enable the admin user to execute the mysqladmin reload, mysqladmin refresh, and mysqladmin flush-xxx commands, as well as mysqladmin processlist . No privileges are granted for accessing any databases. You could add such privileges using GRANT statements.

  • The 'dummy'@'localhost' account has no password (which is insecure and not recommended). This account can be used only to connect from the local host. No privileges are granted. It is assumed that you will grant specific privileges to the account using GRANT statements.

To see the privileges for an account, use SHOW GRANTS:

mysql> SHOW GRANTS FOR 'admin'@'localhost';
+-----------------------------------------------------+
| Grants for admin@localhost                          |
+-----------------------------------------------------+
| GRANT RELOAD, PROCESS ON *.* TO 'admin'@'localhost' |
+-----------------------------------------------------+

The next examples create three accounts and grant them access to specific databases. Each of them has a user name of custom and password of obscure:

mysql> CREATE USER 'custom'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'obscure';
mysql> GRANT SELECT,INSERT,UPDATE,DELETE,CREATE,DROP
    ->     ON bankaccount.*
    ->     TO 'custom'@'localhost';
mysql> CREATE USER 'custom'@'host47.example.com' IDENTIFIED BY 'obscure';
mysql> GRANT SELECT,INSERT,UPDATE,DELETE,CREATE,DROP
    ->     ON expenses.*
    ->     TO 'custom'@'host47.example.com';
mysql> CREATE USER 'custom'@'%.example.com' IDENTIFIED BY 'obscure';
mysql> GRANT SELECT,INSERT,UPDATE,DELETE,CREATE,DROP
    ->     ON customer.*
    ->     TO 'custom'@'%.example.com';

The three accounts can be used as follows:

  • The first account can access the bankaccount database, but only from the local host.

  • The second account can access the expenses database, but only from the host host47.example.com.

  • The third account can access the customer database, from any host in the example.com domain. This account has access from all machines in the domain due to use of the % wildcard character in the host part of the account name.

6.3.3 Removing User Accounts

To remove an account, use the DROP USER statement, which is described in Section 13.7.1.2, “DROP USER Syntax”. For example:

mysql> DROP USER 'jeffrey'@'localhost';

6.3.4 Setting Account Resource Limits

One means of restricting client use of MySQL server resources is to set the global max_user_connections system variable to a nonzero value. This limits the number of simultaneous connections that can be made by any given account, but places no limits on what a client can do once connected. In addition, setting max_user_connections does not enable management of individual accounts. Both types of control are of interest to MySQL administrators.

To address such concerns, MySQL permits limits for individual accounts on use of these server resources:

  • The number of queries an account can issue per hour

  • The number of updates an account can issue per hour

  • The number of times an account can connect to the server per hour

  • The number of simultaneous connections to the server by an account

Any statement that a client can issue counts against the query limit, unless its results are served from the query cache. Only statements that modify databases or tables count against the update limit.

An account in this context corresponds to a row in the mysql.user table. That is, a connection is assessed against the User and Host values in the user table row that applies to the connection. For example, an account 'usera'@'%.example.com' corresponds to a row in the user table that has User and Host values of usera and %.example.com, to permit usera to connect from any host in the example.com domain. In this case, the server applies resource limits in this row collectively to all connections by usera from any host in the example.com domain because all such connections use the same account.

Before MySQL 5.0.3, an account was assessed against the actual host from which a user connects. This older method of accounting may be selected by starting the server with the --old-style-user-limits option. In this case, if usera connects simultaneously from host1.example.com and host2.example.com, the server applies the account resource limits separately to each connection. If usera connects again from host1.example.com, the server applies the limits for that connection together with the existing connection from that host.

To establish resource limits for an account, use the GRANT statement (see Section 13.7.1.3, “GRANT Syntax”). Provide a WITH clause that names each resource to be limited. The default value for each limit is zero (no limit). For example, to create a new account that can access the customer database, but only in a limited fashion, issue these statements:

mysql> CREATE USER 'francis'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'frank';
mysql> GRANT ALL ON customer.* TO 'francis'@'localhost'
    ->     WITH MAX_QUERIES_PER_HOUR 20
    ->          MAX_UPDATES_PER_HOUR 10
    ->          MAX_CONNECTIONS_PER_HOUR 5
    ->          MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS 2;

The limit types need not all be named in the WITH clause, but those named can be present in any order. The value for each per-hour limit should be an integer representing a count per hour. For MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS, the limit is an integer representing the maximum number of simultaneous connections by the account. If this limit is set to zero, the global max_user_connections system variable value determines the number of simultaneous connections. If max_user_connections is also zero, there is no limit for the account.

To modify limits for an existing account, use a GRANT USAGE statement at the global level (ON *.*). The following statement changes the query limit for francis to 100:

mysql> GRANT USAGE ON *.* TO 'francis'@'localhost'
    ->     WITH MAX_QUERIES_PER_HOUR 100;

The statement modifies only the limit value specified and leaves the account otherwise unchanged.

To remove a limit, set its value to zero. For example, to remove the limit on how many times per hour francis can connect, use this statement:

mysql> GRANT USAGE ON *.* TO 'francis'@'localhost'
    ->     WITH MAX_CONNECTIONS_PER_HOUR 0;

As mentioned previously, the simultaneous-connection limit for an account is determined from the MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS limit and the max_user_connections system variable. Suppose that the global max_user_connections value is 10 and three accounts have individual resource limits specified as follows:

GRANT ... TO 'user1'@'localhost' WITH MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS 0;
GRANT ... TO 'user2'@'localhost' WITH MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS 5;
GRANT ... TO 'user3'@'localhost' WITH MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS 20;

user1 has a connection limit of 10 (the global max_user_connections value) because it has a MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS limit of zero. user2 and user3 have connection limits of 5 and 20, respectively, because they have nonzero MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS limits.

The server stores resource limits for an account in the user table row corresponding to the account. The max_questions, max_updates, and max_connections columns store the per-hour limits, and the max_user_connections column stores the MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS limit. (See Section 6.2.2, “Grant Tables”.)

Resource-use counting takes place when any account has a nonzero limit placed on its use of any of the resources.

As the server runs, it counts the number of times each account uses resources. If an account reaches its limit on number of connections within the last hour, the server rejects further connections for the account until that hour is up. Similarly, if the account reaches its limit on the number of queries or updates, the server rejects further queries or updates until the hour is up. In all such cases, the server issues appropriate error messages.

Resource counting occurs per account, not per client. For example, if your account has a query limit of 50, you cannot increase your limit to 100 by making two simultaneous client connections to the server. Queries issued on both connections are counted together.

The current per-hour resource-use counts can be reset globally for all accounts, or individually for a given account:

  • To reset the current counts to zero for all accounts, issue a FLUSH USER_RESOURCES statement. The counts also can be reset by reloading the grant tables (for example, with a FLUSH PRIVILEGES statement or a mysqladmin reload command).

  • The counts for an individual account can be reset to zero by setting any of its limits again. Specify a limit value equal to the value currently assigned to the account.

Per-hour counter resets do not affect the MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS limit.

All counts begin at zero when the server starts. Counts do not carry over through server restarts.

For the MAX_USER_CONNECTIONS limit, an edge case can occur if the account currently has open the maximum number of connections permitted to it: A disconnect followed quickly by a connect can result in an error (ER_TOO_MANY_USER_CONNECTIONS or ER_USER_LIMIT_REACHED) if the server has not fully processed the disconnect by the time the connect occurs. When the server finishes disconnect processing, another connection will once more be permitted.

6.3.5 Assigning Account Passwords

Required credentials for clients that connect to the MySQL server can include a password. This section describes how to assign passwords for MySQL accounts.

MySQL stores passwords in the user table in the mysql system database. Operations that assign or modify passwords are permitted only to users with the CREATE USER privilege, or, alternatively, privileges for the mysql database (INSERT privilege to create new accounts, UPDATE privilege to modify existing accounts). If the read_only system variable is enabled, use of account-modification statements such as CREATE USER or SET PASSWORD additionally requires the SUPER privilege.

The discussion here summarizes syntax only for the most common password-assignment statements. For complete details on other possibilities, see Section 13.7.1.1, “CREATE USER Syntax”, Section 13.7.1.3, “GRANT Syntax”, and Section 13.7.1.6, “SET PASSWORD Syntax”.

MySQL hashes passwords stored in the mysql.user table to obfuscate them. For most statements described here, MySQL automatically hashes the password specified. An exception is SET PASSWORD ... = PASSWORD('auth_string'), for which you use the PASSWORD() function explicitly to hash the password. There are also syntaxes for CREATE USER, GRANT, and SET PASSWORD that permit hashed values to be specified literally; for details, see the descriptions of those statements.

MySQL uses plugins to perform client authentication; see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”. The authentication plugin associated with an account determines the algorithm used to hash passwords for that account.

To assign a password when you create a new account, use CREATE USER and include an IDENTIFIED BY clause:

CREATE USER 'jeffrey'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'mypass';

For this CREATE USER syntax, MySQL automatically hashes the password before storing it in the mysql.user table.

CREATE USER also supports syntax for specifying the account authentication plugin. See Section 13.7.1.1, “CREATE USER Syntax”.

To assign or change a password for an existing account, use one of the following methods:

  • Use SET PASSWORD with the PASSWORD() function:

    SET PASSWORD FOR 'jeffrey'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('mypass');
    

    If you are not connected as an anonymous user, you can change your own password by omitting the FOR clause:

    SET PASSWORD = PASSWORD('mypass');
    

    The PASSWORD() function hashes the password using the hashing method determined by the value of the old_passwords system variable value. If SET PASSWORD rejects the hashed password value returned by PASSWORD() as not being in the correct format, it may be necessary to change old_passwords to change the hashing method. See Section 13.7.1.6, “SET PASSWORD Syntax”.

  • Use a GRANT USAGE statement at the global level (ON *.*) to change an account password without affecting the account's current privileges:

    GRANT USAGE ON *.* TO 'jeffrey'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'mypass';
    

    For this GRANT syntax, MySQL automatically hashes the password before storing it in the mysql.user table.

  • To change an account password from the command line, use the mysqladmin command:

    mysqladmin -u user_name -h host_name password "new_password"
    

    The account for which this command sets the password is the one with a mysql.user table row that matches user_name in the User column and the client host from which you connect in the Host column.

    For password changes made using mysqladmin, MySQL automatically hashes the password before storing it in the mysql.user table.

If you are using MySQL Replication, be aware that, currently, a password used by a replication slave as part of a CHANGE MASTER TO statement is effectively limited to 32 characters in length; if the password is longer, any excess characters are truncated. This is not due to any limit imposed by the MySQL Server generally, but rather is an issue specific to MySQL Replication. (For more information, see Bug #43439.)

6.3.6 Pluggable Authentication

When a client connects to the MySQL server, the server uses the user name provided by the client and the client host to select the appropriate account row from the mysql.user table. The server then consults this row to authenticate the client.

Before MySQL 5.5.7, the server authenticates the password provided by the client against the Password column of the account row.

As of MySQL 5.5.7, the server authenticates clients using a plugin. Selection of the proper account row from the mysql.user table is based on the user name and client host, as before, but the server authenticates the client by determining from the account row which authentication plugin applies to the client:

  • If the account row specifies a plugin, the server invokes it to authenticate the user. If the server cannot find the plugin, an error occurs and the connection attempt is rejected.

  • If the account row specifies no plugin name, the server authenticates the account using either the mysql_native_password or mysql_old_password plugin, depending on whether the password hash value in the Password column used native hashing or the older pre-4.1 hashing method. Clients must match the password in the Password column of the account row.

The plugin returns a status to the server indicating whether the user is permitted to connect.

Pluggable authentication enables two important capabilities:

  • External authentication: Pluggable authentication makes it possible for clients to connect to the MySQL server with credentials that are appropriate for authentication methods that store credentials elsewhere than in the mysql.user table. For example, plugins can be created to use external authentication methods such as PAM, Windows login IDs, LDAP, or Kerberos.

  • Proxy users: If a user is permitted to connect, an authentication plugin can return to the server a user name different from the name of the connecting user, to indicate that the connecting user is a proxy for another user (the proxied user). While the connection lasts, the proxy user is treated, for purposes of access control, as having the privileges of the proxied user. In effect, one user impersonates another. For more information, see Section 6.3.7, “Proxy Users”.

Several authentication plugins are available in MySQL:

  • Plugins that perform native authentication; that is, authentication based on the password hashing methods in use from before the introduction of pluggable authentication in MySQL. The mysql_native_password plugin implements authentication based on the native password hashing method. The mysql_old_password plugin implements native authentication based on the older (pre-4.1) password hashing method. See Section 6.5.1.1, “Native Pluggable Authentication”, and Section 6.5.1.2, “Old Native Pluggable Authentication”. Native authentication using mysql_native_password is the default for accounts that have no plugin named explicitly in their account row.

  • A client-side plugin that sends the password to the server without hashing or encryption. This plugin is used in conjunction with server-side plugins that require access to the password exactly as provided by the client user. See Section 6.5.1.3, “Client-Side Cleartext Pluggable Authentication”.

  • A plugin that performs external authentication using PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules), enabling MySQL Server to use PAM to authenticate MySQL users. This plugin supports proxy users as well. See Section 6.5.1.4, “PAM Pluggable Authentication”.

  • A plugin that performs external authentication on Windows, enabling MySQL Server to use native Windows services to authenticate client connections. Users who have logged in to Windows can connect from MySQL client programs to the server based on the information in their environment without specifying an additional password. This plugin supports proxy users as well. See Section 6.5.1.5, “Windows Pluggable Authentication”.

  • A plugin that authenticates clients that connect from the local host through the Unix socket file. See Section 6.5.1.6, “Socket Peer-Credential Pluggable Authentication”.

  • A test plugin that checks account credentials and logs success or failure to the server error log. This plugin is intended for testing and development purposes, and as an example of how to write an authentication plugin. See Section 6.5.1.7, “Test Pluggable Authentication”.

Note

For information about current restrictions on the use of pluggable authentication, including which connectors support which plugins, see Section C.9, “Restrictions on Pluggable Authentication”.

Third-party connector developers should read that section to determine the extent to which a connector can take advantage of pluggable authentication capabilities and what steps to take to become more compliant.

If you are interested in writing your own authentication plugins, see Section 24.2.4.9, “Writing Authentication Plugins”.

Authentication Plugin Usage Instructions

This section provides general instructions for installing and using authentication plugins. For instructions specific to a given plugin, see the section that describes that plugin.

In general, pluggable authentication uses corresponding plugins on the server and client sides, so you use a given authentication method like this:

  • If necessary, install the plugin library or libraries containing the appropriate plugins. On the server host, install the library containing the server-side plugin, so that the server can use it to authenticate client connections. Similarly, on each client host, install the library containing the client-side plugin for use by client programs. Authentication plugins that are built in need not be installed.

  • For each MySQL account that you create, specify the appropriate server-side plugin to use for authentication.

  • When a client connects, the server-side plugin tells the client program which client-side plugin to use for authentication.

In the case that an account uses an authentication method that is the default for both the server and the client program, the server need not communicate to the client which client-side plugin to use, and a round trip in client/server negotiation can be avoided. This is true for accounts that use native MySQL authentication (mysql_native_password or mysql_old_password).

The --default-auth=plugin_name option can be specified on the mysql command line as a hint about which client-side plugin the program can expect to use, although the server will override this if the server-side plugin associated with the user account requires a different client-side plugin.

If the client program does not find the client-side plugin, specify a --plugin-dir=dir_name option to indicate where the plugin is located.

Note

If you start the server with the --skip-grant-tables option, authentication plugins are not used even if loaded because the server performs no client authentication and permits any client to connect. Because this is insecure, you might want to use --skip-grant-tables in conjunction with --skip-networking to prevent remote clients from connecting.

6.3.7 Proxy Users

The MySQL server authenticates client connections using authentication plugins. The plugin that authenticates a given connection may request that the connecting (external) user be treated as a different user for privilege-checking purposes. This enables the external user to be a proxy for the second user; that is, to assume the privileges of the second user:

  • The external user is a proxy user (a user who can impersonate or become known as another user).

  • The second user is a proxied user (a user whose identity and privileges can be assumed by a proxy user).

This section describes how the proxy user capability works. For general information about authentication plugins, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”. For information about specific plugins, see Section 6.5.1, “Authentication Plugins”. For information about writing authentication plugins that support proxy users, see Section 24.2.4.9.4, “Implementing Proxy User Support in Authentication Plugins”.

Requirements for Proxy User Support

For proxying to occur for a given authentication plugin, these conditions must be satisfied:

  • The plugin must support proxying.

  • The proxy user account must be set up to be authenticated by the plugin. Use the CREATE USER or GRANT statement to associate an account with an authentication plugin.

  • The proxied user account must be created and granted the privileges to be assumed by the proxy user. Use the CREATE USER and GRANT statements for this.

  • The proxy user account must have the PROXY privilege for the proxied account. Use the GRANT statement for this.

  • For a client connecting to the proxy account to be treated as a proxy user, the authentication plugin must return a user name different from the client user name, to indicate the user name of the proxied account that defines the privileges to be assumed by the proxy user.

The proxy mechanism permits mapping only the client user name to the proxied user name. There is no provision for mapping host names. When a connecting client matches a proxy account, the server attempts to find a match for a proxied account using the user name returned by the authentication plugin and the host name of the proxy account.

