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Category: Security

Enabling Always Encrypted in SQL Server

Scott Klein takes us through the process of enabling Always Encrypted:

Always Encrypted provides a separation between those who own the data and can view it, and those who manage the data but should have no access. Always Encrypted does this by allowing clients to encrypt sensitive data inside client applications while never revealing the encryption key to the database engine. 

One of our clients utilizes Always Encrypted to protect sensitive data. In our work for this client, we realized that a walkthrough documenting the end-to-end process of enabling Always Encrypted would be helpful for everyone.  

Click through for a walkthrough of the process.

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RBAC in Hadoop with Kudu and Ranger

Attila Bukor takes us through the process of setting up role-based access controls on Impala tables:

After setting up the integration it’s time to create some policies, as now only trusted users are allowed to perform any action; everyone else is locked out. Resource-based access control (RBAC) policies can be set up for Kudu in Ranger, but Kudu currently doesn’t support tag-based policies, row-level filtering or column masking.

Click through for the process, as well as current limitations.

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SPN Registration and dbatools

Jess Pomfret takes us through some SPN pains:

But instead of getting a quick answer to my question, I just got the following error:

WARNING: [15:19:49][Get-DbaDatabase] Error occurred while establishing connection to dscsvr1 | The target principal name is incorrect. Cannot generate SSPI context.

Just reading the article brought back some bad troubleshooting memories for me… But as usual, I’m impressed that dbatools has a cmdlet or two to help with that troubleshooting.

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Secure Cluster Connectivity in Azure Databricks

Abhinav Garg and Premal Shah have an announcement:

We’re excited to announce the general availability of Secure Cluster Connectivity (also commonly known as No Public IP) on Azure Databricks. This release applies to Microsoft Azure Public Cloud and Azure Government regions, in both Standard and Premium pricing tiers. Hundreds of our global customers including large financial services, healthcare and retail organizations have already adopted the capability to enable secure and reliable deployments of the Azure Databricks unified data platform. It allows them to securely process company and customer data in private Azure Virtual Networks, thus satisfying a major requirement of their enterprise governance policies.

Read on fore more detail about how this works.

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Windows Authentication Across Domains

Daniel Hutmacher shows three methods for connecting to a remote SQL Server instance on a different domain:

A jump box is a virtual desktop on the client’s domain that you can connect to using Remote Desktop. You’d obviously have to ask somebody for access to one, and you’d have to set up your development environment from scratch. This may not be a big issue if you’re in SSMS all of the time, but when you need the Power BI Desktop, Excel or even Visual Studio, this setup can take some time (not to mention asking for local admin credentials on the jump box).

A fourth option is to run the executable with runas and /netonly, like:

runas /user:domain\username ssms.exe /netonly

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Using Active Directory Authentication for SQL Server on Linux

Jamie Wick takes us through a lengthy process:

SQL Server has been supported on several Linux distributions for a couple of years now. For some people, the primary stumbling block to implementing SQL Server on Linux is the need to retain Active Directory (ie Windows-based) authentication for their database users and applications. Below we’ll go over how to join a Linux server (Ubuntu release 20.04) with SQL Server 2019 to an Active Directory domain, and then configure SQL Server to allow Windows-based logins.

There are quite a few steps here and I appreciate Jamie providing us an image-filled, step-by-step process.

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Using OAuth 2 in R Packages

Maelle Salmon explains how OAuth 2 works and also how you can use it in R packages:

When writing an R package wrapping an API using OAuth 2.0 you’ll need the user to grant access to an “app”, which will allow to create an access token and a refresh token. The access token will then often be passed to the API in a header when making requests, whilst the refresh token would be posted in a query string when the access token needs to be renewed.

Your problem is: how do I imitate a third-party app? Thankfully for you, in most cases the complexity can be handled by the httr package. For other cases, or if you want to e.g. only use curl, you will have to get creative. 

Read on for more detail.

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Security Update for SQL Server

Randolph West takes a look at a patch:

Microsoft announced updates today for all supported versions of SQL Server, for a privilege escalation vulnerability that leverages Extended Events. For security reasons no further details have been provided, but you can expect more information in the near future, now that this update is public.

Be sure to grab the latest update for your version of SQL Server.

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Kerberos vs NTLM

Jack Vamvas contrasts Kerberos and NTLM:

There is a message found in SQL Server Error Logs similar to 

The SQL Server Network Interface library could not register the Service Principal Name (SPN) [ MSSQLSvc/ ] for the SQL Server service. Windows return code: 0x200b, state: 15. Failure to register a SPN might cause integrated authentication to use NTLM instead of Kerberos. This is an informational message. Further action is only required if Kerberos authentication is required by authentication policies and if the SPN has not been manually registered.

The line I’m interested in reviewing is Failure to register a SPN might cause integrated authentication to use NTLM instead of Kerberos.   It’s good to first understand the differences between Kerberos & NTLM – both supported by SQL Server during AD authentication

Read the whole thing. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “Windows authentication = Kerberos”—I do that myself far too often.

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