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Category: Security

Problems with Power BI’s Publish to Web

Adam Saxton explains when you might not want to use the Publish to Web option in Power BI:

Some don’t realize that Power BI Publish to Web is not secure. Adam shows you that this is the case. It’s a bit scary and there are other options to have secure embedding.

For demos and other resources which are supposed to be accessible to everybody, Publish to Web works great. But if you’re deploying company dashboards, not so much.

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Operational Database Security in Cloudera Data Platform

Liliana Kadar, et al, walk us through some of the database security and auditing features in Cloudera Data Platform:

Database object-level security is available through the centralized authorization framework of Apache Ranger. 

Both fine-grained access control of database objects and access to metadata is provided. Protected database objects include: database, table, column, view and User Defined Functions (UDFs). 

Fine-grained access control for special administrative operations that can be performed on OpDBMS is also supported. 

Click through for the full story.

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Discovering MrbMiner

Randolph West gives us the low-down on some malware:

Tencent Security has released a report (written in Chinese) describing a new malware attack by the name of “MrbMiner” on SQL Server instances exposed to the Internet with passwords that can be brute-forced.

According to the report it installs an application written in C# by the name of assm.exe which communicates with a command-and-control server to download a digital coin mining tool, which may be disguised as various Windows system services. The malware uses several techniques to ensure that it sticks around.

Randolph has some more advice on how to determine if it is on one of your servers.

One quick thing I’d like to point out is that this is not a flaw within SQL Server; it only infects a machine which has a username and password it can guess.

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Automating a Permissions Audit with dbatools

Garry Bargsley walks us through the process of a permissions audit made easier:

My post for T-SQL Tuesday #130 is going to be how I automated my companies SQL Server Permissions Audit process. Even though this only occurs every quarter it is something that I as the DBA never look forward to and the business partners never really enjoy. In an effort to streamline the process from start to finish I built automation using PowerShell, dbatools and ImportExcel. The process now builds the permissions audit file, extracts individual users from Active Directory and e-mails the information to the appropriate team(s) for review.

Read on for details about the process.

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Using oysteR to Track Security Vulnerabilities in R Packages

Colin Gillespie walks us through using the oysteR package:

The {oysteR} package is an R interface to the OSS Index that allows users to scan their installed R packages. A few months ago, I stumbled across a fledgeling version of this package and decided to make a few contributions to help move the package from GitHub to CRAN. A few PRs later, I’m now a co-author and the package is on CRAN.

Click through for a demo.

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Checking that Power BI Security Roles are Correct

Fred Kaffenberger poses a question:

If you can ask, how do we know that we are improving, you should also be able to ask how do we know that the security roles are implemented correctly. Data culture is not just for the business, but for the reporting team as well. I haven’t seen much discussion of auditing security roles in Power BI circles, so I’m genuinely curious about how others tackle this issue. Does everyone simply work hard and hope for the best? Or do you restrict everything at the database level and use different apps for different groups instead? There may even be regulatory reasons which require you to restrict it at the database level. But even if you do restrict everything at the database level, you still need to validate that security as well.

Read on for a verification technique.

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Preventing Bruce Force Attacks in SQL Server

Raul Gonzalez walks us through some security tips and shows how to lock accounts after a certain number of failures:

SQL Server provides two different forms of authenticating the users that connect to the database server: Windows Authentication, which is the default and preferred method, and SQL Server Authentication, which needs to be explicitly enabled.

There are reasons you might need to enable SQL Server authentication and, although advertised as less secure than Windows Authentication, there are still a few things we can do to minimise the risks.

Read on for those tips.

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Decoding Helm Secrets with a kubectl Plugin

Andrew Pruski didn’t want to type that much:

The post goes through deploying a Helm Chart to Kubernetes and then running the following to decode the secrets that Helm creates in order for it to be able to rollback a release: –

kubectl get secret sh.helm.release.v1.testchart.v1 -o jsonpath="{ .data.release }" | base64 -d | base64 -d | gunzip -c | jq '.chart.templates[].data' | tr -d '"' | base64 -d

But that’s a bit long winded eh? I don’t really fancy typing that every time I want to have a look at those secrets. So I’ve created a kubectl plugin that’ll do it for us!

Click through to see the code, how you install the plugin, and how you use it.

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Overriding SSRS Authentication

Eitan Blumin doesn’t like the SSRS authentication prompt:

In this post, I hope to summarize the various methods that we have, in order to get rid of that annoying authentication prompt. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of complexity of implementation, versatility, and the level of security that it provides. More specifically: the more secure and versatile a method is – the more complicated it is to implement.

Read on for four such techniques, as well as a bonus technique.

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Securing Application Secrets with Azure Key Vault

Rishit Mishra walks us through Azure Key Vault:

As the name suggests, Azure Key Vault is used to store and manage keys securely. Key Vault can be used to store the cryptographic secrets and keys such as authentication keys, storage account keys, data encryption keys, passwords and certificates.

Azure Key Vault enables developers to create the keys for development and testing in minutes, and they can further migrate this setup seamlessly onto the production environment.

The centralized key store/vault can be securely managed by the Key Vault owner who manages permissions to this key store and would be responsible for keeping the secrets secure.

Key Vault becomes quite useful in managing secrets in tools like Azure Databricks and Azure Data Factory without saving a bunch of keys in configuration files. And it’s a lot safer than that option, too.

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