PostgreSQL’s rapid rise in popularity over the past decade can be partly attributed to its compliance with many security standards. The database comes with a range of built-in security capabilities that users can activate to keep their data safe from cybercriminals. To help you make the most of them, we have drawn out the following security tips that we believe every developer and user should be familiar with:

1. Do Not Specify The Name Of Database User In pg_hba Entry

This may seem like a peripheral security measure, but its implementation can significantly improve your protection against internal and external threats. The tip is particularly useful if the database server hosts more than one database. All you need to do is create and name a user group, and then use it in place of individual user names in pg_hba entries.

2. Encrypt Your Passwords Using SCRAM Authentication

SCRAM authentication for password encryption is an excellent PostgreSQL security hardening strategy as it uses an irreversible format to save the password hashes. Alternative authentication methods provided by the database include ident, gss, pam, cert, Idap, and sspi. Using SCRAM enhances your security against hackers who may look to decrypt your password.

3. Don’t Reveal Too Much Information During Database Logging

When looking to secure your environment, always adhere to standard database administration practices. For instance, it is normal to use the PSQL “create user” command to create new users. However, this can result in password exposure if statements logging on the database server are enabled. The “createuser” OS command utility is an alternative user creation method that encrypts passwords and eliminates the risk of unintentional password exposure.

4. Enable The EDB* Wrap Functionality

PostgreSQL users have the option of using the pg_crypto module to encrypt sensitive information such as passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. The problem with this is that anyone with execute permission can access the function body where the encryption key is stored. That is where EDB* wrap comes in. This utility transforms files containing pgSQL or SPL source code into files with the same code but stored in a near-impossible-to-read format. It basically stores everything in obfuscated form and protects you from intruders and internal threats.

5. Limit Access By Role, Not Individual Users

A basic security rule in user management is that users should only have access to features and functionalities they need. But this is no easy task if you have to manage each user separately. The risk of forgetting some users is high, and you may expose sensitive data to the wrong people. The easiest way to control privileges is to employ the role strategy. Create roles for application and DBA users and decide what role level gets what access privilege. This way, it is easy to detect unauthorized access and revise privileges.

Endnote

While you may not be able to eliminate threats completely, the tips above can help make your database safer. You can always use test tools to determine the level of your server security after implementing these tips. If there are vulnerabilities, don’t hesitate to find ways to better your strategy.