Consider the following account definitions:

-- create proxy account
CREATE USER 'employee_ext'@'localhost'
  IDENTIFIED WITH my_auth_plugin AS 'my_auth_string';

-- create proxied account and grant its privileges
CREATE USER 'employee'@'localhost'
  IDENTIFIED BY 'employee_pass';
GRANT ALL ON employees.*
  TO 'employee'@'localhost';

-- grant PROXY privilege to proxy account for proxied account
GRANT PROXY
  ON 'employee'@'localhost'
  TO 'employee_ext'@'localhost';

When a client connects as employee_ext from the local host, MySQL uses the plugin named my_auth_plugin to perform authentication. Suppose that my_auth_plugin returns a user name of employee to the server, based on the content of 'my_auth_string' and perhaps by consulting some external authentication system. The name employee differs from employee_ext, so returning employee serves as a request to the server to treat the employee_ext client, for purposes of privilege checking, as the employee local user.

In this case, employee_ext is the proxy user and employee is the proxied user.

The server verifies that proxy authentication for employee is possible for the employee_ext user by checking whether employee_ext (the proxy user) has the PROXY privilege for employee (the proxied user). If this privilege has not been granted, an error occurs. Otherwise, employee_ext assumes the privileges of employee. The server checks statements executed during the client session by employee_ext against the privileges granted to employee. In this case, employee_ext can access tables in the employees database.

When proxying occurs, the USER() and CURRENT_USER() functions can be used to see the difference between the connecting user (the proxy user) and the account whose privileges apply during the current session (the proxied user). For the example just described, those functions return these values:

mysql> SELECT USER(), CURRENT_USER();
+------------------------+--------------------+
| USER()                 | CURRENT_USER()     |
+------------------------+--------------------+
| employee_ext@localhost | employee@localhost |
+------------------------+--------------------+

In the CREATE USER statement that creates the proxy user account, the IDENTIFIED WITH clause that names the authentication plugin is optionally followed by an AS 'auth_string' clause specifying a string that the server passes to the plugin when the user connects. If present, the string provides information that helps the plugin determine how to map the external client user name to a proxied user name. It is up to each plugin whether it requires the AS clause. If so, the format of the authentication string depends on how the plugin intends to use it. Consult the documentation for a given plugin for information about the authentication string values it accepts.

Granting the Proxy Privilege

The PROXY privilege is needed to enable an external user to connect as and have the privileges of another user. To grant this privilege, use the GRANT statement. For example:

GRANT PROXY ON 'proxied_user' TO 'proxy_user';

The statement creates a row in the mysql.proxies_priv grant table.

At connection time, proxy_user must represent a valid externally authenticated MySQL user, and proxied_user must represent a valid locally authenticated user. Otherwise, the connection attempt fails.

The corresponding REVOKE syntax is:

REVOKE PROXY ON 'proxied_user' FROM 'proxy_user';

MySQL GRANT and REVOKE syntax extensions work as usual. For example:

GRANT PROXY ON 'a' TO 'b', 'c', 'd';
GRANT PROXY ON 'a' TO 'd' IDENTIFIED BY ...;
GRANT PROXY ON 'a' TO 'd' WITH GRANT OPTION;
GRANT PROXY ON 'a' TO ''@'';
REVOKE PROXY ON 'a' FROM 'b', 'c', 'd';

The PROXY privilege can be granted in these cases:

  • By a user that has GRANT PROXY ... WITH GRANT OPTION for proxied_user.

  • By proxied_user for itself: The value of USER() must exactly match CURRENT_USER() and proxied_user, for both the user name and host name parts of the account name.

The initial root account created during MySQL installation has the PROXY ... WITH GRANT OPTION privilege for ''@'', that is, for all users and all hosts. This enables root to set up proxy users, as well as to delegate to other accounts the authority to set up proxy users. For example, root can do this:

CREATE USER 'admin'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'test';
GRANT PROXY ON ''@'' TO 'admin'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Those statements create an admin user that can manage all GRANT PROXY mappings. For example, admin can do this:

GRANT PROXY ON sally TO joe;

Default Proxy Users

To specify that some or all users should connect using a given authentication plugin, create a blank MySQL account (''@''), associate it with that plugin, and let the plugin return the real authenticated user name (if different from the blank user). For example, suppose that there exists a plugin named ldap_auth that implements LDAP authentication and maps connecting users onto either a developer or manager account. To set up proxying of users onto these accounts, use the following statements:

-- create default proxy account
CREATE USER ''@'' IDENTIFIED WITH ldap_auth AS 'O=Oracle, OU=MySQL';

-- create proxied accounts
CREATE USER 'developer'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'developer_pass';
CREATE USER 'manager'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'manager_pass';

-- grant PROXY privilege to default proxy account for proxied accounts
GRANT PROXY ON 'manager'@'localhost' TO ''@'';
GRANT PROXY ON 'developer'@'localhost' TO ''@'';

Now assume that a client connects as follows:

shell> mysql --user=myuser --password ...
Enter password: myuser_pass

The server will not find myuser defined as a MySQL user. But because there is a blank user account (''@'') that matches the client user name and host name, the server authenticates the client against that account: The server invokes the ldap_auth authentication plugin and passes myuser and myuser_pass to it as the user name and password.

If the ldap_auth plugin finds in the LDAP directory that myuser_pass is not the correct password for myuser, authentication fails and the server rejects the connection.

If the password is correct and ldap_auth finds that myuser is a developer, it returns the user name developer to the MySQL server, rather than myuser. Returning a user name different from the client user name of myuser signals to the server that it should treat myuser as a proxy. The server verifies that ''@'' can authenticate as developer (because that account has the PROXY privilege to do so) and accepts the connection. The session proceeds with myuser having the privileges of developer, the proxied user. (These privileges should be set up by the DBA using GRANT statements, not shown.) The USER() and CURRENT_USER() functions return these values:

mysql> SELECT USER(), CURRENT_USER();
+------------------+---------------------+
| USER()           | CURRENT_USER()      |
+------------------+---------------------+
| myuser@localhost | developer@localhost |
+------------------+---------------------+

If the plugin instead finds in the LDAP directory that myuser is a manager, it returns manager as the user name and the session proceeds with myuser having the privileges of manager.

mysql> SELECT USER(), CURRENT_USER();
+------------------+-------------------+
| USER()           | CURRENT_USER()    |
+------------------+-------------------+
| myuser@localhost | manager@localhost |
+------------------+-------------------+

For simplicity, external authentication cannot be multilevel: Neither the credentials for developer nor those for manager are taken into account in the preceding example. However, they are still used if a client tries to connect and authenticate directly as the developer or manager account, which is why those accounts should be assigned passwords.

Default Proxy User and Anonymous User Conflicts

If you intend to create a default proxy user, check for other existing match any user accounts that take precedence over the default proxy user because they can prevent that user from working as intended.

In the preceding discussion, the default proxy user account has '' in the host part, which matches any host. If you set up a default proxy user, take care to also check whether nonproxy accounts exist with the same user part and '%' in the host part, because '%' also matches any host, but has precedence over '' by the rules that the server uses to sort account rows internally (see Section 6.2.4, “Access Control, Stage 1: Connection Verification”).

Suppose that a MySQL installation includes these two accounts:

-- create default proxy account
CREATE USER ''@''
  IDENTIFIED WITH some_plugin AS 'some_auth_string';
-- create anonymous account
CREATE USER ''@'%'
  IDENTIFIED BY 'some_password';

The first account (''@'') is intended as the default proxy user, used to authenticate connections for users who do not otherwise match a more-specific account. The second account (''@'%') is an anonymous-user account, which might have been created, for example, to enable users without their own account to connect anonymously.

Both accounts have the same user part (''), which matches any user. And each account has a host part that matches any host. Nevertheless, there is a priority in account matching for connection attempts because the matching rules sort a host of '%' ahead of ''. For accounts that do not match any more-specific account, the server attempts to authenticate them against ''@'%' (the anonymous user) rather than ''@'' (the default proxy user). The result is that the default proxy account is never used.

To avoid this problem, use one of the following strategies:

  • Remove the anonymous account so that it does not conflict with the default proxy user. This might be a good idea anyway if you want to associate every connection with a named user.

  • Use a more-specific default proxy user that matches ahead of the anonymous user. For example, to permit only localhost proxy connections, use ''@'localhost':

    CREATE USER ''@'localhost'
      IDENTIFIED WITH some_plugin AS 'some_auth_string';
    

    In addition, modify any GRANT PROXY statements to name ''@'localhost' rather than ''@'' as the proxy user.

    Be aware that this strategy prevents anonymous-user connections from localhost.

  • Create multiple proxy users, one for local connections and one for everything else (remote connections). This can be useful particularly when local users should have different privileges from remote users.

    Create the proxy users:

    -- create proxy user for local connections
    CREATE USER ''@'localhost'
      IDENTIFIED WITH some_plugin AS 'some_auth_string';
    -- create proxy user for remote connections
    CREATE USER ''@'%'
      IDENTIFIED WITH some_plugin AS 'some_auth_string';
    

    Create the proxied users:

    -- create proxied user for local connections
    CREATE USER 'developer'@'localhost'
      IDENTIFIED BY 'some_password';
    -- create proxied user for remote connections
    CREATE USER 'developer'@'%'
      IDENTIFIED BY 'some_password';
    

    Grant the proxy privilege to each proxy user for the corresponding proxied user:

    GRANT PROXY ON 'developer'@'localhost' TO ''@'localhost';
    GRANT PROXY ON 'developer'@'%' TO ''@'%';
    

    Finally, grant appropriate privileges to the local and remote proxied users (not shown).

    Assume that the some_plugin/'some_auth_string' combination causes some_plugin to map the client user name to developer. Local connections match the ''@'localhost' proxy user, which maps to the 'developer'@'localhost' proxied user. Remote connections match the ''@'%' proxy user, which maps to the 'developer'@'%' proxied user.

Proxy User System Variables

Two system variables help trace the proxy login process:

  • proxy_user: This value is NULL if proxying is not used. Otherwise, it indicates the proxy user account. For example, if a client authenticates through the ''@'' proxy account, this variable is set as follows:

    mysql> SELECT @@proxy_user;
    +--------------+
    | @@proxy_user |
    +--------------+
    | ''@''        |
    +--------------+
    
  • external_user: Sometimes the authentication plugin may use an external user to authenticate to the MySQL server. For example, when using Windows native authentication, a plugin that authenticates using the windows API does not need the login ID passed to it. However, it still uses a Windows user ID to authenticate. The plugin may return this external user ID (or the first 512 UTF-8 bytes of it) to the server using the external_user read-only session variable. If the plugin does not set this variable, its value is NULL.

6.3.8 SQL-Based MySQL Account Activity Auditing

Applications can use the following guidelines to perform SQL-based auditing that ties database activity to MySQL accounts.

MySQL accounts correspond to rows in the mysql.user table. When a client connects successfully, the server authenticates the client to a particular row in this table. The User and Host column values in this row uniquely identify the account and correspond to the 'user_name'@'host_name' format in which account names are written in SQL statements.

The account used to authenticate a client determines which privileges the client has. Normally, the CURRENT_USER() function can be invoked to determine which account this is for the client user. Its value is constructed from the User and Host columns of the user table row for the account.

However, there are circumstances under which the CURRENT_USER() value corresponds not to the client user but to a different account. This occurs in contexts when privilege checking is not based the client's account:

  • Stored routines (procedures and functions) defined with the SQL SECURITY DEFINER characteristic

  • Views defined with the SQL SECURITY DEFINER characteristic

  • Triggers and events

In those contexts, privilege checking is done against the DEFINER account and CURRENT_USER() refers to that account, not to the account for the client who invoked the stored routine or view or who caused the trigger to activate. To determine the invoking user, you can call the USER() function, which returns a value indicating the actual user name provided by the client and the host from which the client connected. However, this value does not necessarily correspond directly to an account in the user table, because the USER() value never contains wildcards, whereas account values (as returned by CURRENT_USER()) may contain user name and host name wildcards.

For example, a blank user name matches any user, so an account of ''@'localhost' enables clients to connect as an anonymous user from the local host with any user name. In this case, if a client connects as user1 from the local host, USER() and CURRENT_USER() return different values:

mysql> SELECT USER(), CURRENT_USER();
+-----------------+----------------+
| USER()          | CURRENT_USER() |
+-----------------+----------------+
| user1@localhost | @localhost     |
+-----------------+----------------+

The host name part of an account can contain wildcards, too. If the host name contains a '%' or '_' pattern character or uses netmask notation, the account can be used for clients connecting from multiple hosts and the CURRENT_USER() value will not indicate which one. For example, the account 'user2'@'%.example.com' can be used by user2 to connect from any host in the example.com domain. If user2 connects from remote.example.com, USER() and CURRENT_USER() return different values:

mysql> SELECT USER(), CURRENT_USER();
+--------------------------+---------------------+
| USER()                   | CURRENT_USER()      |
+--------------------------+---------------------+
| user2@remote.example.com | user2@%.example.com |
+--------------------------+---------------------+

If an application must invoke USER() for user auditing (for example, if it does auditing from within triggers) but must also be able to associate the USER() value with an account in the user table, it is necessary to avoid accounts that contain wildcards in the User or Host column. Specifically, do not permit User to be empty (which creates an anonymous-user account), and do not permit pattern characters or netmask notation in Host values. All accounts must have a nonempty User value and literal Host value.

With respect to the previous examples, the ''@'localhost' and 'user2'@'%.example.com' accounts should be changed not to use wildcards:

RENAME USER ''@'localhost' TO 'user1'@'localhost';
RENAME USER 'user2'@'%.example.com' TO 'user2'@'remote.example.com';

If user2 must be able to connect from several hosts in the example.com domain, there should be a separate account for each host.

To extract the user name or host name part from a CURRENT_USER() or USER() value, use the SUBSTRING_INDEX() function:

mysql> SELECT SUBSTRING_INDEX(CURRENT_USER(),'@',1);
+---------------------------------------+
| SUBSTRING_INDEX(CURRENT_USER(),'@',1) |
+---------------------------------------+
| user1                                 |
+---------------------------------------+

mysql> SELECT SUBSTRING_INDEX(CURRENT_USER(),'@',-1);
+----------------------------------------+
| SUBSTRING_INDEX(CURRENT_USER(),'@',-1) |
+----------------------------------------+
| localhost                              |
+----------------------------------------+

6.4 Using Secure Connections

With an unencrypted connection between the MySQL client and the server, someone with access to the network could watch all your traffic and inspect the data being sent or received between client and server.

When you must move information over a network in a secure fashion, an unencrypted connection is unacceptable. To make any kind of data unreadable, use encryption. Encryption algorithms must include security elements to resist many kinds of known attacks such as changing the order of encrypted messages or replaying data twice.

MySQL supports secure (encrypted) connections between clients and the server using the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. TLS is sometimes referred to as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) but MySQL does not actually use the SSL protocol for secure connections because it provides weak encryption (see Section 6.4.3, “Secure Connection Protocols and Ciphers”).

TLS uses encryption algorithms to ensure that data received over a public network can be trusted. It has mechanisms to detect data change, loss, or replay. TLS also incorporates algorithms that provide identity verification using the X509 standard.

X509 makes it possible to identify someone on the Internet. In basic terms, there should be some entity called a Certificate Authority (or CA) that assigns electronic certificates to anyone who needs them. Certificates rely on asymmetric encryption algorithms that have two encryption keys (a public key and a secret key). A certificate owner can present the certificate to another party as proof of identity. A certificate consists of its owner's public key. Any data encrypted using this public key can be decrypted only using the corresponding secret key, which is held by the owner of the certificate.

MySQL can be compiled for secure-connection support using OpenSSL or yaSSL. For a comparison of the two packages, see Section 6.4.1, “OpenSSL Versus yaSSL” For information about the encryption protocols and ciphers each package supports, see Section 6.4.3, “Secure Connection Protocols and Ciphers”.

MySQL performs encryption on a per-connection basis, and use of encryption for a given user can be optional or mandatory. This enables you to choose an encrypted or unencrypted connection according to the requirements of individual applications. For information on how to require users to use encrypted connections, see the discussion of the REQUIRE clause of the GRANT statement in Section 13.7.1.3, “GRANT Syntax”.

Encrypted connections are not used by default. For applications that require the security provided by encrypted connections, the extra computation to encrypt the data is worthwhile.

Secure connections are available through the MySQL C API using the mysql_ssl_set() and mysql_options() functions. See Section 23.8.7.67, “mysql_ssl_set()”, and Section 23.8.7.49, “mysql_options()”.

Replication uses the C API, so secure connections can be used between master and slave servers. See Section 17.3.7, “Setting Up Replication to Use Secure Connections”.

It is also possible to connect securely from within an SSH connection to the MySQL server host. For an example, see Section 6.4.7, “Connecting to MySQL Remotely from Windows with SSH”.

6.4.1 OpenSSL Versus yaSSL

MySQL can be compiled using OpenSSL or yaSSL, both of which enable secure conections based on the OpenSSL API:

OpenSSL and yaSSL offer the same basic functionality, but additional features are available in MySQL distributions compiled using OpenSSL: OpenSSL supports a wider range of encryption ciphers from which to choose for the --ssl-cipher option, and supports the --ssl-capath option. See Section 6.4.5, “Command Options for Secure Connections”.

