Avoid Impersonation And The Trustworthy Flag

Solomon Rutzky explains how you can use module signing to avoid the security risks which come with impersonation and setting Trustworthy on:

Admittedly, using Cross-Database Ownership Chaining and/or Impersonation and/or TRUSTWORTHY are quicker and easier to implement than Module Signing. However, the relative simplicity in understanding and implementing these options comes at a cost: the security of your system.

  • Cross-DB Ownership Chaining:
    • security risk (can spoof User / DB-level)
    • db_ddladmin & db_owner users can create objects for other owners
    • Users with CREATE DATABASE permission can create new databases and attach existing databases
  • Impersonation:
    • If IMPERSONATE permission is required:
      • can be used any time
      • No granular control over permissions
    • Cross-DB operations need TRUSTWORTHY ON
    • Need to use ORIGINAL_LOGIN() for Auditing
    • Elevated permissions last until process / sub-process ends or REVERT
  • TRUSTWORTHY:
    • Bigger security risk
      • can also spoof Logins, such as “sa” !
      • If using SQLCLR Assemblies, no per-Assembly control of ability to be marked as either EXTERNAL_ACCESS or UNSAFEall Assemblies are eligible to be marked as either of those elevated permission sets.

The common theme across all three areas is no control, within a Database, over who or what can make use of the feature / option, or when it can be used.

Read the whole thing.

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