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Security and Authorization

Security and Authorization

Introduction to DB Security

  • Secrecy: Users shouldn’t be able to see things they are not supposed to.

    – E.g., A student can’t see other students’ grades.

  • Integrity: Users shouldn’t be able to modify things they are not supposed to.

    – E.g., Only instructors can assign grades.

  • Availability: Users should be able to see and modify things they are allowed to.

Access Controls

  • Security policy specifies who is authorized to do what.
  • Security mechanism allows us to enforce a chosen security

    policy.

  • Two main mechanisms at the DBMS level:

    – Discretionary access control – Mandatory access control

Discretionary Access Control

  • Based on the concept of access rights or privileges for objects (tables and views), and mechanisms for giving users privileges (and revoking privileges).
  • Creator of a table or a view automatically gets all privileges on it.
  • DMBS keeps track of who subsequently gains and loses privileges.

GRANT Command

GRANT privileges ON object TO users [WITH GRANT OPTION] • The following privileges can be specified:

  • –  SELECT Can read all columns
    • includingthoseaddedlaterviaALTERTABLEcommand
  • –  INSERT(column-name) Can insert tuples with non-null or nondefault values in this column.
  • –  INSERT means same right with respect to all columns.
  • –  DELETE Can delete tuples.
  • –  REFERENCES (column-name) Can define foreign keys (in other tables) that refer to this column.

Grant Semantics

• If a user has a privilege with the GRANT OPTION, he can pass the privilege on to other users (with or without passing on the GRANT OPTION).

– By using the GRANT command.

  • A user who creates a base table has all the privileges on it, along with the

    right to grant these privileges to other users.

  • A user who creates a view has precisely those privileges on the view that he

    has on every one of the views or base tables used to define the view.

  • At least,

    the user creating the view must have the SELECT privilege on each underlying table.

  • Specifying just, say the INSERT privilege, in a GRANT command is not the same as specifying all the column names.Why?
  • Without specifying the column names, the privilege will be applied for the newly added columns as well.

Grant Examples I

  • Suppose Joe has created the tables – Sailors(sid, sname, rating, age)
    – Boats(bid, bname, color)
    – Reserves(sid, bid, day)
  • Joe now executes the following:
    GRANT INSERT, DELETE ON Reserves TO Yuppy WITH GRANT OPTION;
  • Yuppy can now insert or delete Reserves rows and authorize someone else to do the same.

Grant Examples II

  • Joe further executes:
    GRANT SELECT ON Reserves TO Michael;
    GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Michael WITH GRANT OPTION;
  • Michael can now execute SELECT queries on Sailors and Reserves, and he can pass this privilege to others for Sailors but not for Reserves.
  • With the SELECT privilege, Michael can create a view that accesses the Sailors and Reserves tables, for example, the ActiveSailors view:
         CREATE VIEW ActiveSailors (name, age, day) AS
           SELECT S.sname, S.age, R.day
    
       FROM   Sailors S, Reserves R
       WHERE  S.sid = R.sid AND S.rating > 6;

• However, Michael cannot grant SELECT on ActiveSailors to others. Why?

Grant Examples III

  • On the other hand, suppose that Michael creates the following

    view:

    CREATE VIEW YoungSailors (sid, age, rating)AS SELECT S.sid, S.age, S.rating
    FROM Sailors S
    WHERE S.age < 18;

  • The only underlying table is Sailors, for which Michael has

    SELECT with grant option. Therefore he can pass this on to Eric

    and Guppy:

    GRANT SELECT ON YoungSailors TO Eric, Guppy;

  • Eric and Guppy can now execute SELECT queries on the view YoungSailors.
  • Note, however, that Eric and Guppy don’t have the right to execute SELECT queries directly on the underlying Sailor table.

Grant Examples IV

  • Suppose now Joe executes:
    GRANT UPDATE (rating) ON Sailors TO Leah;
  • Leah can update only the rating column of Sailors. E.g. UPDATE Sailors S
    SET S.rating = 8;
  • However, she cannot execute:
       UPDATE Sailors S
       SET S.age = 25;
    
  • She cannot execute either:
       UPDATE Sailors S
       SET S.rating = S.rating-l;
    
  • Why?