6.4.2 Building MySQL with Support for Secure Connections

To use SSL connections between the MySQL server and client programs, your system must support either OpenSSL or yaSSL:

  • MySQL Enterprise Edition binary distributions are compiled using yaSSL.

  • MySQL Community Edition binary distributions are compiled using yaSSL.

  • MySQL Community Edition source distributions can be compiled using either OpenSSL or yaSSL.

If you compile MySQL from a source distribution, CMake configures the distribution to use yaSSL by default. To compile using OpenSSL instead, use this procedure:

  1. Ensure OpenSSL 1.0.1 or higher is installed on your system. To obtain OpenSSL, visit http://www.openssl.org.

  2. To use OpenSSL, add the -DWITH_SSL=system option to the CMake command you normally use to configure the MySQL source distribution. For example:

    shell> cmake . -DWITH_SSL=system
    

    That command configures the distribution to use the installed OpenSSL library. See Section 2.9.4, “MySQL Source-Configuration Options”.

  3. Compile and install the distribution.

To check whether a mysqld server supports secure connections, examine the value of the have_ssl system variable:

mysql> SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'have_ssl';
+---------------+-------+
| Variable_name | Value |
+---------------+-------+
| have_ssl      | YES   |
+---------------+-------+

If the value is YES, the server supports secure connections. If the value is DISABLED, the server is capable of supporting secure connections but was not started with the appropriate --ssl-xxx options to enable secure connections to be used; see Section 6.4.4, “Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections”.

6.4.3 Secure Connection Protocols and Ciphers

To determine which encryption protocol and cipher are in use for an encrypted connection, use the following statements to check the values of the Ssl_version and Ssl_cipher status variables:

mysql> SHOW SESSION STATUS LIKE 'Ssl_version';
+---------------+-------+
| Variable_name | Value |
+---------------+-------+
| Ssl_version   | TLSv1 |
+---------------+-------+
mysql> SHOW SESSION STATUS LIKE 'Ssl_cipher';
+---------------+--------------------+
| Variable_name | Value              |
+---------------+--------------------+
| Ssl_cipher    | DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA |
+---------------+--------------------+

If the connection is not encrypted, both variables have an empty value.

MySQL supports encrypted connections using the TLSv1 protocol. As of MySQL 5.5.42, it explicitly disables SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0 because they provide weak encryption.

To determine which ciphers a given server supports, use the following statement to check the value of the Ssl_cipher_list status variable:

SHOW SESSION STATUS LIKE 'Ssl_cipher_list';

The set of available ciphers depends on your MySQL version and whether MySQL was compiled using OpenSSL or yaSSL, and (for OpenSSL) the library version used to compile MySQL.

MySQL passes this cipher list to OpenSSL:

AES256-GCM-SHA384
AES256-SHA
AES256-SHA256
CAMELLIA256-SHA
DES-CBC3-SHA
DHE-DSS-AES256-GCM-SHA384
DHE-DSS-AES256-SHA
DHE-DSS-AES256-SHA256
DHE-DSS-CAMELLIA256-SHA
DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA
DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA256
DHE-RSA-CAMELLIA256-SHA
ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-SHA
ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384
ECDH-ECDSA-DES-CBC3-SHA
ECDH-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
ECDH-RSA-AES256-SHA
ECDH-RSA-AES256-SHA384
ECDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384
ECDHE-ECDSA-DES-CBC3-SHA
ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256
ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA
ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256
ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA
ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384
ECDHE-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA
EDH-DSS-DES-CBC3-SHA
EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA
PSK-3DES-EDE-CBC-SHA
PSK-AES256-CBC-SHA
SRP-DSS-3DES-EDE-CBC-SHA
SRP-DSS-AES-128-CBC-SHA
SRP-DSS-AES-256-CBC-SHA
SRP-RSA-3DES-EDE-CBC-SHA
SRP-RSA-AES-128-CBC-S
SRP-RSA-AES-256-CBC-SHA

MySQL passes this cipher list to yaSSL:

AES128-RMD
AES128-SHA
AES256-RMD
AES256-SHA
DES-CBC-SHA
DES-CBC3-RMD
DES-CBC3-SHA
DHE-RSA-AES128-RMD
DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA
DHE-RSA-AES256-RMD
DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA
DHE-RSA-DES-CBC3-RMD
EDH-RSA-DES-CBC-SHA
EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA
RC4-MD5
RC4-SHA

6.4.4 Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections

To enable secure connections, your MySQL distribution must be built with SSL support, as described in Section 6.4.2, “Building MySQL with Support for Secure Connections”. In addition, the proper options must be used to specify the appropriate certificate and key files. For a complete list of options related to establishment of secure connections, see Section 6.4.5, “Command Options for Secure Connections”.

If you need to create the required certificate and key files, see Section 6.4.6, “Creating SSL Certificates and Keys Using openssl”.

Server-Side Configuration for Secure Connections

To start the MySQL server so that it permits clients to connect securely, use options that identify the certificate and key files the server uses when establishing a secure connection:

  • --ssl-ca identifies the Certificate Authority (CA) certificate.

  • --ssl-cert identifies the server public key certificate. This can be sent to the client and authenticated against the CA certificate that it has.

  • --ssl-key identifies the server private key.

For example, start the server with these lines in the my.cnf file, changing the file names as necessary:

[mysqld]
ssl-ca=ca.pem
ssl-cert=server-cert.pem
ssl-key=server-key.pem

Each option names a file in PEM format. If you have a MySQL source distribution, you can test your setup using the demonstration certificate and key files in its mysql-test/std_data directory.

Client-Side Configuration for Secure Connections

For client programs, options for secure connections are similar to those used on the server side, but --ssl-cert and --ssl-key identify the client public and private key:

  • --ssl-ca identifies the Certificate Authority (CA) certificate. This option, if used, must specify the same certificate used by the server.

  • --ssl-cert identifies the client public key certificate.

  • --ssl-key identifies the client private key.

To connect securely to a MySQL server that supports secure connections, the options that a client must specify depend on the encryption requirements of the MySQL account used by the client. (See the discussion of the REQUIRE clause in Section 13.7.1.3, “GRANT Syntax”.)

Suppose that you want to connect using an account that has no special encryption requirements or was created using a GRANT statement that includes the REQUIRE SSL option. As a recommended set of secure-connection options, start the server with at least --ssl-cert and --ssl-key, and invoke the client with --ssl-ca. A client can connect securely like this:

shell> mysql --ssl-ca=ca.pem

To require that a client certificate also be specified, create the account using the REQUIRE X509 option. Then the client must also specify the proper client key and certificate files or the server will reject the connection:

shell> mysql --ssl-ca=ca.pem \
       --ssl-cert=client-cert.pem \
       --ssl-key=client-key.pem

To prevent use of encryption and override other --ssl-xxx options, invoke the client program with --ssl=0 or a synonym (--skip-ssl, --disable-ssl):

shell> mysql --ssl=0

A client can determine whether the current connection with the server uses encryption by checking the value of the Ssl_cipher status variable. If the value is empty, the connection is not encrypted. Otherwise, the connection is encrypted and the value indicates the encryption cipher. For example:

mysql> SHOW STATUS LIKE 'Ssl_cipher';
+---------------+--------------------+
| Variable_name | Value              |
+---------------+--------------------+
| Ssl_cipher    | DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA |
+---------------+--------------------+

For the mysql client, an alternative is to use the STATUS or \s command and check the SSL line:

mysql> \s
...
SSL: Cipher in use is DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA
...

Or:

mysql> \s
...
SSL: Not in use
...

C API Configuration for Secure Connections

The C API enables application programs to use secure connections:

Replication uses the C API, so secure connections can be used between master and slave servers. See Section 17.3.7, “Setting Up Replication to Use Secure Connections”.

6.4.5 Command Options for Secure Connections

This section describes options that specify whether to use secure connections and the names of certificate and key files. These options can be given on the command line or in an option file. They are not available unless MySQL has been built with SSL support. See Section 6.4.2, “Building MySQL with Support for Secure Connections”. For examples of suggested use and how to check whether a connection is secure, see Section 6.4.4, “Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections”.

Table 6.8 Secure-Connection Option Summary

FormatDescriptionIntroduced
--skip-sslDo not use secure connection 
--sslEnable secure connection 
--ssl-caPath of file that contains list of trusted SSL CAs 
--ssl-capathPath of directory that contains trusted SSL CA certificates in PEM format 
--ssl-certPath of file that contains X509 certificate in PEM format 
--ssl-cipherList of permitted ciphers to use for connection encryption 
--ssl-keyPath of file that contains X509 key in PEM format 
--ssl-modeSecurity state of connection to server5.5.49
--ssl-verify-server-certVerify server certificate Common Name value against host name used when connecting to server 

  • --ssl

    For the MySQL server, this option specifies that the server permits but does not require secure connections.

    For MySQL client programs, this option permits but does not require the client to connect to the server using encryption. Therefore, this option is not sufficient in itself to cause a secure connection to be used. For example, if you specify this option for a client program but the server has not been configured to support secure connections, the client falls back to an unencrypted connection.

    As a recommended set of options to enable secure connections, use at least --ssl-cert and --ssl-key on the server side and --ssl-ca on the client side. See Section 6.4.4, “Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections”.

    --ssl may be implied by other --ssl-xxx options, as indicated in the descriptions for those options.

    The --ssl option in negated form overrides other --ssl-xxx options and indicates that encryption should not be used. To do this, specify the option as --ssl=0 or a synonym (--skip-ssl, --disable-ssl). For example, you might have options specified in the [client] group of your option file to use secure connections by default when you invoke MySQL client programs. To use an unencrypted connection instead, invoke the client program with --ssl=0 on the command line to override the options in the option file.

    To require use of secure connections by a MySQL account, use a GRANT statement for the account that includes at least a REQUIRE SSL clause. Connections for the account will be rejected unless MySQL supports secure connections and the server and client have been started with the proper secure-connection options.

    The REQUIRE clause permits other encryption-related options, which can be used to enforce stricter requirements than REQUIRE SSL. For additional details about which command options may or must be specified by clients that connect using accounts configured using the various REQUIRE options, see the description of REQUIRE in Section 13.7.1.3, “GRANT Syntax”.

  • --ssl-ca=file_name

    The path to a file in PEM format that contains a list of trusted SSL certificate authorities. This option implies --ssl.

    If you use encryption when establishing a client connection, to tell the client not to authenticate the server certificate, specify neither --ssl-ca nor --ssl-capath. The server still verifies the client according to any applicable requirements established for the client account, and it still uses any --ssl-ca or --ssl-capath option values specified at server startup.

  • --ssl-capath=dir_name

    The path to a directory that contains trusted SSL certificate authority certificates in PEM format. This option implies --ssl.

    If you use encryption when establishing a client connection, to tell the client not to authenticate the server certificate, specify neither --ssl-ca nor --ssl-capath. The server still verifies the client according to any applicable requirements established for the client account, and it still uses any --ssl-ca or --ssl-capath option values specified at server startup.

    MySQL distributions compiled using OpenSSL support the --ssl-capath option (see Section 6.4.1, “OpenSSL Versus yaSSL”). Distributions compiled using yaSSL do not because yaSSL does not look in any directory and does not follow a chained certificate tree. yaSSL requires that all components of the CA certificate tree be contained within a single CA certificate tree and that each certificate in the file has a unique SubjectName value. To work around this yaSSL limitation, concatenate the individual certificate files comprising the certificate tree into a new file and specify that file as the value of the --ssl-ca option.

  • --ssl-cert=file_name

    The name of the SSL certificate file in PEM format to use for establishing a secure connection. This option implies --ssl.

  • --ssl-cipher=cipher_list

    A list of permissible ciphers to use for connection encryption. If no cipher in the list is supported, encrypted connections will not work. This option implies --ssl.

    For greatest portability, cipher_list should be a list of one or more cipher names, separated by colons. This format is understood both by OpenSSL and yaSSL. Examples:

    --ssl-cipher=AES128-SHA
    --ssl-cipher=DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:AES128-SHA
    

    OpenSSL supports a more flexible syntax for specifying ciphers, as described in the OpenSSL documentation at https://www.openssl.org/docs/manmaster/man1/ciphers.html. yaSSL does not, so attempts to use that extended syntax fail for a MySQL distribution compiled using yaSSL.

    For information about which encryption ciphers MySQL supports, see Section 6.4.3, “Secure Connection Protocols and Ciphers”.

  • --ssl-key=file_name

    The name of the SSL key file in PEM format to use for establishing a secure connection. This option implies --ssl.

    If the MySQL distribution was compiled using OpenSSL and the key file is protected by a passphrase, the program prompts the user for the passphrase. The password must be given interactively; it cannot be stored in a file. If the passphrase is incorrect, the program continues as if it could not read the key. If the MySQL distribution was built using yaSSL and the key file is protected by a passphrase, an error occurs.

  • --ssl-mode=mode

    This option is available only for client programs, not the server. It specifies the security state of the connection to the server:

    • If this option is not specified, the default is to establish an unencrypted connection. This is like the --ssl=0 option or its synonyms (--skip-ssl, --disable-ssl).

    • If this option is specified, the only permitted value is REQUIRED (establish a secure connection if the server supports secure connections). The connection attempt fails if a secure connection cannot be established.

    The --ssl-mode option was added in MySQL 5.5.49.

    Note

    To require encrypted connections in MySQL 5.5, the standard MySQL client programs check whether the connection is encrypted if --ssl-mode=REQUIRED was specified. If not, the client exits with an error. Third-party applications that must be able to require encrypted connections can use the same technique. For details, see Section 23.8.7.67, “mysql_ssl_set()”.

  • --ssl-verify-server-cert

    This option is available only for client programs, not the server. It causes the client to check the server's Common Name value in the certificate that the server sends to the client. The client verifies that name against the host name the client uses for connecting to the server, and the connection fails if there is a mismatch. For encrypted connections, this option helps prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. Verification is disabled by default.

6.4.6 Creating SSL Certificates and Keys Using openssl

This section describes how to use the openssl command to set up SSL certificate and key files for use by MySQL servers and clients. The first example shows a simplified procedure such as you might use from the command line. The second shows a script that contains more detail. The first two examples are intended for use on Unix and both use the openssl command that is part of OpenSSL. The third example describes how to set up SSL files on Windows.

Important

Whatever method you use to generate the certificate and key files, the Common Name value used for the server and client certificates/keys must each differ from the Common Name value used for the CA certificate. Otherwise, the certificate and key files will not work for servers compiled using OpenSSL. A typical error in this case is:

ERROR 2026 (HY000): SSL connection error:
error:00000001:lib(0):func(0):reason(1)

Example 1: Creating SSL Files from the Command Line on Unix

The following example shows a set of commands to create MySQL server and client certificate and key files. You will need to respond to several prompts by the openssl commands. To generate test files, you can press Enter to all prompts. To generate files for production use, you should provide nonempty responses.

# Create clean environment
shell> rm -rf newcerts
shell> mkdir newcerts && cd newcerts

# Create CA certificate
shell> openssl genrsa 2048 > ca-key.pem
shell> openssl req -new -x509 -nodes -days 3600 \
         -key ca-key.pem -out ca.pem

# Create server certificate, remove passphrase, and sign it
# server-cert.pem = public key, server-key.pem = private key
shell> openssl req -newkey rsa:2048 -days 3600 \
         -nodes -keyout server-key.pem -out server-req.pem
shell> openssl rsa -in server-key.pem -out server-key.pem
shell> openssl x509 -req -in server-req.pem -days 3600 \
         -CA ca.pem -CAkey ca-key.pem -set_serial 01 -out server-cert.pem

# Create client certificate, remove passphrase, and sign it
# client-cert.pem = public key, client-key.pem = private key
shell> openssl req -newkey rsa:2048 -days 3600 \
         -nodes -keyout client-key.pem -out client-req.pem
shell> openssl rsa -in client-key.pem -out client-key.pem
shell> openssl x509 -req -in client-req.pem -days 3600 \
         -CA ca.pem -CAkey ca-key.pem -set_serial 01 -out client-cert.pem

After generating the certificates, verify them:

shell> openssl verify -CAfile ca.pem server-cert.pem client-cert.pem
server-cert.pem: OK
client-cert.pem: OK

Now you have a set of files that can be used as follows:

  • ca.pem: Use this as the argument to --ssl-ca on the server and client sides. (The CA certificate, if used, must be the same on both sides.)

  • server-cert.pem, server-key.pem: Use these as the arguments to --ssl-cert and --ssl-key on the server side.

  • client-cert.pem, client-key.pem: Use these as the arguments to --ssl-cert and --ssl-key on the client side.

To use the files for SSL connections, see Section 6.4.4, “Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections”.

Example 2: Creating SSL Files Using a Script on Unix

Here is an example script that shows how to set up SSL certificate and key files for MySQL. After executing the script, use the files for SSL connections as described in Section 6.4.4, “Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections”.

