Subject Re: RES: [ib-support] Where I find a really good security specific IB/FB group?
Author Paul Schmidt
On 15 Jul 2002 at 15:50, Rafael Thomazi Bratti wrote:

> Hum...
> I like to spend my too Real cents here... :)
> What about a large office with thin clients, and
> a bad-intentioned employee trying to break into the
> Database to steal secret information?
> Or a School with some children trying to change their
> notes or hacking into the payment Database?

These aren't truly database security issues, in the first case, the user would need to
obtain a password that is of sufficient strength to be able to steal that kind of
material, so the user has his own username and password, which does little outside
his/her own area. You can make use of roles in some instances, where certain roles
have certain powers, but the user still needs a user that is registered for that role. If
you let Joe employee have access to payroll for example, when he doesn't need
payroll, then you deserve to get hacked.

> OK, we can develop a third-tier application, and deny
> the 3050 port for every machine and grant access only to
> the mid-tier Application, but if we could trust the
> security of Firebird none of this is necessary.

I think that's overkill, the key here is to be able to get a password strong enough to
do damage, if the user has such, then there isn't much you can do. So you need to
keep the passwords secure, two things that work very well are:

Securing the network, this is to prevent someone from packet sniffing and stealing a
password, which I think was what you were alluding to in your original message, and
this can be done with software, hardware or mechanics. For example using a
secured sockets layer which encrypts the contents of packets before sending them
down the pipe would be a software solution. Hardware would be something like an
ethernet card that does the encryption (does anyone actually make an encrypting
wired ethernet card?) or a router which does VPN tunneling. Mechanics would be
something like using armoured cable, or putting the cable inside metal conduit. If
your really paranoid, you could encase the conduit in reinforced concrete.

Securing the user is a good deal harder, you get someone who uses their dogs
name as a password, or takes and writes down their username and password on a
post-it note and sticks it on their monitor, so a simple walk through the right
department is all someone usually needs to do to get the password they want.
There is no way for software to compensate for stupidity. I have long refered to
users as 99.99999999% of the time an idiot with a brain impediment.

> In the actual form, Firebird can be target of brute-force
> attacks. I read some article to improve ISC4.GDB to block this,
> but don’t you think it should be standard?

Brute force attacks can work but there again it's a network issue. Most systems
have the ability to limit access to certain ranges of IP addresses, for certain ports,
so only allow "internal" IP addresses access to the database. There are other things
that help, for example when a wrong username/password pair are entered, more
then twice, dump the connection.

Paul Schmidt, President
Tricat Technologies