Building protected databases using mandatory access control in PostgreSQL

Valery Popov

Postgres Professional

Information Security Officer

Николай Чадаев

Postgres Professional

Старший инженер

Duration 45 min

Role-based access control (RBAC) is one of the main mechanisms used for access control in many DBMS, including PostgreSQL. This model is a sub-type of traditional discretionary access control with its restrictions. In addition to DAC, many operating systems also use mandatory access control (MAC) based on security labels. This additional security mechanism is obligatory for protecting information that demands higher levels of security. Naturally, we would like to use MAC within DBMS when working in OS with mandatory access control switched on.
In this talk, we'll give an overview of existing MAC implementations in DBMS, as well as share our approach to using security mechanisms provided by SELinux, the sepgsql extension for PostgreSQL, and the standard mechanism of row-level security (RLS), which has been available in PostgreSQL starting from version 9.5.
In our presentation, we will use the "Airlines" demo database provided by the Postgres Professional company to show how to protect sensitive information and personal data, compare different ways of storing security labels, and assess performance of our solution.

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