DIR=`pwd`/openssl
PRIV=$DIR/private

mkdir $DIR $PRIV $DIR/newcerts
cp /usr/share/ssl/openssl.cnf $DIR
replace ./demoCA $DIR -- $DIR/openssl.cnf

# Create necessary files: $database, $serial and $new_certs_dir
# directory (optional)

touch $DIR/index.txt
echo "01" > $DIR/serial

#
# Generation of Certificate Authority(CA)
#

openssl req -new -x509 -keyout $PRIV/cakey.pem -out $DIR/ca.pem \
    -days 3600 -config $DIR/openssl.cnf

# Sample output:
# Using configuration from /home/finley/openssl/openssl.cnf
# Generating a 1024 bit RSA private key
# ................++++++
# .........++++++
# writing new private key to '/home/finley/openssl/private/cakey.pem'
# Enter PEM pass phrase:
# Verifying password - Enter PEM pass phrase:
# -----
# You are about to be asked to enter information that will be
# incorporated into your certificate request.
# What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name
# or a DN.
# There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
# For some fields there will be a default value,
# If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
# -----
# Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:FI
# State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:.
# Locality Name (eg, city) []:
# Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:MySQL AB
# Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
# Common Name (eg, YOUR name) []:MySQL admin
# Email Address []:

#
# Create server request and key
#
openssl req -new -keyout $DIR/server-key.pem -out \
    $DIR/server-req.pem -days 3600 -config $DIR/openssl.cnf

# Sample output:
# Using configuration from /home/finley/openssl/openssl.cnf
# Generating a 1024 bit RSA private key
# ..++++++
# ..........++++++
# writing new private key to '/home/finley/openssl/server-key.pem'
# Enter PEM pass phrase:
# Verifying password - Enter PEM pass phrase:
# -----
# You are about to be asked to enter information that will be
# incorporated into your certificate request.
# What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name
# or a DN.
# There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
# For some fields there will be a default value,
# If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
# -----
# Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:FI
# State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:.
# Locality Name (eg, city) []:
# Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:MySQL AB
# Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
# Common Name (eg, YOUR name) []:MySQL server
# Email Address []:
#
# Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
# to be sent with your certificate request
# A challenge password []:
# An optional company name []:

#
# Remove the passphrase from the key
#
openssl rsa -in $DIR/server-key.pem -out $DIR/server-key.pem

#
# Sign server cert
#
openssl ca -cert $DIR/ca.pem -policy policy_anything \
    -out $DIR/server-cert.pem -config $DIR/openssl.cnf \
    -infiles $DIR/server-req.pem

# Sample output:
# Using configuration from /home/finley/openssl/openssl.cnf
# Enter PEM pass phrase:
# Check that the request matches the signature
# Signature ok
# The Subjects Distinguished Name is as follows
# countryName           :PRINTABLE:'FI'
# organizationName      :PRINTABLE:'MySQL AB'
# commonName            :PRINTABLE:'MySQL admin'
# Certificate is to be certified until Sep 13 14:22:46 2003 GMT
# (365 days)
# Sign the certificate? [y/n]:y
#
#
# 1 out of 1 certificate requests certified, commit? [y/n]y
# Write out database with 1 new entries
# Data Base Updated

#
# Create client request and key
#
openssl req -new -keyout $DIR/client-key.pem -out \
    $DIR/client-req.pem -days 3600 -config $DIR/openssl.cnf

# Sample output:
# Using configuration from /home/finley/openssl/openssl.cnf
# Generating a 1024 bit RSA private key
# .....................................++++++
# .............................................++++++
# writing new private key to '/home/finley/openssl/client-key.pem'
# Enter PEM pass phrase:
# Verifying password - Enter PEM pass phrase:
# -----
# You are about to be asked to enter information that will be
# incorporated into your certificate request.
# What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name
# or a DN.
# There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
# For some fields there will be a default value,
# If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
# -----
# Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:FI
# State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:.
# Locality Name (eg, city) []:
# Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:MySQL AB
# Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
# Common Name (eg, YOUR name) []:MySQL user
# Email Address []:
#
# Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
# to be sent with your certificate request
# A challenge password []:
# An optional company name []:

#
# Remove the passphrase from the key
#
openssl rsa -in $DIR/client-key.pem -out $DIR/client-key.pem

#
# Sign client cert
#

openssl ca -cert $DIR/ca.pem -policy policy_anything \
    -out $DIR/client-cert.pem -config $DIR/openssl.cnf \
    -infiles $DIR/client-req.pem

# Sample output:
# Using configuration from /home/finley/openssl/openssl.cnf
# Enter PEM pass phrase:
# Check that the request matches the signature
# Signature ok
# The Subjects Distinguished Name is as follows
# countryName           :PRINTABLE:'FI'
# organizationName      :PRINTABLE:'MySQL AB'
# commonName            :PRINTABLE:'MySQL user'
# Certificate is to be certified until Sep 13 16:45:17 2003 GMT
# (365 days)
# Sign the certificate? [y/n]:y
#
#
# 1 out of 1 certificate requests certified, commit? [y/n]y
# Write out database with 1 new entries
# Data Base Updated

#
# Create a my.cnf file that you can use to test the certificates
#

cat <<EOF > $DIR/my.cnf
[client]
ssl-ca=$DIR/ca.pem
ssl-cert=$DIR/client-cert.pem
ssl-key=$DIR/client-key.pem
[mysqld]
ssl-ca=$DIR/ca.pem
ssl-cert=$DIR/server-cert.pem
ssl-key=$DIR/server-key.pem
EOF

Example 3: Creating SSL Files on Windows

Download OpenSSL for Windows if it is not installed on your system. An overview of available packages can be seen here:

http://www.slproweb.com/products/Win32OpenSSL.html

Choose the Win32 OpenSSL Light or Win64 OpenSSL Light package, depending on your architecture (32-bit or 64-bit). The default installation location will be C:\OpenSSL-Win32 or C:\OpenSSL-Win64, depending on which package you downloaded. The following instructions assume a default location of C:\OpenSSL-Win32. Modify this as necessary if you are using the 64-bit package.

If a message occurs during setup indicating '...critical component is missing: Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributables', cancel the setup and download one of the following packages as well, again depending on your architecture (32-bit or 64-bit):

After installing the additional package, restart the OpenSSL setup procedure.

During installation, leave the default C:\OpenSSL-Win32 as the install path, and also leave the default option 'Copy OpenSSL DLL files to the Windows system directory' selected.

When the installation has finished, add C:\OpenSSL-Win32\bin to the Windows System Path variable of your server:

  1. On the Windows desktop, right-click the My Computer icon, and select Properties.

  2. Select the Advanced tab from the System Properties menu that appears, and click the Environment Variables button.

  3. Under System Variables, select Path, then click the Edit button. The Edit System Variable dialogue should appear.

  4. Add ';C:\OpenSSL-Win32\bin' to the end (notice the semicolon).

  5. Press OK 3 times.

  6. Check that OpenSSL was correctly integrated into the Path variable by opening a new command console (Start>Run>cmd.exe) and verifying that OpenSSL is available:

    Microsoft Windows [Version ...]
    Copyright (c) 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
    
    C:\Windows\system32>cd \
    
    C:\>openssl
    OpenSSL> exit <<< If you see the OpenSSL prompt, installation was successful.
    
    C:\>
    

Depending on your version of Windows, the preceding path-setting instructions might differ slightly.

After OpenSSL has been installed, use instructions similar to those from Example 1 (shown earlier in this section), with the following changes:

  • Change the following Unix commands:

    # Create clean environment
    shell> rm -rf newcerts
    shell> mkdir newcerts && cd newcerts
    

    On Windows, use these commands instead:

    # Create clean environment
    C:\> md c:\newcerts
    C:\> cd c:\newcerts
    
  • When a '\' character is shown at the end of a command line, this '\' character must be removed and the command lines entered all on a single line.

After generating the certificate and key files, to use them for SSL connections, see Section 6.4.4, “Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections”.

6.4.7 Connecting to MySQL Remotely from Windows with SSH

This section describes how to get a secure connection to a remote MySQL server with SSH. The information was provided by David Carlson .

  1. Install an SSH client on your Windows machine. For a comparison of SSH clients, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_SSH_clients.

  2. Start your Windows SSH client. Set Host_Name = yourmysqlserver_URL_or_IP. Set userid=your_userid to log in to your server. This userid value might not be the same as the user name of your MySQL account.

  3. Set up port forwarding. Either do a remote forward (Set local_port: 3306, remote_host: yourmysqlservername_or_ip, remote_port: 3306 ) or a local forward (Set port: 3306, host: localhost, remote port: 3306).

  4. Save everything, otherwise you will have to redo it the next time.

  5. Log in to your server with the SSH session you just created.

  6. On your Windows machine, start some ODBC application (such as Access).

  7. Create a new file in Windows and link to MySQL using the ODBC driver the same way you normally do, except type in localhost for the MySQL host server, not yourmysqlservername.

At this point, you should have an ODBC connection to MySQL, encrypted using SSH.

6.5 Security Plugins

MySQL includes several plugins that implement security features:

  • Plugins for authenticating attempts by clients to connect to MySQL Server. Plugins are available for several authentication protocols. For general discussion of the authentication process, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”. For characteristics of specific authentication plugins, see Section 6.5.1, “Authentication Plugins”.

  • (MySQL Enterprise Edition only) MySQL Enterprise Audit, implemented using a server plugin, uses the open MySQL Audit API to enable standard, policy-based monitoring and logging of connection and query activity executed on specific MySQL servers. Designed to meet the Oracle audit specification, MySQL Enterprise Audit provides an out of box, easy to use auditing and compliance solution for applications that are governed by both internal and external regulatory guidelines.

6.5.1 Authentication Plugins

The following sections describe pluggable authentication methods available in MySQL and the plugins that implement these methods. For general discussion of the authentication process, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”.

6.5.1.1 Native Pluggable Authentication

MySQL includes two plugins that implement native authentication; that is, authentication based on the password hashing methods in use from before the introduction of pluggable authentication. This section describes mysql_native_password, which implements authentication against the mysql.user table using the native password hashing method. For information about mysql_old_password, which implements authentication using the older (pre-4.1) native password hashing method, see Section 6.5.1.2, “Old Native Pluggable Authentication”. For information about these password hashing methods, see Section 6.1.2.4, “Password Hashing in MySQL”.

The mysql_native_password native authentication plugin is backward compatible. Older clients that do not support authentication plugins do use the native authentication protocol, so they can connect to servers that support pluggable authentication.

The following table shows the plugin names on the server and client sides.

Table 6.9 Plugin and Library Names for Native Password Authentication

Server-side plugin namemysql_native_password
Client-side plugin namemysql_native_password
Library file nameNone (plugins are built in)

The following sections provide installation and usage information specific to native pluggable authentication:

For general information about pluggable authentication in MySQL, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”.

Installing Native Pluggable Authentication

The mysql_native_password plugin exists in server and client forms:

  • The server-side plugin is built into the server, need not be loaded explicitly, and cannot be disabled by unloading it.

  • The client-side plugin is built into the libmysqlclient client library and available to any program linked against libmysqlclient.

Using Native Pluggable Authentication

MySQL client programs use mysql_native_password by default. The --default-auth option can be used as a hint about which client-side plugin the program can expect to use:

shell> mysql --default-auth=mysql_native_password ...

If an account row specifies no plugin name, the server authenticates the account using either the mysql_native_password or mysql_old_password plugin, depending on whether the password hash value in the Password column used native hashing or the older pre-4.1 hashing method. Clients must match the password in the Password column of the account row.

6.5.1.2 Old Native Pluggable Authentication

MySQL includes two plugins that implement native authentication; that is, authentication based on the password hashing methods in use from before the introduction of pluggable authentication. This section describes mysql_old_password, which implements authentication against the mysql.user table using the older (pre-4.1) native password hashing method. For information about mysql_native_password, which implements authentication using the native password hashing method, see Section 6.5.1.1, “Native Pluggable Authentication”. For information about these password hashing methods, see Section 6.1.2.4, “Password Hashing in MySQL”.

Note

Passwords that use the pre-4.1 hashing method are less secure than passwords that use the native password hashing method and should be avoided.

The mysql_old_password native authentication plugin is backward compatible. Older clients that do not support authentication plugins do use the native authentication protocol, so they can connect to servers that support pluggable authentication.

The following table shows the plugin names on the server and client sides.

Table 6.10 Plugin and Library Names for Old Native Password Authentication

Server-side plugin namemysql_old_password
Client-side plugin namemysql_old_password
Library file nameNone (plugins are built in)

The following sections provide installation and usage information specific to old native pluggable authentication:

For general information about pluggable authentication in MySQL, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”.

Installing Old Native Pluggable Authentication

The mysql_old_password plugin exists in server and client forms:

  • The server-side plugin is built into the server, need not be loaded explicitly, and cannot be disabled by unloading it.

  • The client-side plugin is built into the libmysqlclient client library and available to any program linked against libmysqlclient.

Using Old Native Pluggable Authentication

MySQL client programs can use the --default-auth option to specify the mysql_old_password plugin as a hint about which client-side plugin the program can expect to use:

shell> mysql --default-auth=mysql_old_password ...

If an account row specifies no plugin name, the server authenticates the account using either the mysql_native_password or mysql_old_password plugin, depending on whether the password hash value in the Password column used native hashing or the older pre-4.1 hashing method. Clients must match the password in the Password column of the account row.

6.5.1.3 Client-Side Cleartext Pluggable Authentication

As of MySQL 5.5.10, a client-side authentication plugin is available that sends the password to the server without hashing or encryption. This plugin is built into the MySQL client library.

The following table shows the plugin name.

Table 6.11 Plugin and Library Names for Cleartext Authentication

Server-side plugin nameNone, see discussion
Client-side plugin namemysql_clear_password
Library file nameNone (plugin is built in)

With many MySQL authentication methods, the client performs hashing or encryption of the password before sending it to the server. This enables the client to avoid sending the password in clear text.

Hashing or encryption cannot be done for authentication schemes that require the server to receive the password as entered on the client side. In such cases, the client-side mysql_clear_password plugin is used to send the password to the server in clear text. There is no corresponding server-side plugin. Rather, the client-side plugin can be used by any server-side plugin that needs a cleartext password. (The PAM authentication plugin is one such; see Section 6.5.1.4, “PAM Pluggable Authentication”.)

The following discussion provides usage information specific to clear text pluggable authentication. For For general information about pluggable authentication in MySQL, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”.

Note

Sending passwords in clear text may be a security problem in some configurations. To avoid problems if there is any possibility that the password would be intercepted, clients should connect to MySQL Server using a method that protects the password. Possibilities include SSL (see Section 6.4, “Using Secure Connections”), IPsec, or a private network.

As of MySQL 5.5.27, to make inadvertent use of the mysql_clear_password plugin less likely, MySQL clients must explicitly enable it. This can be done several ways:

  • Set the LIBMYSQL_ENABLE_CLEARTEXT_PLUGIN environment variable to a value that begins with 1, Y, or y. This enables the plugin for all client connections.

  • The mysql, mysqladmin, and mysqlslap client programs (also mysqlcheck, mysqldump, and mysqlshow for MySQL 5.5.47 and later) support an --enable-cleartext-plugin option that enables the plugin on a per-invocation basis.

  • The mysql_options() C API function supports a MYSQL_ENABLE_CLEARTEXT_PLUGIN option that enables the plugin on a per-connection basis. Also, any program that uses libmysqlclient and reads option files can enable the plugin by including an enable-cleartext-plugin option in an option group read by the client library.

6.5.1.4 PAM Pluggable Authentication

Note

PAM pluggable authentication is an extension included in MySQL Enterprise Edition, a commercial product. To learn more about commercial products, see http://www.mysql.com/products/.

As of MySQL 5.5.16, MySQL Enterprise Edition supports an authentication method that enables MySQL Server to use PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) to authenticate MySQL users. PAM enables a system to use a standard interface to access various kinds of authentication methods, such as Unix passwords or an LDAP directory.

PAM pluggable authentication provides these capabilities:

  • External authentication: PAM authentication enables MySQL Server to accept connections from users defined outside the MySQL grant tables and that authenticate using methods supported by PAM.

  • Proxy user support: PAM authentication can return to MySQL a user name different from the login user, based on the groups the external user is in and the authentication string provided. This means that the plugin can return the MySQL user that defines the privileges the external PAM-authenticated user should have. For example, a user named joe can connect and have the privileges of the user named developer.

PAM pluggable authentication has been tested on Linux and macOS.

The PAM plugin uses the information passed to it by MySQL Server (such as user name, host name, password, and authentication string), plus whatever method is available for PAM lookup. The plugin checks the user credentials against PAM and returns 'Authentication succeeded, Username is user_name' or 'Authentication failed'.

The following table shows the plugin and library file names. The file name suffix might differ on your system. The file must be located in the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable. For installation information, see Installing PAM Pluggable Authentication.

Table 6.12 Plugin and Library Names for PAM Authentication

Server-side plugin nameauthentication_pam
Client-side plugin namemysql_clear_password
Library file nameauthentication_pam.so

The server-side PAM authentication plugin is included only in MySQL Enterprise Edition, and the PAM library file includes only the server-side plugin. The server-side PAM authentication plugin is not included in MySQL community distributions.

As of MySQL 5.5.10, the client-side clear-text plugin that communicates with the server-side PAM plugin is built into the libmysqlclient client library and is included in all distributions, including community distributions. Inclusion of the client-side clear-text plugin in all MySQL distributions enables clients from any MySQL 5.5.10 or higher distribution to connect to a server that has the server-side plugin loaded.

The following sections provide installation and usage information specific to PAM pluggable authentication:

For general information about pluggable authentication in MySQL, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”. For information about the mysql_clear_password plugin, see Section 6.5.1.3, “Client-Side Cleartext Pluggable Authentication”. For proxy user information, see Section 6.3.7, “Proxy Users”.