Grant Examples V

  • Suppose now Joe executes:

    GRANT SELECT, REFERENCES(bid) ON Boats TO Bill;

  • Bill can refer to the bid column of Boats as a foreign key in another table. E.g.
       CREATE TABLE Reserves (
            sid INTEGER,
    

    bid INTEGER,
    day DATE,
    PRIMARY KEY (bid, day),
    FOREIGN KEY (sid) REFERENCES Sailors, FOREIGN KEY (bid) REFERENCES Boats

    );

REFERENCES Privilege

  • The REFERENCES privilege is very different from the SELECT privilege.
  • However, SQL requires the creator of the table constraint that refers to a table T to possess the SELECT privilege on T. Why?
  • But, why the SQL standard chose to introduce the REFERENCES privilege rather than to simply allow the SELECT privilege to be used when creating a Foreign Key?
  • To see why, consider the case when the creator of table Reserves (i.e. Bill) doesn’t specify a policy such as for example
          ON DELETE SET NULL
    
          ON UPDATE CASCADE
    
  • The default NO ACTION policy is assumed (as in the previous slide), which prevents Joe from deleting a tuple from Boats because a tuple in Reserves refers to this Boat tuple.
  • Similarly, when Joe tries to update the key value of a referred Boat tuple.
  • Giving Bill, the creator of the Reserves, the right to constrain deletes and updates in this manner goes beyond simply allowing him to read values, which is all that SELECT privilege authorizes.

Role-Based Authorization

  • In SQL:1999 (and in many current systems), privileges are assigned to roles.
  • Roles can then be granted to users and to other roles.
  • Reflects how real organizations work.
  • Illustrates how standards often catch up with “defacto” standards embodied in popular systems.
  • Example.
    CREATE ROLE some_role;
    GRANT SELECT ON Reserves TO some_role; GRANT INSERT ON Sailors TO some_role; GRANT UPDATE ON Boats TO some_role; GRANT some_role TO Michael;
    GRANT some_role TO Bill;

Revoke Examples I

REVOKE [GRANT OPTION FOR] privileges
ON object FROM users {RESTRICT | CASCADE}

• Suppose Joe is the creator of Sailors.

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Art WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Joe)

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Bob WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Art)

REVOKE SELECT ON Sailors FROM Art CASCADE

(executed by Joe)

Revoke Examples II

  • Art loses the SELECT privilege on Sailors.
  • Then Bob, who received this privilege from Art, and only Art, also loses this privilege.

    – Bob’s privilege is said to be abandoned

  • When CASCADE is specified, all abandoned privileges are also

    revoked

    – Possibly causing privileges held by other users to become abandoned and thereby revoked recursively.

  • If the RESTRICT keyword is specified, the command is rejected if revoking privileges causes other privileges becoming abandoned.

Revoke Examples III

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Art WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Joe)

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Bob WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Joe)

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Bob WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Art)

REVOKE SELECT ON Sailors FROM Art CASCADE

(executed by Joe)

  • As before, Art loses the SELECT privilege on Sailors.
  • But what about Bob?
  • Bob received this privilege from Art, but he also received it independently from Joe. So, he doesn’t lose the privilege.

Revoke Examples IV

Suppose Joe executes:
GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Art WITH GRANT OPTION GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Art WITH GRANT OPTION REVOKE SELECT ON Sailors FROM Art CASCADE

  • Since Joe granted the privilege to Art twice and only revoked it once, does Art get to keep the privilege?
  • As per the SQL, NO. It doesn’t matter how many times we grant a privilege.

Privilege Descriptors

  • When a GRANT is executed, a privilege descriptor is added to a table of such descriptors maintained by the DBMS.
  • The privilege descriptor specifies the following: – the grantor of the privilege,
    – the grantee who receives the privilege,
    – the granted privilege

    – the grant option

  • When a user creates a table or view he ‘automatically’ gets certain

    privileges,

    – A privilege descriptor with system as the grantor is entered into the descriptors table.

Authorization Graphs

• Nodes are users. Arcs indicate how privileges are passed.

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Art WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Joe)

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Bob WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Art)

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Art WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Bob)

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Cal WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Joe)

GRANT SELECT ON Sailors TO Bob WITH GRANT OPTION

(executed by Cal)

Effects of Revocations I

  • Suppose that Joe executes:

    REVOKE SELECT ON Sailors FROM Art CASCADE

  • The arc from Joe to Art is removed.
  • Art still has the privilege

    – He got it independently from Bob.

