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Articles tagged: security

Jeff Davis

How to securely authenticate with SCRAM in Postgres 13

Written byBy Jeff Davis | July 28, 2020Jul 28, 2020

Making security easy to use is crucial because hard-to-use security is likely to be neglected entirely. SCRAM with channel binding is a variation of password authentication that is almost as easy to use, but much more secure.

In basic password authentication, the connecting client simply sends the server the password. Then the server checks that it’s the right one, and allows the client to connect. Basic password authentication has several weaknesses which are addressed with SCRAM and channel binding.

In this article, you’ll learn how to set up authentication using SCRAM with channel binding in Postgres. I implemented the client connection parameter channel_binding in PostgreSQL 13, due to be released in late 2020 (PostgreSQL 13 is in beta now). SCRAM and Channel Binding have already been supported in several releases, but this new connection parameter is necessary to realize the security benefits of SCRAM and Channel Binding.

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Craig Kerstiens

Postgres and superuser access

Written byBy Craig Kerstiens | April 4, 2019Apr 4, 2019

A few days ago a CVE was announced for Postgres. To say this CVE is a bit overblown is an understatement. The first thing to know is you’re likely completely safe. If you run on a managed service provider you are not going to be affected by this, and if you’re managing your own Postgres database all chances are you are equally as safe. This CVE received a note from Tom Lane on the pgsql-announce mailing list in response to it getting a broad amount of awareness and attention.

But, we thought this might be a good time to talk about a few principles and concepts that underly how Postgres works.

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Ozgun Erdogan

Citus 7.5: The right way to scale SaaS apps

Written byBy Ozgun Erdogan | August 3, 2018Aug 3, 2018

One of the primary challenges with scaling SaaS applications is the database. While you can easily scale your application by adding more servers, scaling your database is a way harder problem. This is particularly true if your application benefits from relational database features, such as transactions, table joins, and database constraints.

At Citus, we make scaling your database easy. Over the past year, we added support for distributed transactions, made Rails and Django integration seamless, and expanded on our SQL support. We also documented approaches to scaling your SaaS database to thousands of customers.

Today, we’re excited to announce the latest release of our distributed database—Citus 7.5. With this release, we’re adding key features that make scaling your SaaS / multi-tenant database easier. If you’re into bulleted lists, these features include the following.

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Data security and data privacy are important, no one disputes that. We all want to keep private things private and to keep our data secure. And yet, data needs to be shared, to enable insights, to help organizations observe patterns and have those “ah-ha” moments. None of us want the extreme where, in an effort to keep data secure, there is no access to data of any form within your organization, and the result is no business insights or analytics. With GDPR going into effect, you’ve likely been rethinking what security controls you have in place.

Here at Citus Data we collaborate with SaaS businesses and larger enterprises alike, generally to consult on Postgres data models and how to best scale out their database. (Our Citus extension to Postgres enables you to scale out Postgres horizontally. The benefit: performance.) In working with teams, one common thing we’ve seen companies do is to restrict who can see which bits of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) within your database. There are a number of approaches, including heavyweight ETL processes that mask PII bits. An ETL process tends to introduce a certain amount of latency from the time data is in your system until the time it can be analyzed.

Fortunately, Postgres provides a few primitives that can be used directly within your database to hide PII, while still enabling sophisticated analytics and exploration of data in real time.

Here we’ll look at using Postgres schemas and views to provide access to data while keeping PII safe and hidden.

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Craig Kerstiens

Raw SQL access for users with row-level-security

Written byBy Craig Kerstiens | April 4, 2018Apr 4, 2018

We talk with a lot of SaaS companies that are encountering issues with their database. The most common issue we discuss relates to performance, either a need to keep scaling or at times just dealing with really intensive data needs of only a few customers and how to handle that.

And then as you continue to scale and capture more data you want to provide more value back to your customers.

At times you might even consider giving raw SQL access to your largest and most important customers. Typically controlling what data you give them, via dashboards and canned reports is ideal–this way you can control performance impact and other risks. But, if you have extra large/important customers that require you to give them raw access to the data… then PostgreSQL and thus Citus has your answer.

Pro-tip: Don’t grant access to *all** of your customers.*

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Craig Kerstiens

Raw SQL access for users with row-level-security

Written byBy Craig Kerstiens | March 19, 2018Mar 19, 2018

We talk with a lot of SaaS companies that are encountering issues with their database. The most common issue we discuss relates to performance, either a need to keep scaling or at times just dealing with really intensive data needs of only a few customers and how to handle that.

And then as you continue to scale and capture more data you want to provide more value back to your customers.

At times you might even consider giving raw SQL access to your largest and most important customres. Typically controlling what data you give them, via dashboards and canned reports is ideal–this way you can control performance impact and other risks. But, if you have extra large/important customers that require you to give them raw access to the data… then PostgreSQL and thus Citus has your answer.

Pro-tip: Don’t grant access to *all** of your customers.*

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Craig Kerstiens

Yubikeys and U2F make two-factor authentication easier

Written byBy Craig Kerstiens | February 1, 2017Feb 1, 2017

We’re excited to announce U2F Fido (Yubikey) support for Citus Cloud to make the experience of keeping your account and data secure even easier. Within the Account Security section of the Citus Cloud Console you’ll now see a section to add your new device. If you already have a U2F click Register New Device then you’ll be prompted to activate it, and you’re done.

If you already have a Yubikey then you know all the benefits it brings, however when testing many of our customers were unaware of them or weren’t using them already. We felt it would be worth it to spend some time explaining why they’re great as well as creating a few guides for how to set them up on the most common services you may be using.

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