Installing PAM Pluggable Authentication

This section describes how to install the PAM authentication plugin. For general information about installing plugins, see Section 5.5.1, “Installing and Uninstalling Plugins”.

To be usable by the server, the plugin library file must be located in the MySQL plugin directory (the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable). If necessary, set the value of plugin_dir at server startup to tell the server the plugin directory location.

The plugin library file base name is authentication_pam. The file name suffix differs per platform (for example, .so for Unix and Unix-like systems, .dll for Windows).

To load the plugin at server startup, use the --plugin-load option to name the library file that contains it. With this plugin-loading method, the option must be given each time the server starts. For example, put these lines in your my.cnf file (adjust the .so suffix for your platform as necessary):

[mysqld]
plugin-load=authentication_pam.so

After modifying my.cnf, restart the server to cause the new settings to take effect.

Alternatively, to register the plugin at runtime, use this statement (adjust the .so suffix as necessary):

INSTALL PLUGIN authentication_pam SONAME 'authentication_pam.so';

INSTALL PLUGIN loads a plugin, and also registers it in the mysql.plugins system table to cause the plugin to be loaded for each subsequent normal server startup.

To verify plugin installation, examine the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS table or use the SHOW PLUGINS statement (see Section 5.5.2, “Obtaining Server Plugin Information”). For example:

mysql> SELECT PLUGIN_NAME, PLUGIN_STATUS
       FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS
       WHERE PLUGIN_NAME LIKE '%pam%';
+--------------------+---------------+
| PLUGIN_NAME        | PLUGIN_STATUS |
+--------------------+---------------+
| authentication_pam | ACTIVE        |
+--------------------+---------------+

If the plugin fails to initialize, check the server error log for diagnostic messages.

To associate MySQL accounts with the PAM plugin, see Using PAM Pluggable Authentication.

Uninstalling PAM Pluggable Authentication

The method used to uninstall the PAM authentication plugin depends on how you installed it:

  • If you installed the plugin at server startup using a --plugin-load option, restart the server without the option.

  • If you installed the plugin at runtime using INSTALL PLUGIN, it remains installed across server restarts. To uninstall it, use UNINSTALL PLUGIN:

    UNINSTALL PLUGIN authentication_pam;
    
Using PAM Pluggable Authentication

This section describes how to use the PAM authentication plugin to connect from MySQL client programs to the server. It is assumed that the server is running with the server-side plugin enabled, as described in Installing PAM Pluggable Authentication, and that client programs are recent enough to include the client-side plugin.

To refer to the PAM authentication plugin in the IDENTIFIED WITH clause of a CREATE USER or GRANT statement, use the name authentication_pam. For example:

CREATE USER user
  IDENTIFIED WITH authentication_pam
  AS 'authentication_string';

The authentication string specifies the following types of information:

  • PAM supports the notion of service name, which is a name that the system administrator can use to configure the authentication method for a particular application. There can be several such applications associated with a single database server instance, so the choice of service name is left to the SQL application developer. When you define an account that should authenticate using PAM, specify the service name in the authentication string.

  • PAM provides a way for a PAM module to return to the server a MySQL user name other than the login name supplied at login time. Use the authentication string to control the mapping between login name and MySQL user name. If you want to take advantage of proxy user capabilities, the authentication string must include this kind of mapping.

For example, if the service name is mysql and users in the root and users PAM groups should be mapped to the developer and data_entry MySQL users, respectively, use a statement like this:

CREATE USER user
  IDENTIFIED WITH authentication_pam
  AS 'mysql, root=developer, users=data_entry';

Authentication string syntax for the PAM authentication plugin follows these rules:

  • The string consists of a PAM service name, optionally followed by a group mapping list consisting of one or more keyword/value pairs each specifying a group name and a MySQL user name:

    pam_service_name[,group_name=mysql_user_name]...
    

    The plugin parses the authentication string on each login check. To minimize overhead, keep the string as short as possible.

  • Each group_name=mysql_user_name pair must be preceded by a comma.

  • Leading and trailing spaces not inside double quotation marks are ignored.

  • Unquoted pam_service_name, group_name, and mysql_user_name values can contain anything except equal sign, comma, or space.

  • If a pam_service_name, group_name, or mysql_user_name value is quoted with double quotation marks, everything between the quotation marks is part of the value. This is necessary, for example, if the value contains space characters. All characters are legal except double quotation mark and backslash (\). To include either character, escape it with a backslash.

If the plugin successfully authenticates a login name, it looks for a group mapping list in the authentication string and, if present, uses it to return a different user name to the MySQL server based on the groups the external user is a member of:

  • If the authentication string contains no group mapping list, the plugin returns the login name.

  • If the authentication string does contain a group mapping list, the plugin examines each group_name=mysql_user_name pair in the list from left to right and tries to find a match for the group_name value in a non-MySQL directory of the groups assigned to the authenticated user and returns mysql_user_name for the first match it finds. If the plugin finds no match for any group, it returns the login name. If the plugin is not capable of looking up a group in a directory, it ignores the group mapping list and returns the login name.

The following sections describe how to set up several authentication scenarios that use the PAM authentication plugin:

  • No proxy users. This uses PAM only to check login names and passwords. Every external user permitted to connect to MySQL Server should have a matching MySQL account that is defined to use external PAM authentication. (For a MySQL account of user_name@host_name to match the external user, user_name must be the login name and host_name must match the host from which the client connects.) Authentication can be performed by various PAM-supported methods. The discussion shows how to use traditional Unix passwords and LDAP.

    PAM authentication, when not done through proxy users or groups, requires the MySQL account to have the same user name as the Unix account. MySQL user names are limited to 16 characters (see Section 6.2.2, “Grant Tables”), which limits PAM nonproxy authentication to Unix accounts with names of at most 16 characters.

  • Proxy login only and group mapping. For this scenario, create one or a few MySQL accounts that define different sets of privileges. (Ideally, nobody should connect using those accounts directly.) Then define a default user authenticating through PAM that uses some mapping scheme (usually by the external groups the users are in) to map all the external logins to the few MySQL accounts holding the privilege sets. Any user that logs in is mapped to one of the MySQL accounts and uses its privileges. The discussion shows how to set this up using Unix passwords, but other PAM methods such as LDAP could be used instead.

Variations on these scenarios are possible. For example, you can permit some users to log in directly (without proxying) but require others to connect through proxy users.

The examples make the following assumptions. You might need to make some adjustments if your system is set up differently.

  • The PAM configuration directory is /etc/pam.d.

  • The PAM service name is mysql, which means that you must set up a PAM file named mysql in the PAM configuration directory (creating the file if it does not exist). If you use a service name different from mysql, the file name will differ and you must use a different name in the AS 'auth_string' clause of CREATE USER and GRANT statements.

  • The examples use a login name of antonio and password of verysecret. Change these to correspond to the users you want to authenticate.

The PAM authentication plugin checks at initialization time whether the AUTHENTICATION_PAM_LOG environment value is set in the server's startup environment. If so, the plugin enables logging of diagnostic messages to the standard output. Depending on how your server is started, the message might appear on the console or in the error log. These messages can be helpful for debugging PAM-related problems that occur when the plugin performs authentication. For more information, see PAM Pluggable Authentication Debugging.

Unix Password Authentication without Proxy Users

This authentication scenario uses PAM only to check Unix user login names and passwords. Every external user permitted to connect to MySQL Server should have a matching MySQL account that is defined to use external PAM authentication.

  1. Verify that Unix authentication in PAM permits you to log in as antonio with password verysecret.

  2. Set up PAM to authenticate the mysql service by creating a file named /etc/pam.d/mysql. The file contents are system dependent, so check existing login-related files in the /etc/pam.d directory to see what they look like. On Linux, the mysql file might look like this:

    #%PAM-1.0
    auth            include         password-auth
    account         include         password-auth
    

    For Gentoo Linux, use system-login rather than password-auth. For macOS, use login rather than password-auth.

    The PAM file format might differ on some systems. For example, on Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems, use these file contents instead:

    @include common-auth
    @include common-account
    @include common-session-noninteractive
    
  3. Create a MySQL account with the same user name as the Unix login name and define it to authenticate using the PAM plugin:

    CREATE USER 'antonio'@'localhost'
      IDENTIFIED WITH authentication_pam AS 'mysql';
    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON mydb.* TO 'antonio'@'localhost';
    
  4. Connect to the MySQL server using the mysql command-line client. For example:

    mysql --user=antonio --password --enable-cleartext-plugin mydb
    Enter password: verysecret
    

    The server should permit the connection and the following query should return output as shown:

    mysql> SELECT USER(), CURRENT_USER(), @@proxy_user;
    +-------------------+-------------------+--------------+
    | USER()            | CURRENT_USER()    | @@proxy_user |
    +-------------------+-------------------+--------------+
    | antonio@localhost | antonio@localhost | NULL         |
    +-------------------+-------------------+--------------+
    

    This demonstrates that antonio uses the privileges granted to the antonio MySQL account, and that no proxying has occurred.

Note

The client-side mysql_clear_password plugin with which the server-side PAM plugin communicates sends the password to the MySQL server in clear text so it can be passed to PAM. This is necessary to use the server-side PAM library, but may be a security problem in some configurations. These measures minimize the risk:

  • To make inadvertent use of the mysql_clear_password plugin less likely, MySQL clients must explicitly enable it; for example, with the --enable-cleartext-plugin option.

  • To avoid password exposure with the mysql_clear_password plugin enabled, MySQL clients should connect to the MySQL server using a secure connection.

For additinal information, see Section 6.5.1.3, “Client-Side Cleartext Pluggable Authentication”, and Section 6.4.4, “Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections”.

Note

On some systems, Unix authentication uses /etc/shadow, a file that typically has restricted access permissions. This can cause MySQL PAM-based authentication to fail. Unfortunately, the PAM implementation does not permit distinguishing password could not be checked (due, for example, to inability to read /etc/shadow) from password does not match. If your system uses /etc/shadow, you may be able enable access to it by MySQL using this method (assuming that the MySQL server is run from the mysql system account):

  1. Create a shadow group in /etc/group.

  2. Add the mysql user to the shadow group in /etc/group.

  3. Assign /etc/group to the shadow group and enable the group read permission:

    chgrp shadow /etc/shadow
    chmod g+r /etc/shadow
    
  4. Restart the MySQL server.

LDAP Authentication without Proxy Users

This authentication scenario uses PAM only to check LDAP user login names and passwords. Every external user permitted to connect to MySQL Server should have a matching MySQL account that is defined to use external PAM authentication.

  1. Verify that LDAP authentication in PAM permits you to log in as antonio with password verysecret.

  2. Set up PAM to authenticate the mysql service through LDAP by creating a file named /etc/pam.d/mysql. The file contents are system dependent, so check existing login-related files in the /etc/pam.d directory to see what they look like. On Linux, the mysql file might look like this:

    #%PAM-1.0
    auth        required    pam_ldap.so
    account     required    pam_ldap.so
    

    If PAM object files have a suffix different from .so on your system, substitute the correct suffix.

    The PAM file format might differ on some systems.

  3. MySQL account creation and connecting to the server is the same as described in Unix Password Authentication without Proxy Users.

Unix Password Authentication with Proxy Users and Group Mapping

The authentication scheme described here uses proxying and group mapping to map connecting MySQL users who authenticate using PAM onto other MySQL accounts that define different sets of privileges. Users do not connect directly through the accounts that define the privileges. Instead, they connect through a default proxy user authenticated using PAM, such that all the external logins are mapped to the MySQL accounts that hold the privileges. Any user who connects is mapped to one of those MySQL accounts, the privileges for which determine the database operations permitted to the external user.

The procedure shown here uses Unix password authentication. To use LDAP instead, see the early steps of LDAP Authentication without Proxy Users.

Note

For information regarding possible problems related to /etc/shadow, see Unix Password Authentication without Proxy Users.

  1. Verify that Unix authentication in PAM permits you to log in as antonio with password verysecret and that antonio is a member of the root or users group.

  2. Set up PAM to authenticate the mysql service. Put the following in /etc/pam.d/mysql:

    #%PAM-1.0
    auth            include         password-auth
    account         include         password-auth
    

    For Gentoo Linux, use system-login rather than password-auth. For macOS, use login rather than password-auth.

    The PAM file format might differ on some systems. For example, on Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems, use these file contents instead:

    @include common-auth
    @include common-account
    @include common-session-noninteractive
    
  3. Create a default proxy user (''@'') that maps the external PAM users to the proxied accounts. It maps external users from the root PAM group to the developer MySQL account and the external users from the users PAM group to the data_entry MySQL account:

    CREATE USER ''@''
      IDENTIFIED WITH authentication_pam
      AS 'mysql, root=developer, users=data_entry';
    

    The mapping list following the service name is required when you set up proxy users. Otherwise, the plugin cannot tell how to map the name of PAM groups to the proper proxied user name.

    Note

    If your MySQL installation has anonymous users, they might conflict with the default proxy user. For more information about this problem, and ways of dealing with it, see Default Proxy User and Anonymous User Conflicts.

  4. Create the proxied accounts that will be used to access the databases:

    CREATE USER 'developer'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'very secret password';
    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON mydevdb.* TO 'developer'@'localhost';
    CREATE USER 'data_entry'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'very secret password';
    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON mydb.* TO 'data_entry'@'localhost';
    

    If you do not let anyone know the passwords for these accounts, other users cannot use them to connect directly to the MySQL server. Instead, it is expected that users will authenticate using PAM and that they will use the developer or data_entry account by proxy based on their PAM group.

  5. Grant the PROXY privilege to the proxy account for the proxied accounts:

    GRANT PROXY ON 'developer'@'localhost' TO ''@'';
    GRANT PROXY ON 'data_entry'@'localhost' TO ''@'';
    
  6. Connect to the MySQL server using the mysql command-line client. For example:

    mysql --user=antonio --password --enable-cleartext-plugin mydb
    Enter password: verysecret
    

    The server authenticates the connection using the ''@'' account. The privileges antonio will have depends on what PAM groups he is a member of. If antonio is a member of the root PAM group, the PAM plugin maps root to the developer MySQL user name and returns that name to the server. The server verifies that ''@'' has the PROXY privilege for developer and permits the connection. the following query should return output as shown:

    mysql> SELECT USER(), CURRENT_USER(), @@proxy_user;
    +-------------------+---------------------+--------------+
    | USER()            | CURRENT_USER()      | @@proxy_user |
    +-------------------+---------------------+--------------+
    | antonio@localhost | developer@localhost | ''@''        |
    +-------------------+---------------------+--------------+
    

    This demonstrates that antonio uses the privileges granted to the developer MySQL account, and that proxying occurred through the default proxy user account.

    If antonio is not a member of the root PAM group but is a member of the users group, a similar process occurs, but the plugin maps user group membership to the data_entry MySQL user name and returns that name to the server. In this case, antonio uses the privileges of the data_entry MySQL account:

    mysql> SELECT USER(), CURRENT_USER(), @@proxy_user;
    +-------------------+----------------------+--------------+
    | USER()            | CURRENT_USER()       | @@proxy_user |
    +-------------------+----------------------+--------------+
    | antonio@localhost | data_entry@localhost | ''@''        |
    +-------------------+----------------------+--------------+
    
Note

The client-side mysql_clear_password plugin with which the server-side PAM plugin communicates sends the password to the MySQL server in clear text so it can be passed to PAM. This is necessary to use the server-side PAM library, but may be a security problem in some configurations. These measures minimize the risk:

  • To make inadvertent use of the mysql_clear_password plugin less likely, MySQL clients must explicitly enable it; for example, with the --enable-cleartext-plugin option.

  • To avoid password exposure with the mysql_clear_password plugin enabled, MySQL clients should connect to the MySQL server using a secure connection.

For additinal information, see Section 6.5.1.3, “Client-Side Cleartext Pluggable Authentication”, and Section 6.4.4, “Configuring MySQL to Use Secure Connections”.

PAM Pluggable Authentication Debugging

The PAM authentication plugin checks at initialization time whether the AUTHENTICATION_PAM_LOG environment value is set (the value does not matter). If so, the plugin enables logging of diagnostic messages to the standard output. These messages may be helpful for debugging PAM-related problems that occur when the plugin performs authentication.

Some messages include reference to PAM plugin source files and line numbers, which enables plugin actions to be tied more closely to the location in the code where they occur.

6.5.1.5 Windows Pluggable Authentication

Note

Windows pluggable authentication is an extension included in MySQL Enterprise Edition, a commercial product. To learn more about commercial products, see http://www.mysql.com/products/.

As of MySQL 5.5.16, MySQL Enterprise Edition for Windows supports an authentication method that performs external authentication on Windows, enabling MySQL Server to use native Windows services to authenticate client connections. Users who have logged in to Windows can connect from MySQL client programs to the server based on the information in their environment without specifying an additional password.

The client and server exchange data packets in the authentication handshake. As a result of this exchange, the server creates a security context object that represents the identity of the client in the Windows OS. This identity includes the name of the client account. Windows pluggable authentication uses the identity of the client to check whether it is a given account or a member of a group. By default, negotiation uses Kerberos to authenticate, then NTLM if Kerberos is unavailable.

Windows pluggable authentication provides these capabilities:

  • External authentication: Windows authentication enables MySQL Server to accept connections from users defined outside the MySQL grant tables who have logged in to Windows.

