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How to Make MySQL Secure Against Crackers

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How to Make MySQL Secure Against Crackers

When you connect to a MySQL server, you normally should use a password. The password is not transmitted in clear text over the connection, however the encryption algorithm is not very strong, and with some effort a clever attacker can crack the password if he is able to sniff the traffic between the client and the server. If the connection between the client and the server goes through an untrusted network, you should use an SSH tunnel to encrypt the communication.
All other information is transferred as text that can be read by anyone who is able to watch the connection. If you are concerned about this, you can use the compressed protocol (in MySQL Version 3.22 and above) to make things much harder. To make things even more secure you should use ssh (see http://www.cs.hut.fi/ssh). With this, you can get an encrypted TCP/IP connection between a MySQL server and a MySQL client.
To make a MySQL system secure, you should strongly consider the following suggestions:
Use passwords for all MySQL users. Remember that anyone can log in as any other person as simply as mysql -u other_user db_name if other_user has no password. It is common behavior with client/server applications that the client may specify any user name. You can change the password of all users by editing the mysql_install_db script before you run it, or only the password for the MySQL root user like this:
shell> mysql -u root mysql
mysql> UPDATE user SET Password=PASSWORD('new_password')
WHERE user='root';

Don't run the MySQL daemon as the Unix root user. It is very dangerous as any user with FILE privileges will be able to create files as root (for example, ~root/.bashrc). To prevent this mysqld will refuse to run as root unless it is specified directly via --user=root option. mysqld can be run as any user instead. You can also create a new Unix user mysql to make everything even more secure. If you run mysqld as another Unix user, you don't need to change the root user name in the user table, because MySQL user names have nothing to do with Unix user names. You can edit the mysql.server script to start mysqld as another Unix user. Normally this is done with the su command.
If you put a password for the Unix root user in the mysql.server script, make sure this script is readable only by root. Check that the Unix user that mysqld runs as is the only user with read/write privileges in the database directories. On Unix platforms, do not run mysqld as root unless you really need to. Consider creating a user named mysql for that purpose.
Don't give the process privilege to all users. The output of mysqladmin processlist shows the text of the currently executing queries, so any user who is allowed to execute that command might be able to see if another user issues an UPDATE user SET password=PASSWORD('not_secure') query. mysqld reserves an extra connection for users who have the process privilege, so that a MySQL root user can log in and check things even if all normal connections are in use. Don't give the file privilege to all users. Any user that has this privilege can write a file anywhere in the file system with the privileges of the mysqld daemon! To make this a bit safer, all files generated with SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE are readable to everyone, and you can't overwrite existing files. The file privilege may also be used to read any file accessible to the Unix user that the server runs as. This could be abused, for example, by using LOAD DATA to load `/etc/passwd' into a table, which can then be read with SELECT.
If you don't trust your DNS, you should use IP numbers instead of hostnames in the grant tables. In principle, the --secure option to mysqld should make hostnames safe. In any case, you should be very careful about creating grant table entries using hostname values that contain wild cards!
If you want to restrict the number of connections for a single user, you can do this by setting the max_user_connections variable in mysqld.

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