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 location of the plugin directory can replace plugins and modify the capabilities provided by plugins.

Passwords can appear as plain text in SQL statements such as CREATE USER, GRANT, and SET PASSWORD, or statements that invoke the PASSWORD() function. If these statements are logged by the MySQL server, the passwords become available to anyone with access to the logs. This applies to the general query log, the slow query log, and the binary log (see Section 5.2, “MySQL Server Logs”). To guard against unwarranted exposure to log files, they should be located in a directory that restricts access to only the server and the database administrator. If you log to tables in the mysql database, access to the tables should never be granted to any nonadministrative accounts.

Replication slaves store the password for the replication master in the master.info file. Access to this file should be restricted to the database adminstrator.

Database backups that include tables or log files containing passwords should be protected using a restricted access mode.

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