  • Proxy user support: Windows authentication can return to MySQL a user name different from the client user. This means that the plugin can return the MySQL user that defines the privileges the external Windows-authenticated user should have. For example, a user named joe can connect and have the privileges of the user named developer.

The following table shows the plugin and library file names. The file must be located in the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable.

Table 6.13 Plugin and Library Names for Windows Authentication

Server-side plugin nameauthentication_windows
Client-side plugin nameauthentication_windows_client
Library file nameauthentication_windows.dll

The library file includes only the server-side plugin. As of MySQL 5.5.13, the client-side plugin is built into the libmysqlclient client library.

The server-side Windows authentication plugin is included only in MySQL Enterprise Edition. It is not included in MySQL community distributions. The client-side plugin is included in all distributions, including community distributions. This permits clients from any 5.5.13 or higher distribution to connect to a server that has the server-side plugin loaded.

The Windows authentication plugin is supported on any version of Windows supported by MySQL 5.5 (see http://www.mysql.com/support/supportedplatforms/database.html). It requires MySQL Server 5.5.16 or higher.

The following sections provide installation and usage information specific to Windows pluggable authentication:

For general information about pluggable authentication in MySQL, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”. For proxy user information, see Section 6.3.7, “Proxy Users”.

Installing Windows Pluggable Authentication

This section describes how to install the Windows authentication plugin. For general information about installing plugins, see Section 5.5.1, “Installing and Uninstalling Plugins”.

To be usable by the server, the plugin library file must be located in the MySQL plugin directory (the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable). If necessary, set the value of plugin_dir at server startup to tell the server the plugin directory location.

To load the plugin at server startup, use the --plugin-load option to name the library file that contains it. With this plugin-loading method, the option must be given each time the server starts. For example, put these lines in your my.cnf file:

[mysqld]
plugin-load=authentication_windows.dll

After modifying my.cnf, restart the server to cause the new settings to take effect.

Alternatively, to register the plugin at runtime, use this statement:

INSTALL PLUGIN authentication_windows SONAME 'authentication_windows.dll';

INSTALL PLUGIN loads a plugin, and also registers it in the mysql.plugins system table to cause the plugin to be loaded for each subsequent normal server startup.

To verify plugin installation, examine the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS table or use the SHOW PLUGINS statement (see Section 5.5.2, “Obtaining Server Plugin Information”). For example:

mysql> SELECT PLUGIN_NAME, PLUGIN_STATUS
       FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS
       WHERE PLUGIN_NAME LIKE '%windows%';
+------------------------+---------------+
| PLUGIN_NAME            | PLUGIN_STATUS |
+------------------------+---------------+
| authentication_windows | ACTIVE        |
+------------------------+---------------+

If the plugin fails to initialize, check the server error log for diagnostic messages.

To associate MySQL accounts with the Windows authentication plugin, see Using Windows Pluggable Authentication.

Uninstalling Windows Pluggable Authentication

The method used to uninstall the Windows authentication plugin depends on how you installed it:

  • If you installed the plugin at server startup using a --plugin-load option, restart the server without the option.

  • If you installed the plugin at runtime using INSTALL PLUGIN, it remains installed across server restarts. To uninstall it, use UNINSTALL PLUGIN:

    UNINSTALL PLUGIN authentication_windows;
    

In addition, remove any startup options that set Windows plugin-related system variables.

Using Windows Pluggable Authentication

The Windows authentication plugin supports the use of MySQL accounts such that users who have logged in to Windows can connect to the MySQL server without having to specify an additional password. It is assumed that the server is running with the server-side plugin enabled, as described in Installing Windows Pluggable Authentication, and that client programs are recent enough to include the client-side plugin built into libmysqlclient (MySQL 5.5.13 or higher). Once the DBA has enabled the server-side plugin and set up accounts to use it, clients can connect using those accounts with no other setup required on their part.

To refer to the Windows authentication plugin in the IDENTIFIED WITH clause of a CREATE USER or GRANT statement, use the name authentication_windows. Suppose that the Windows users Rafal and Tasha should be permitted to connect to MySQL, as well as any users in the Administrators or Power Users group. To set this up, create a MySQL account named sql_admin that uses the Windows plugin for authentication:

CREATE USER sql_admin
  IDENTIFIED WITH authentication_windows
  AS 'Rafal, Tasha, Administrators, "Power Users"';

The plugin name is authentication_windows. The string following the AS keyword is the authentication string. It specifies that the Windows users named Rafal or Tasha are permitted to authenticate to the server as the MySQL user sql_admin, as are any Windows users in the Administrators or Power Users group. The latter group name contains a space, so it must be quoted with double quote characters.

After you create the sql_admin account, a user who has logged in to Windows can attempt to connect to the server using that account:

C:\> mysql --user=sql_admin

No password is required here. The authentication_windows plugin uses the Windows security API to check which Windows user is connecting. If that user is named Rafal or Tasha, or is in the Administrators or Power Users group, the server grants access and the client is authenticated as sql_admin and has whatever privileges are granted to the sql_admin account. Otherwise, the server denies access.

Authentication string syntax for the Windows authentication plugin follows these rules:

  • The string consists of one or more user mappings separated by commas.

  • Each user mapping associates a Windows user or group name with a MySQL user name:

    win_user_or_group_name=mysql_user_name
    win_user_or_group_name
    

    For the latter syntax, with no mysql_user_name value given, the implicit value is the MySQL user created by the CREATE USER statement. Thus, these statements are equivalent:

    CREATE USER sql_admin
      IDENTIFIED WITH authentication_windows
      AS 'Rafal, Tasha, Administrators, "Power Users"';
    
    CREATE USER sql_admin
      IDENTIFIED WITH authentication_windows
      AS 'Rafal=sql_admin, Tasha=sql_admin, Administrators=sql_admin,
          "Power Users"=sql_admin';
    
  • Each backslash ('\') in a value must be doubled because backslash is the escape character in MySQL strings.

  • Leading and trailing spaces not inside double quotation marks are ignored.

  • Unquoted win_user_or_group_name and mysql_user_name values can contain anything except equal sign, comma, or space.

  • If a win_user_or_group_name and or mysql_user_name value is quoted with double quotation marks, everything between the quotation marks is part of the value. This is necessary, for example, if the name contains space characters. All characters within double quotes are legal except double quotation mark and backslash. To include either character, escape it with a backslash.

  • win_user_or_group_name values use conventional syntax for Windows principals, either local or in a domain. Examples (note the doubling of backslashes):

    domain\\user
    .\\user
    domain\\group
    .\\group
    BUILTIN\\WellKnownGroup
    

When invoked by the server to authenticate a client, the plugin scans the authentication string left to right for a user or group match to the Windows user. If there is a match, the plugin returns the corresponding mysql_user_name to the MySQL server. If there is no match, authentication fails.

A user name match takes preference over a group name match. Suppose that the Windows user named win_user is a member of win_group and the authentication string looks like this:

'win_group = sql_user1, win_user = sql_user2'

When win_user connects to the MySQL server, there is a match both to win_group and to win_user. The plugin authenticates the user as sql_user2 because the more-specific user match takes precedence over the group match, even though the group is listed first in the authentication string.

Windows authentication always works for connections from the same computer on which the server is running. For cross-computer connections, both computers must be registered with Windows Active Directory. If they are in the same Windows domain, it is unnecessary to specify a domain name. It is also possible to permit connections from a different domain, as in this example:

CREATE USER sql_accounting
  IDENTIFIED WITH authentication_windows
  AS 'SomeDomain\\Accounting';

Here SomeDomain is the name of the other domain. The backslash character is doubled because it is the MySQL escape character within strings.

MySQL supports the concept of proxy users whereby a client can connect and authenticate to the MySQL server using one account but while connected has the privileges of another account (see Section 6.3.7, “Proxy Users”). Suppose that you want Windows users to connect using a single user name but be mapped based on their Windows user and group names onto specific MySQL accounts as follows:

  • The local_user and MyDomain\domain_user local and domain Windows users should map to the local_wlad MySQL account.

  • Users in the MyDomain\Developers domain group should map to the local_dev MySQL account.

  • Local machine administrators should map to the local_admin MySQL account.

To set this up, create a proxy account for Windows users to connect to, and configure this account so that users and groups map to the appropriate MySQL accounts (local_wlad, local_dev, local_admin). In addition, grant the MySQL accounts the privileges appropriate to the operations they need to perform. The following instructions use win_proxy as the proxy account, and local_wlad, local_dev, and local_admin as the proxied accounts.

  1. Create the proxy MySQL account:

    CREATE USER win_proxy
      IDENTIFIED WITH  authentication_windows
      AS 'local_user = local_wlad,
          MyDomain\\domain_user = local_wlad,
          MyDomain\\Developers = local_dev,
          BUILTIN\\Administrators = local_admin';
    
    Note

    If your MySQL installation has anonymous users, they might conflict with the default proxy user. For more information about this problem, and ways of dealing with it, see Default Proxy User and Anonymous User Conflicts.

  2. For proxying to work, the proxied accounts must exist, so create them:

    CREATE USER local_wlad IDENTIFIED BY 'wlad_pass';
    CREATE USER local_dev IDENTIFIED BY 'dev_pass';
    CREATE USER local_admin IDENTIFIED BY  'admin_pass';
    

    If you do not let anyone know the passwords for these accounts, other users cannot use them to connect directly to the MySQL server.

    You should also issue GRANT statements (not shown) that grant each proxied account the privileges it needs.

  3. The proxy account must have the PROXY privilege for each of the proxied accounts:

    GRANT PROXY ON local_wlad TO win_proxy;
    GRANT PROXY ON local_dev TO win_proxy;
    GRANT PROXY ON local_admin TO win_proxy;
    

Now the Windows users local_user and MyDomain\domain_user can connect to the MySQL server as win_proxy and when authenticated have the privileges of the account given in the authentication string—in this case, local_wlad. A user in the MyDomain\Developers group who connects as win_proxy has the privileges of the local_dev account. A user in the BUILTIN\Administrators group has the privileges of the local_admin account.

To configure authentication so that all Windows users who do not have their own MySQL account go through a proxy account, substitute the default proxy user (''@'') for win_proxy in the preceding instructions. For information about the default proxy user, see Section 6.3.7, “Proxy Users”.

To use the Windows authentication plugin with Connector/Net connection strings in Connection/Net 6.4.4 and higher, see Using the Windows Native Authentication Plugin.

Additional control over the Windows authentication plugin is provided by the authentication_windows_use_principal_name and authentication_windows_log_level system variables. See Section 5.1.5, “Server System Variables”.

6.5.1.6 Socket Peer-Credential Pluggable Authentication

As of MySQL 5.5.10, a server-side auth_socket authentication plugin is available that authenticates clients that connect from the local host through the Unix socket file. The plugin uses the SO_PEERCRED socket option to obtain information about the user running the client program. Thus, the plugin can be used only on systems that support the SO_PEERCRED option, such as Linux.

The source code for this plugin can be examined as a relatively simple example demonstrating how to write a loadable authentication plugin.

The following table shows the plugin and library file names. The file must be located in the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable.

Table 6.14 Plugin and Library Names for Socket Peer-Credential Authentication

Server-side plugin nameauth_socket
Client-side plugin nameNone, see discussion
Library file nameauth_socket.so

The following sections provide installation and usage information specific to socket pluggable authentication:

For general information about pluggable authentication in MySQL, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”.

Installing Socket Pluggable Authentication

This section describes how to install the socket authentication plugin. For general information about installing plugins, see Section 5.5.1, “Installing and Uninstalling Plugins”.

To be usable by the server, the plugin library file must be located in the MySQL plugin directory (the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable). If necessary, set the value of plugin_dir at server startup to tell the server the plugin directory location.

To load the plugin at server startup, use the --plugin-load option to name the library file that contains it. With this plugin-loading method, the option must be given each time the server starts. For example, put these lines in your my.cnf file:

[mysqld]
plugin-load=auth_socket.so

After modifying my.cnf, restart the server to cause the new settings to take effect.

Alternatively, to register the plugin at runtime, use this statement:

INSTALL PLUGIN auth_socket SONAME 'auth_socket.so';

INSTALL PLUGIN loads a plugin, and also registers it in the mysql.plugins system table to cause the plugin to be loaded for each subsequent normal server startup.

To verify plugin installation, examine the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS table or use the SHOW PLUGINS statement (see Section 5.5.2, “Obtaining Server Plugin Information”). For example:

mysql> SELECT PLUGIN_NAME, PLUGIN_STATUS
       FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS
       WHERE PLUGIN_NAME LIKE '%socket%';
+-------------+---------------+
| PLUGIN_NAME | PLUGIN_STATUS |
+-------------+---------------+
| auth_socket | ACTIVE        |
+-------------+---------------+

If the plugin fails to initialize, check the server error log for diagnostic messages.

To associate MySQL accounts with the socket plugin, see Using Socket Pluggable Authentication.

Uninstalling Socket Pluggable Authentication

The method used to uninstall the socket authentication plugin depends on how you installed it:

  • If you installed the plugin at server startup using a --plugin-load option, restart the server without the option.

  • If you installed the plugin at runtime using INSTALL PLUGIN, it remains installed across server restarts. To uninstall it, use UNINSTALL PLUGIN:

    UNINSTALL PLUGIN auth_socket;
    
Using Socket Pluggable Authentication

The socket plugin checks whether the socket user name matches the MySQL user name specified by the client program to the server, and permits the connection only if the names match.

Suppose that a MySQL account is created for a user named valerie who is to be authenticated by the auth_socket plugin for connections from the local host through the socket file:

CREATE USER 'valerie'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH auth_socket;

If a user on the local host with a login name of stefanie invokes mysql with the option --user=valerie to connect through the socket file, the server uses auth_socket to authenticate the client. The plugin determines that the --user option value (valerie) differs from the client user's name (stephanie) and refuses the connection. If a user named valerie tries the same thing, the plugin finds that the user name and the MySQL user name are both valerie and permits the connection. However, the plugin refuses the connection even for valerie if the connection is made using a different protocol, such as TCP/IP.

6.5.1.7 Test Pluggable Authentication

MySQL includes a test plugin that checks account credentials and logs success or failure to the server error log. This is a loadable plugin (not built in) and must be installed prior to use.

The test plugin source code is separate from the server source, unlike the built-in native plugin, so it can be examined as a relatively simple example demonstrating how to write a loadable authentication plugin.

Note

This plugin is intended for testing and development purposes, and is not for use in production environments or on servers that are exposed to public networks.

The following table shows the plugin and library file names. The file name suffix might differ on your system. The file must be located in the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable.

Table 6.15 Plugin and Library Names for Test Authentication

Server-side plugin nametest_plugin_server
Client-side plugin nameauth_test_plugin
Library file nameauth_test_plugin.so

The following sections provide installation and usage information specific to test pluggable authentication:

For general information about pluggable authentication in MySQL, see Section 6.3.6, “Pluggable Authentication”.

Installing Test Pluggable Authentication

This section describes how to install the test authentication plugin. For general information about installing plugins, see Section 5.5.1, “Installing and Uninstalling Plugins”.

To be usable by the server, the plugin library file must be located in the MySQL plugin directory (the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable). If necessary, set the value of plugin_dir at server startup to tell the server the plugin directory location.

To load the plugin at server startup, use the --plugin-load option to name the library file that contains it. With this plugin-loading method, the option must be given each time the server starts. For example, put these lines in your my.cnf file (adjust the .so suffix for your platform as necessary):

[mysqld]
plugin-load=auth_test_plugin.so

After modifying my.cnf, restart the server to cause the new settings to take effect.

Alternatively, to register the plugin at runtime, use this statement (adjust the .so suffix as necessary):

INSTALL PLUGIN test_plugin_server SONAME 'auth_test_plugin.so';

INSTALL PLUGIN loads a plugin, and also registers it in the mysql.plugins system table to cause the plugin to be loaded for each subsequent normal server startup.

To verify plugin installation, examine the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS table or use the SHOW PLUGINS statement (see Section 5.5.2, “Obtaining Server Plugin Information”). For example:

mysql> SELECT PLUGIN_NAME, PLUGIN_STATUS
       FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS
       WHERE PLUGIN_NAME LIKE '%test_plugin%';
+--------------------+---------------+
| PLUGIN_NAME        | PLUGIN_STATUS |
+--------------------+---------------+
| test_plugin_server | ACTIVE        |
+--------------------+---------------+

If the plugin fails to initialize, check the server error log for diagnostic messages.

To associate MySQL accounts with the test plugin, see Using Test Pluggable Authentication.

Uninstalling Test Pluggable Authentication

The method used to uninstall the test authentication plugin depends on how you installed it:

  • If you installed the plugin at server startup using a --plugin-load option, restart the server without the option.

  • If you installed the plugin at runtime using INSTALL PLUGIN, it remains installed across server restarts. To uninstall it, use UNINSTALL PLUGIN:

    UNINSTALL PLUGIN test_plugin_server;
    
Using Test Pluggable Authentication

To use the test authentication plugin, create an account and name that plugin in the IDENTIFIED WITH clause:

CREATE USER 'testuser'@'localhost'
IDENTIFIED WITH test_plugin_server
BY 'testpassword';

Then provide the --user and --password options for that account when you connect to the server. For example:

shell> mysql --user=testuser --password
Enter password: testpassword

The plugin fetches the password as received from the client and compares it with the value stored in the authentication_string column of the account row in the mysql.user table. If the two values match, the plugin returns the authentication_string value as the new effective user ID.