Effects of Revocations II

  • Let’s suppose now that Joe decides to revoke Cal’s SELECT privilege as well.
  • The arc from Joe to Cal is removed.
  • The arc from Cal to Bob is removed as well, since there is no longer a path from System to Cal.
  • Art and Bob also have lost privileges as well because there isn’t a path from the System.

Grant and Revoke on Views

  • Suppose that Joe created Sailors and gave Michael the SELECT privilege on it with the grant option.
  • Michael then created the view YoungSailors and gave Eric the SELECT privilege on YoungSailors.
  • Eric now defines a view called FineYoungSailors:

    CREATE VIEW FineYoungSailors (name, age, rating) AS SELECT S.sname, S.age, S.rating
    FROM YoungSailors S
    WHERE S.rating> 6

  • What happens if Joe revokes the SELECT privilege on Sailors from Michael?
  • Michael no longer has the authority to execute the query used to define

    YoungSailors because the definition refers to Sailors.

    • –  Therefore, the view YoungSailors is dropped (I.e., destroyed).
    • –  In turn, FineYoungSailors is dropped as well.

Revoking REFERENCES privilege

  • Suppose Joe had executed:
       GRANT REFERENCES(bid) ON Boats TO Bill;
    
  • Bill can refer to the bid column of Boats as a foreign key in another table. E.g.
        CREATE TABLE Reserves (
             sid INTEGER,
    
             bid INTEGER,
             day DATE,
             PRIMARY KEY (bid, day),
             FOREIGN KEY (sid) REFERENCEs Sailors,
             FOREIGN KEY (bid) REFERENCES Boats
    

    );

  • If Joe revokes the REFERENCES privilege from Bill,

    then the Foreign Key constraint referencing the Boat table will be dropped from the Bill’s Reserves table.

Mandatory Access Control

  • Based on system-wide policies that cannot be changed by individual users.
  • Each DB object is assigned a security class.
  • Each subject (user or user program) is assigned a

    clearance for a security class.

  • Rules based on security classes and clearances govern

    who can read/write which objects.

  • Most commercial systems do not support mandatory access control. Versions of some DBMSs do support it; used for specialized (e.g., military) applications.

Why Mandatory Control?

  • Discretionary control has some flaws, e.g., the Trojan horse problem:
  • Dick creates table Horsie and gives INSERT privileges to Justin (who doesn’t know about this).
  • Dick modifies the code of an application program used by Justin to additionally write some secret data to table Horsie.
  • Now, Dick can see the secret info.
  • The modification of the code is beyond the DBMS’s control, but it can try and prevent the use of the database as a channel for secret information.

Bell-LaPadula Model

  • Objects (e.g., tables, views)
  • Subjects (e.g., users, user programs)
  • Security classes:
    – Top secret (TS), secret (S), confidential (C), unclassified (U): – TS>S>C>U
  • Each object and subject is assigned a class.
  • Subject S can read object O only if class(S) >=class(O)

    (Simple Security Property)

  • Subject S can write object O only if class(S) <= class(O)

    (*-Property)

Intuition

• Idea is to ensure that information can never flow from a higher to a lower security level. E.g.,

  • –  If Dick has security class C, Justin has class S, and the secret table has class S:
  • –  Dick’s table, Horsie, has Dick’s clearance, C.
  • –  Justin’s application has his clearance, S.
  • –  So, the program cannot write into table Horsie.

Challenges in Statistical Databases

  • Statistical DB: Contains information about individuals, but allows only aggregate queries (e.g., average age, rather than Joe’s age).
  • New problem: It may be possible to infer some secret information!
  • E.g. Suppose Sneaky Pete wants to know the rating of Admiral Horntooter
    • –  It happens that Pete knows that Horntooter is the oldest sailor in the club.
    • –  Pete repeatedly asks “How many sailors are older than X” for various values of X, until the answer is 1.
    • –  Obviously, this sailor is Horntooter, the oldest sailor.
    • –  Hence the Horntooter’s age is discovered.
  • Each of these queries is a valid statistical query and is permitted. Let the value of X at this point be, say, 65.
  • Pete now asks the query, “What is the maximum rating of all sailors whose age is greater or equal to 65?”

    …discovering so the Horntooter’s rating.