You can look in the server error log for a message indicating whether authentication succeeded (notice that the password is reported as the user):

[Note] Plugin test_plugin_server reported:
'successfully authenticated user testpassword'

6.5.2 MySQL Enterprise Audit

Note

MySQL Enterprise Audit is an extension included in MySQL Enterprise Edition, a commercial product. To learn more about commercial products, see http://www.mysql.com/products/.

As of MySQL 5.5.28, MySQL Enterprise Edition includes MySQL Enterprise Audit, implemented using a server plugin named audit_log. MySQL Enterprise Audit uses the open MySQL Audit API to enable standard, policy-based monitoring and logging of connection and query activity executed on specific MySQL servers. Designed to meet the Oracle audit specification, MySQL Enterprise Audit provides an out of box, easy to use auditing and compliance solution for applications that are governed by both internal and external regulatory guidelines.

When installed, the audit plugin enables MySQL Server to produce a log file containing an audit record of server activity. The log contents include when clients connect and disconnect, and what actions they perform while connected, such as which databases and tables they access.

After you install the plugin (see Section 6.5.2.1, “Installing MySQL Enterprise Audit”), it writes an audit log file. By default, the file is named audit.log in the server data directory. To change the name of the file, set the audit_log_file system variable at server startup.

Audit log file contents are not encrypted. See Section 6.5.2.2, “MySQL Enterprise Audit Security Considerations”.

The audit log file is written in XML, with auditable events encoded as <AUDIT_RECORD> elements. To select the file format, set the audit_log_format system variable at server startup. For details on file format and contents, see Section 6.5.2.3, “The Audit Log File”.

To control what information audit_log writes to its log file, set the audit_log_policy system variable. By default, this variable is set to ALL (write all auditable events), but also permits values of LOGINS or QUERIES to log only login or query events, or NONE to disable logging.

For more information about controlling how logging occurs, see Section 6.5.2.4, “Audit Log Logging Control”. For descriptions of the parameters used to configure the audit log plugin, see Section 6.5.2.7, “Audit Log Options and System Variables”.

If the audit_log plugin is enabled, the Performance Schema (see Chapter 22, MySQL Performance Schema) has instrumentation for the audit log plugin. To identify the relevant instruments, use this query:

SELECT NAME FROM performance_schema.setup_instruments
WHERE NAME LIKE '%/alog/%';

Changes from Older MySQL Enterprise Audit Versions

Several changes were made to the audit log plugin in MySQL 5.5.34 for better compatibility with Oracle Audit Vault.

MySQL 5.7 changed audit log file output to a new format. This format has been backported to MySQL 5.5 and it is possible to select either the old or new format using the audit_log_format system variable, which has permitted values of OLD and NEW (default OLD). The two formats differ as follows:

  • Information within <AUDIT_RECORD> elements written in the old format using attributes is written in the new format using subelements.

  • The new format includes more information in <AUDIT_RECORD> elements. Every element includes a RECORD_ID value providing a unique identifier. The TIMESTAMP value includes time zone information. Query records include HOST, IP, OS_LOGIN, and USER information, as well as COMMAND_CLASS and STATUS_CODE values.

Example of old <AUDIT_RECORD> format:

<AUDIT_RECORD
 TIMESTAMP="2013-09-15T15:27:27"
 NAME="Query"
 CONNECTION_ID="3"
 STATUS="0"
 SQLTEXT="SELECT 1"
/>

Example of new <AUDIT_RECORD> format:

<AUDIT_RECORD>
 <TIMESTAMP>2013-09-15T15:27:27 UTC</TIMESTAMP>
 <RECORD_ID>3998_2013-09-15T15:27:27</RECORD_ID>
 <NAME>Query</NAME>
 <CONNECTION_ID>3</CONNECTION_ID>
 <STATUS>0</STATUS>
 <STATUS_CODE>0</STATUS_CODE>
 <USER>root[root] @ localhost [127.0.0.1]</USER>
 <OS_LOGIN></OS_LOGIN>
 <HOST>localhost</HOST>
 <IP>127.0.0.1</IP>
 <COMMAND_CLASS>select</COMMAND_CLASS>
 <SQLTEXT>SELECT 1</SQLTEXT>
</AUDIT_RECORD>

When the audit log plugin rotates the audit log file, it uses a different file name format. For a log file named audit.log, the plugin previously renamed the file to audit.log.TIMESTAMP. The plugin now renames the file to audit.log.TIMESTAMP.xml to indicate that it is an XML file.

If you change the value of audit_log_format, use this procedure to avoid writing log entries in one format to an existing log file that contains entries in a different format:

  1. Stop the server.

  2. Rename the current audit log file manually.

  3. Restart the server with the new value of audit_log_format. The audit log plugin will create a new log file, which will contain log entries in the selected format.

The API for writing audit plugins has also changed. The mysql_event_general structure has new members to represent client host name and IP address, command class, and external user. For more information, see Section 24.2.4.8, “Writing Audit Plugins”.

6.5.2.1 Installing MySQL Enterprise Audit

This section describes how to install MySQL Enterprise Audit, which is implemented using the audit_log plugin. For general information about installing plugins, see Section 5.5.1, “Installing and Uninstalling Plugins”.

Note

If installed, the audit_log plugin involves some minimal overhead even when disabled. To avoid this overhead, do not install MySQL Enterprise Audit unless you plan to use it.

To be usable by the server, the plugin library file must be located in the MySQL plugin directory (the directory named by the plugin_dir system variable). If necessary, set the value of plugin_dir at server startup to tell the server the plugin directory location.

The plugin library file base name is audit_log. The file name suffix differs per platform (for example, .so for Unix and Unix-like systems, .dll for Windows).

To load the plugin at server startup, use the --plugin-load option to name the library file that contains it. With this plugin-loading method, the option must be given each time the server starts. For example, put the following lines in your my.cnf file (adjust the .so suffix for your platform as necessary):

[mysqld]
plugin-load=audit_log.so

After modifying my.cnf, restart the server to cause the new settings to take effect.

Alternatively, to register the plugin at runtime, use this statement (adjust the suffix as necessary):

INSTALL PLUGIN audit_log SONAME 'audit_log.so';

INSTALL PLUGIN loads the plugin, and also registers it in the mysql.plugins system table to cause the plugin to be loaded for each subsequent normal server startup.

To verify plugin installation, examine the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS table or use the SHOW PLUGINS statement (see Section 5.5.2, “Obtaining Server Plugin Information”). For example:

mysql> SELECT PLUGIN_NAME, PLUGIN_STATUS
       FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PLUGINS
       WHERE PLUGIN_NAME LIKE 'audit%';
+-------------+---------------+
| PLUGIN_NAME | PLUGIN_STATUS |
+-------------+---------------+
| audit_log   | ACTIVE        |
+-------------+---------------+

If the plugin fails to initialize, check the server error log for diagnostic messages.

If the plugin has been previously registered with INSTALL PLUGIN or is loaded with --plugin-load, you can use the --audit-log option at server startup to control plugin activation. For example, to load the plugin at startup and prevent it from being removed at runtime, use these options:

[mysqld]
plugin-load=audit_log.so
audit-log=FORCE_PLUS_PERMANENT

If it is desired to prevent the server from running without the audit plugin, use --audit-log with a value of FORCE or FORCE_PLUS_PERMANENT to force server startup to fail if the plugin does not initialize successfully.

For additional information about the parameters used to configure operation of the audit_log plugin, see Section 6.5.2.7, “Audit Log Options and System Variables”.

Audit log file contents are not encrypted. See Section 6.5.2.2, “MySQL Enterprise Audit Security Considerations”.

6.5.2.2 MySQL Enterprise Audit Security Considerations

Contents of the audit log file produced by the audit_log plugin are not encrypted and may contain sensitive information, such as the text of SQL statements. For security reasons, this file should be written to a directory accessible only to the MySQL server and users with a legitimate reason to view the log. The default file is audit.log in the data directory. This can be changed by setting the audit_log_file system variable at server startup.

6.5.2.3 The Audit Log File

Audit log file contents are not encrypted. See Section 6.5.2.2, “MySQL Enterprise Audit Security Considerations”.

The audit log file is written as XML, using UTF-8 (up to 4 bytes per character). The root element is <AUDIT>. The closing </AUDIT> tag of the root element is written when the audit log plugin terminates, so the tag is not present in the file while the plugin is active.

The root element contains <AUDIT_RECORD> elements. Each <AUDIT_RECORD> element has an empty body; all audit record fields are represented by element attributes.

MySQL 5.7 changed audit log file output to a new format that has better compatibility with Oracle Audit Vault. This new format was backported to MySQL 5.5 as of MySQL 5.5.34 and it is possible to select either the old or new format using the audit_log_format system variable, which has permitted values of OLD and NEW (default OLD).

If you change the value of audit_log_format, use this procedure to avoid writing log entries in one format to an existing log file that contains entries in a different format:

  1. Stop the server.

  2. Rename the current audit log file manually.

  3. Restart the server with the new value of audit_log_format. The audit log plugin will create a new log file, which will contain log entries in the selected format.

Here is a sample log file in the default (old) format, reformatted slightly for readability:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<AUDIT>
  <AUDIT_RECORD
    TIMESTAMP="2012-08-02T14:52:12"
    NAME="Audit"
    SERVER_ID="1"
    VERSION="1"
    STARTUP_OPTIONS="--port=3306"
    OS_VERSION="i686-Linux"
    MYSQL_VERSION="5.5.28-debug-log"/>
  <AUDIT_RECORD
    TIMESTAMP="2012-08-02T14:52:41"
    NAME="Connect"
    CONNECTION_ID="1"
    STATUS="0"
    USER="root"
    PRIV_USER="root"
    OS_LOGIN=""
    PROXY_USER=""
    HOST="localhost"
    IP="127.0.0.1"
    DB=""/>
  <AUDIT_RECORD
    TIMESTAMP="2012-08-02T14:53:45"
    NAME="Query"
    CONNECTION_ID="1"
    STATUS="0"
    SQLTEXT="INSERT INTO t1 () VALUES()"/>
  <AUDIT_RECORD
    TIMESTAMP="2012-08-02T14:53:51"
    NAME="Quit"
    CONNECTION_ID="1"
    STATUS="0"/>
  <AUDIT_RECORD
    TIMESTAMP="2012-08-06T14:21:03"
    NAME="NoAudit"
    SERVER_ID="1"/>
</AUDIT>

Attributes of <AUDIT_RECORD> elements have these characteristics:

  • Some attributes appear in every element, but most are optional and do not necessarily appear in every element.

  • Order of attributes within an element is not guaranteed.

  • Attribute values are not fixed length. Long values may be truncated as indicated in the attribute descriptions given later.

  • The <, >, ", and & characters are encoded as &lt;, &gt;, &quot;, and &amp;, respectively. NUL bytes (U+00) are encoded as the ? character.

  • Characters not valid as XML characters are encoded using numeric character references. Valid XML characters are:

    #x9 | #xA | #xD | [#x20-#xD7FF] | [#xE000-#xFFFD] | [#x10000-#x10FFFF]
    
New Audit Log File Format

Every <AUDIT_RECORD> element contains a set of mandatory elements. Other optional elements may appear, depending on the audit record type.

The following elements are mandatory in every <AUDIT_RECORD> element:

  • <NAME>

    A string representing the type of instruction that generated the audit event, such as a command that the server received from a client.

    Example:

    <NAME>Query</NAME>
    

    Some common <NAME> values:

    Audit    When auditing starts, which may be server startup time
    Connect  When a client connects, also known as logging in
    Query    An SQL statement (executed directly)
    Prepare  Preparation of an SQL statement; usually followed by Execute
    Execute  Execution of an SQL statement; usually follows Prepare
    Shutdown Server shutdown
    Quit     When a client disconnects
    NoAudit  Auditing has been turned off
    

    The possible values are Audit, Binlog Dump, Change user, Close stmt, Connect Out, Connect, Create DB, Daemon, Debug, Delayed insert, Drop DB, Execute, Fetch, Field List, Init DB, Kill, Long Data, NoAudit, Ping, Prepare, Processlist, Query, Quit, Refresh, Register Slave, Reset stmt, Set option, Shutdown, Sleep, Statistics, Table Dump, Time.

    With the exception of Audit and NoAudit, these values correspond to the COM_xxx command values listed in the mysql_com.h header file. For example, Create DB and Shutdown correspond to COM_CREATE_DB and COM_SHUTDOWN, respectively.

  • <RECORD_ID>

    A unique identifier for the audit record. The value is composed from a sequence number and timestamp, in the format SEQ_TIMESTAMP. The sequence number is initialized to the size of the audit log file at the time the audit log plugin opens it and increments by 1 for each record logged. The timestamp is a UTC value in yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss format indicating the time when the audit log plugin opened the file.

    Example:

    <RECORD_ID>28743_2013-09-18T21:03:24</RECORD_ID>
    
  • <TIMESTAMP>

    The date and time that the audit event was generated. For example, the event corresponding to execution of an SQL statement received from a client has a <TIMESTAMP> value occurring after the statement finishes, not when it is received. The value has the format yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss UTC (with T, no decimals). The format includes a time zone specifier at the end. The time zone is always UTC.

    Example:

    <TIMESTAMP>2013-09-17T15:03:49 UTC</TIMESTAMP>
    

The following elements are optional in <AUDIT_RECORD> elements. Many of them occur only with specific <NAME> values.

  • <COMMAND_CLASS>

    A string that indicates the type of action performed.

    Example:

    <COMMAND_CLASS>drop_table</COMMAND_CLASS>
    

    The values come from the com_status_vars array in the sql/mysqld.cc file in a MySQL source distribution. They correspond to the status variables displayed by this statement:

    SHOW STATUS LIKE 'Com%';
    
  • <CONNECTION_ID>

    An unsigned integer representing the client connection identifier. This is the same as the CONNECTION_ID() function value within the session.

    Example:

    <CONNECTION_ID>127</CONNECTION_ID>
    
  • <DB>

    A string representing the default database name. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Connect or Change user.

  • <HOST>

    A string representing the client host name. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Connect, Change user, or Query.

    Example:

    <HOST>localhost</HOST>
    
  • <IP>

    A string representing the client IP address. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Connect, Change user, or Query.

    Example:

    <IP>127.0.0.1</IP>
    
  • <MYSQL_VERSION>

    A string representing the MySQL server version. This is the same as the value of the VERSION() function or version system variable. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Audit.

    Example:

    <MYSQL_VERSION>5.7.1-m11-log</MYSQL_VERSION>
    
  • <OS_LOGIN>

    A string representing the external user (empty if none). The value may differ from the <USER> value, for example, if the server authenticates the client using an external authentication method. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Connect, Change user, or Query.

  • <OS_VERSION>

    A string representing the operating system on which the server was built or is running. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Audit.

    Example:

    <OS_VERSION>x86_64-Linux</OS_VERSION>
    
  • <PRIV_USER>

    A string representing the user that the server authenticated the client as. This is the user name that the server uses for privilege checking, and may differ from the <USER> value. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Connect or Change user.

  • <PROXY_USER>

    A string representing the proxy user. The value is empty if user proxying is not in effect. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Connect or Change user.

  • <SERVER_ID>

    An unsigned integer representing the server ID. This is the same as the value of the server_id system variable. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Audit or NoAudit.

    Example:

    <SERVER_ID>1</SERVER_ID>
    
  • <SQLTEXT>

    A string representing the text of an SQL statement. The value can be empty. Long values may be truncated. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Query or Execute.

    The string, like the audit log file itself, is written using UTF-8 (up to 4 bytes per character), so the value may be the result of conversion. For example, the original statement might have been received from the client as an SJIS string.

    Example:

    <SQLTEXT>DELETE FROM t1</SQLTEXT>
    
  • <STARTUP_OPTIONS>

    A string representing the options that were given on the command line or in option files when the MySQL server was started. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Audit.

    Example:

    <STARTUP_OPTIONS>/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysqld
      --port=3306 --log-output=FILE</STARTUP_OPTIONS>
    
  • <STATUS>

    An unsigned integer representing the command status: 0 for success, nonzero if an error occurred. This is the same as the value of the mysql_errno() C API function.

    The audit log does not contain the SQLSTATE value or error message. To see the associations between error codes, SQLSTATE values, and messages, see Section B.3, “Server Error Codes and Messages”.

    Warnings are not logged.

    See the description for <STATUS_CODE> for information about how it differs from <STATUS>.

    Example:

    <STATUS>1051</STATUS>
    
  • <STATUS_CODE>

    An unsigned integer representing the command status: 0 for success, 1 if an error occurred.

    The STATUS_CODE value differs from the STATUS value: STATUS_CODE is 0 for success and 1 for error, which is compatible with the EZ_collector consumer for Audit Vault. STATUS is the value of the mysql_errno() C API function. This is 0 for success and nonzero for error, and thus is not necessarily 1 for error.

    Example:

    <STATUS_CODE>0</STATUS_CODE>
    
  • <USER>

    A string representing the user name sent by the client. This may differ from the <PRIV_USER> value. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Connect, Change user, or Query.

    Example:

    <USER>root[root] @ localhost [127.0.0.1]</USER>
    
  • <VERSION>

    An unsigned integer representing the version of the audit log file format. This element appears only if the <NAME> value is Audit.

    Example:

    <VERSION>1</VERSION>
    
Old Audit Log File Format

Every <AUDIT_RECORD> element contains a set of mandatory attributes. Other optional attributes may appear depending on the audit record type.

The following attributes are mandatory in every <AUDIT_RECORD> element:

  • NAME

    A string representing the type of instruction that generated the audit event, such as a command that the server received from a client.

    Example: NAME="Query"

    Some common NAME values:

    "Audit"    When auditing starts, which may be server startup time
    "Connect"  When a client connects, also known as logging in
    "Query"    An SQL statement (executed directly)
    "Prepare"  Preparation of an SQL statement; usually followed by Execute
    "Execute"  Execution of an SQL statement; usually follows Prepare
    "Shutdown" Server shutdown
    "Quit"     When a client disconnects
    "NoAudit"  Auditing has been turned off
    

    The possible values are "Audit", "Binlog Dump", "Change user", "Close stmt", "Connect Out", "Connect", "Create DB", "Daemon", "Debug", "Delayed insert", "Drop DB", "Execute", "Fetch", "Field List", "Init DB", "Kill", "Long Data", "NoAudit", "Ping", "Prepare", "Processlist", "Query", "Quit", "Refresh", "Register Slave", "Reset stmt", "Set option", "Shutdown", "Sleep", "Statistics", "Table Dump", "Time".

    With the exception of "Audit" and "NoAudit", these values correspond to the COM_xxx command values listed in the mysql_com.h header file. For example, "Create DB" and "Shutdown" correspond to COM_CREATE_DB and COM_SHUTDOWN, respectively.

  • TIMESTAMP

    The date and time that the audit event was generated. For example, the event corresponding to execution of an SQL statement received from a client has a TIMESTAMP value occurring after the statement finishes, not when it is received. The value is UTC, in the format yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss (with T, no decimals).

    Example: TIMESTAMP="2012-08-09T12:55:16"

The following attributes are optional in <AUDIT_RECORD> elements. Many of them occur only for elements with specific values of the NAME attribute.

  • CONNECTION_ID

    An unsigned integer representing the client connection identifier. This is the same as the CONNECTION_ID() function value within the session.

    Example: CONNECTION_ID="127"

  • DB

    A string representing the default database name. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Connect" or "Change user".

  • HOST

    A string representing the client host name. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Connect" or "Change user".

    Example: HOST="localhost"

  • IP

    A string representing the client IP address. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Connect" or "Change user".

    Example: IP="127.0.0.1"

  • MYSQL_VERSION

    A string representing the MySQL server version. This is the same as the value of the VERSION() function or version system variable. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Audit".

    Example: MYSQL_VERSION="5.5.31-log"

  • OS_LOGIN

    A string representing the external user (empty if none). The value may differ from USER, for example, if the server authenticates the client using an external authentication method. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Connect" or "Change user".

  • OS_VERSION

    A string representing the operating system on which the server was built or is running. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Audit".

    Example: OS_VERSION="x86_64-Linux"

  • PRIV_USER

    A string representing the user that the server authenticated the client as. This is the user name that the server uses for privilege checking, and it may differ from the USER value. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Connect" or "Change user".

  • PROXY_USER

    A string representing the proxy user. The value is empty if user proxying is not in effect. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Connect" or "Change user".

  • SERVER_ID

    An unsigned integer representing the server ID. This is the same as the value of the server_id system variable. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Audit" or "NoAudit".

    Example: SERVER_ID="1"

  • SQLTEXT

    A string representing the text of an SQL statement. The value can be empty. Long values may be truncated. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Query" or "Execute".

    The string, like the audit log file itself, is written using UTF-8 (up to 4 bytes per character), so the value may be the result of conversion. For example, the original statement might have been received from the client as an SJIS string.

    Example: SQLTEXT="DELETE FROM t1"

  • STARTUP_OPTIONS

    A string representing the options that were given on the command line or in option files when the MySQL server was started. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Audit".

    Example: STARTUP_OPTIONS="--port=3306 --log-output=FILE"

  • STATUS

    An unsigned integer representing the command status: 0 for success, nonzero if an error occurred. This is the same as the value of the mysql_errno() C API function.

    The audit log does not contain the SQLSTATE value or error message. To see the associations between error codes, SQLSTATE values, and messages, see Section B.3, “Server Error Codes and Messages”.

    Warnings are not logged.

    Example: STATUS="1051"

  • USER

    A string representing the user name sent by the client. This may differ from the PRIV_USER value. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Connect" or "Change user".

  • VERSION

    An unsigned integer representing the version of the audit log file format. This attribute appears only if the NAME value is "Audit".

    Example: VERSION="1"

6.5.2.4 Audit Log Logging Control

This section describes how the audit_log plugin performs logging and the system variables that control how logging occurs. It assumes familiarity with the log file format described in Section 6.5.2.3, “The Audit Log File”.

When the audit log plugin opens its log file, it checks whether the XML declaration and opening <AUDIT> root element tag must be written and writes them if so. When the audit log plugin terminates, it writes a closing </AUDIT> tag to the file.

If the log file exists at open time, the plugin checks whether the file ends with an </AUDIT> tag and truncates it if so before writing any <AUDIT_RECORD> elements. If the log file exists but does not end with </AUDIT> or the </AUDIT> tag cannot be truncated, the plugin considers the file malformed and fails to initialize. This can occur if the server crashes or is killed with the audit log plugin running. No logging occurs until the problem is rectified. Check the error log for diagnostic information:

[ERROR] Plugin 'audit_log' init function returned error.

To deal with this problem, either remove or rename the malformed log file and restart the server.

The MySQL server calls the audit log plugin to write an <AUDIT_RECORD> element whenever an auditable event occurs, such as when it completes execution of an SQL statement received from a client. Typically the first <AUDIT_RECORD> element written after server startup has the server description and startup options. Elements following that one represent events such as client connect and disconnect events, executed SQL statements, and so forth. Only top-level statements are logged, not statements within stored programs such as triggers or stored procedures. Contents of files referenced by statements such as LOAD DATA INFILE are not logged.

To permit control over how logging occurs, the audit_log plugin provides several system variables, described following. For more information, see Section 6.5.2.7, “Audit Log Options and System Variables”.

Audit Log File Naming

To control the audit log file name, set the audit_log_file system variable at server startup. By default, the name is audit.log in the server data directory. For security reasons, the audit log file should be written to a directory accessible only to the MySQL server and users with a legitimate reason to view the log.

Audit Logging Strategy

The audit log plugin can use any of several strategies for log writes. To specify a strategy, set the audit_log_strategy system variable at server startup. By default, the strategy value is ASYNCHRONOUS and the plugin logs asynchronously to a buffer, waiting if the buffer is full. It's possible to tell the plugin not to wait (PERFORMANCE) or to log synchronously, either using file system caching (SEMISYNCHRONOUS) or forcing output with a sync() call after each write request (SYNCHRONOUS).

Asynchronous logging strategy has these characteristics:

  • Minimal impact on server performance and scalability.

  • Blocking of threads that generate audit events for the shortest possible time; that is, time to allocate the buffer plus time to copy the event to the buffer.

  • Output goes to the buffer. A separate thread handles writes from the buffer to the log file.

A disadvantage of PERFORMANCE strategy is that it drops events when the buffer is full. For a heavily loaded server, it is more likely that the audit log will be missing events.

With asynchronous logging, the integrity of the log file may be compromised if a problem occurs during a write to the file or if the plugin does not shut down cleanly (for example, in the event that the server host crashes). To reduce this risk, set audit_log_strategy to use synchronous logging. Regardless of strategy, logging occurs on a best-effort basis, with no guarantee of consistency.

Audit Log Space Management

The audit log plugin provides several system variables that enable you to manage the space used by its log files:

  • audit_log_buffer_size: Set this variable at server startup to set the size of the buffer for asynchronous logging. The plugin uses a single buffer, which it allocates when it initializes and removes when it terminates. The plugin allocates this buffer only if logging is asynchronous.

  • audit_log_rotate_on_size, audit_log_flush: These variables permit audit log file rotation and flushing. The audit log file has the potential to grow very large and consume a lot of disk space. To manage the space used, either enable automatic log rotation, or manually rename the audit file and flush the log to open a new file. The renamed file can be removed or backed up as desired.

    By default, audit_log_rotate_on_size=0 and there is no log rotation. In this case, the audit log plugin closes and reopens the log file when the audit_log_flush value changes from disabled to enabled. Log file renaming must be done externally to the server. Suppose that you want to maintain the three most recent log files, which cycle through the names audit.log.1 through audit.log.3. On Unix, perform rotation manually like this:

    1. From the command line, rename the current log files:

      mv audit.log.2 audit.log.3
      mv audit.log.1 audit.log.2
      mv audit.log audit.log.1
      

      At this point, the plugin is still writing to the current log file, which has been renamed to audit.log.1.

    2. Connect to the server and flush the log file so the plugin closes it and reopens a new audit.log file:

      SET GLOBAL audit_log_flush = ON;
      

    If audit_log_rotate_on_size is greater than 0, setting audit_log_flush has no effect. In this case, the audit log plugin closes and reopens its log file whenever a write to the file causes its size to exceed the audit_log_rotate_on_size value. The plugin renames the original file to have a timestamp suffix. For example, audit.log might be renamed to audit.log.13440033615657730. The last 7 digits are a fractional second part. The first 10 digits are a Unix timestamp value that can be interpreted using the FROM_UNIXTIME() function:

    mysql> SELECT FROM_UNIXTIME(1344003361);
    +---------------------------+
    | FROM_UNIXTIME(1344003361) |
    +---------------------------+
    | 2012-08-03 09:16:01       |
    +---------------------------+
    

6.5.2.5 Audit Log Filtering

The audit_log_policy system variable controls what kinds of information the plugin writes. By default, this variable is set to ALL (write all auditable events), but also permits values of LOGINS or QUERIES to log only login or query events, or NONE to disable logging.

6.5.2.6 Audit Log Option and Variable Reference

Table 6.16 Audit Log Option/Variable Reference

NameCmd-LineOption FileSystem VarStatus VarVar ScopeDynamic
audit-logYesYes    
audit_log_buffer_sizeYesYesYes GlobalNo
audit_log_fileYesYesYes GlobalNo
audit_log_flush  Yes GlobalYes
audit_log_formatYesYesYes GlobalNo
audit_log_policyYesYesYes GlobalYes
audit_log_rotate_on_sizeYesYesYes GlobalYes
audit_log_strategyYesYesYes GlobalNo

6.5.2.7 Audit Log Options and System Variables

This section describes the command options and system variables that control operation of MySQL Enterprise Audit. If values specified at startup time are incorrect, the audit_log plugin may fail to initialize properly and the server does not load it. In this case, the server may also produce error messages for other audit log settings because it will not recognize them.

To control the activation of the audit_log plugin, use this option:

If the audit_log plugin is enabled, it exposes several system variables that permit control over logging:

mysql> SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'audit_log%';
+--------------------------+--------------+
| Variable_name            | Value        |
+--------------------------+--------------+
| audit_log_buffer_size    | 1048576      |
| audit_log_file           | audit.log    |
| audit_log_flush          | OFF          |
| audit_log_policy         | ALL          |
| audit_log_rotate_on_size | 0            |
| audit_log_strategy       | ASYNCHRONOUS |
+--------------------------+--------------+

You can set any of these variables at server startup, and some of them at runtime.

  • audit_log_buffer_size

    Introduced5.5.28
    Command-Line Format--audit-log-buffer-size=value
    System VariableNameaudit_log_buffer_size
    Variable ScopeGlobal
    Dynamic VariableNo
    Permitted Values (32-bit platforms)Typeinteger
    Default1048576
    Min Value4096
    Max Value4294967295
    Permitted Values (64-bit platforms)Typeinteger
    Default1048576
    Min Value4096
    Max Value18446744073709547520

    When the audit log plugin writes events to the log asynchronously, it uses a buffer to store event contents prior to writing them. This variable controls the size of that buffer, in bytes. The server adjusts the value to a multiple of 4096. The plugin uses a single buffer, which it allocates when it initializes and removes when it terminates. The plugin allocates this buffer only if logging is asynchronous.

    This variable was added in MySQL 5.5.28.

  • audit_log_file

    Introduced5.5.28
    Command-Line Format--audit-log-file=file_name
    System VariableNameaudit_log_file
    Variable ScopeGlobal
    Dynamic VariableNo
    Permitted ValuesTypefile name
    Defaultaudit.log

    The name of the file to which the audit log plugin writes events. The default value is audit.log. If the file name is a relative path, the server interprets it relative to the data directory. For security reasons, the audit log file should be written to a directory accessible only to the MySQL server and users with a legitimate reason to view the log.

    This variable was added in MySQL 5.5.28.

  • audit_log_flush

    Introduced5.5.28
    System VariableNameaudit_log_flush
    Variable ScopeGlobal
    Dynamic VariableYes
    Permitted ValuesTypeboolean
    DefaultOFF

    When this variable is set to enabled (1 or ON), the audit log plugin closes and reopens its log file to flush it. (The value remains OFF so that you need not disable it explicitly before enabling it again to perform another flush.) Enabling this variable has no effect unless audit_log_rotate_on_size is 0.

    This variable was added in MySQL 5.5.28.

  • audit_log_format

    Introduced5.5.34
    Command-Line Format--audit-log-format=value
    System VariableNameaudit_log_format
    Variable ScopeGlobal
    Dynamic VariableNo
    Permitted Values (>= 5.5.34)Typeenumeration
    DefaultOLD
    Valid ValuesOLD
    NEW

    The audit log file format. Permitted values are OLD and NEW (default OLD). For details about each format, see Section 6.5.2.3, “The Audit Log File”.

    If you change the value of audit_log_format, use this procedure to avoid writing log entries in one format to an existing log file that contains entries in a different format:

    1. Stop the server.

    2. Rename the current audit log file manually.

    3. Restart the server with the new value of audit_log_format. The audit log plugin will create a new log file, which will contain log entries in the selected format.

    This variable was added in MySQL 5.5.34.

  • audit_log_policy

    Introduced5.5.28
    Command-Line Format--audit-log-policy=value
    System VariableNameaudit_log_policy
    Variable ScopeGlobal
    Dynamic VariableYes
    Permitted ValuesTypeenumeration
    DefaultALL
    Valid ValuesALL
    LOGINS
    QUERIES
    NONE

    The policy controlling the information written by the audit log plugin to its log file. The following table shows the permitted values.

    ValueDescription
    ALLLog all events
    NONELog nothing (disable the audit stream)
    LOGINSLog only login events
    QUERIESLog only query events

    This variable was added in MySQL 5.5.28.

  • audit_log_rotate_on_size

    Introduced5.5.28
    Command-Line Format--audit-log-rotate-on-size=N
    System VariableNameaudit_log_rotate_on_size
    Variable ScopeGlobal
    Dynamic VariableYes
    Permitted ValuesTypeinteger
    Default0

    If the audit_log_rotate_on_size value is greater than 0, the audit log plugin closes and reopens its log file if a write to the file causes its size to exceed this value. The original file is renamed to have a timestamp suffix.

    If the audit_log_rotate_on_size value is 0, the plugin does not close and reopen its log based on size. Instead, use audit_log_flush to close and reopen the log on demand. In this case, rename the file externally to the server before flushing it.

    For more information about audit log file rotation and timestamp interpretation, see Section 6.5.2.4, “Audit Log Logging Control”.

    If you set this variable to a value that is not a multiple of 4096, it is truncated to the nearest multiple. (Thus, setting it to a value less than 4096 has the effect of setting it to 0 and no rotation occurs.)

    This variable was added in MySQL 5.5.28.

  • audit_log_strategy

    Introduced5.5.28
    Command-Line Format--audit-log-strategy=value
    System VariableNameaudit_log_strategy
    Variable ScopeGlobal
    Dynamic VariableNo
    Permitted ValuesTypeenumeration
    DefaultASYNCHRONOUS
    Valid ValuesASYNCHRONOUS
    PERFORMANCE
    SEMISYNCHRONOUS
    SYNCHRONOUS

    The logging method used by the audit log plugin. The following table describes the permitted values.

    Table 6.17 Audit Log Strategies

    ValueMeaning
    ASYNCHRONOUSLog asynchronously, wait for space in output buffer
    PERFORMANCELog asynchronously, drop request if insufficient space in output buffer
    SEMISYNCHRONOUSLog synchronously, permit caching by operating system
    SYNCHRONOUSLog synchronously, call sync() after each request

    This variable was added in MySQL 5.5.28.

6.5.2.8 Audit Log Restrictions

MySQL Enterprise Audit is subject to these general restrictions:

  • Only SQL statements are logged. Changes made by no-SQL APIs, such as memcached, Node.JS, and the NDB API, are not logged.

  • Only top-level statements are logged, not statements within stored programs such as triggers or stored procedures.

  • Contents of files referenced by statements such as LOAD DATA INFILE are not logged.

NDB Cluster.  It is possible to use MySQL Enterprise Audit with MySQL NDB Cluster, subject to the following conditions:

  • All changes to be logged must be done using the SQL interface. Changes using no-SQL interfaces, such as those provided by the NDB API, memcached, or ClusterJ, are not logged.

  • The plugin must be installed on each MySQL server that is used to execute SQL on the cluster.

  • Audit plugin data must be aggregated amongst all MySQL servers used with the cluster. This aggregation is the responsibility of the application or user.