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Security Compatibility with MySQL

TiDB supports security features similar to MySQL 5.7, and also supports some security features of MySQL 8.0. The security features of TiDB are different from MySQL in implementation.

Unsupported security features

  • Column level permissions.
  • These permission attributes: max_questions, max_updated, and max_user_connections.
  • Password verification policy, which requires you to verify the current password when you change it.
  • Dual password policy.
  • Random password generation.
  • Multi-factor authentication.

Differences with MySQL

Password expiration policy

The password expiration policies of TiDB and MySQL have the following differences:

  • MySQL supports password expiration policy in v5.7 and v8.0.
  • TiDB supports password expiration policy starting from v6.5.0.

The expiration mechanism of TiDB is different from MySQL in the following aspects:

  • In MySQL v5.7 and v8.0, the configuration of the client and the server combined together determines whether to enable "sandbox mode" for the client connection.
  • In TiDB, the security.disconnect-on-expired-password configuration item alone determines whether to enable "sandbox mode" for the client connection.

Password complexity policy

The password complexity policies of TiDB and MySQL have the following differences:

  • MySQL v5.7 implements the password complexity policy by using the validate_password plugin.
  • MySQL v8.0 re-implements the password complexity policy by using the validate_password component.
  • TiDB introduces a built-in password complexity management feature starting from v6.5.0.

The feature implementation has the following differences:

  • Enable the feature:

    • In MySQL v5.7, the feature is implemented by using the validate_password plugin. You can enable the feature by installing the plugin.
    • In MySQL v8.0, the feature is implemented by using the validate_password component. You can enable the feature by installing the component.
    • For TiDB, this feature is built-in. You can enable the feature using the system variable validate_password.enable.
  • Dictionary check:

    • In MySQL v5.7, you can specify a file path using the validate_password_dictionary_file variable. The file contains a list of words that are not allowed to exist in passwords.
    • In MySQL v8.0, you can specify a file path using the validate_password.dictionary_file variable. The file contains a list of words that are not allowed to exist in passwords.
    • In TiDB, you can specify a string using the validate_password.dictionary system variable. The string contains a list of words that are not allowed to exist in passwords.

Password failure tracking

The password failure tracking policies of TiDB and MySQL have the following differences:

  • MySQL v5.7 does not support password failure tracking.
  • MySQL v8.0 supports password failure tracking.
  • TiDB supports password failure tracking starting from v6.5.0.

Because the number of failed attempts and lock status of accounts need to be globally consistent, and as a distributed database, TiDB cannot record the number of failed attempts and lock status in the server memory like MySQL, so the implementation mechanisms are different between TiDB and MySQL.

  • For users that are not locked automatically, the count of failed attempts is reset in the following scenarios:

    • MySQL 8.0:

      • When the server is restarted, the count of failed attempts for all accounts is reset.
      • When FLUSH PRIVILEGES is executed, the count of failed attempts for all accounts is reset.
      • When you run ALTER USER ... ACCOUNT UNLOCK to unlock an account, the count is reset.
      • When an account logs in successfully, the count is reset.
    • TiDB:

      • When you run ALTER USER ... ACCOUNT UNLOCK to unlock an account, the count is reset.
      • When an account logs in successfully, the count is reset.
  • For users that are locked automatically, the count of failed attempts is reset in the following scenarios:

    • MySQL 8.0:

      • When the server is restarted, the temporary locking for all accounts is reset.
      • When FLUSH PRIVILEGES is executed, the temporary locking for all accounts is reset.
      • If the lock time of an account ends, the temporary locking for the account is reset on the next login attempt.
      • When you run ALTER USER ... ACCOUNT UNLOCK to unlock an account, the temporary locking for the account is reset.
    • TiDB:

      • If the lock time of an account ends, the temporary locking for the account is reset on the next login attempt.
      • When you run ALTER USER ... ACCOUNT UNLOCK to unlock an account, the temporary locking for the account is reset.

Password reuse policy

The password reuse policies of TiDB and MySQL have the following differences:

  • MySQL v5.7 does not support password reuse management.
  • MySQL v8.0 supports password reuse management.
  • TiDB supports password reuse management starting from v6.5.0.

The implementation mechanisms are consistent between TiDB and MySQL. Both use the mysql.password_history system table to implement the password reuse management feature. However, when deleting a user that does not exist in the mysql.user system table, TiDB and MySQL have different behaviors:

  • Scenario: A user (user01) is not created in a normal way; instead, it is created by using the INSERT INTO mysql.password_history VALUES (...) statement to append a record of user01 to the mysql.password_history system table. In such cases, because the record of user01 does not exist in the mysql.user system table, when you run DROP USER on user01, TiDB and MySQL have different behaviors.

    • MySQL: When you run DROP USER user01, MySQL tries to find user01 in mysql.user and mysql.password_history. If either system table contains user01, the DROP USER statement is executed successfully and no error is reported.
    • TiDB: When you run DROP USER user01, TiDB tries to find user01 only in mysql.user. If no related record is found, the DROP USER statement fails and an error is reported. If you want to execute the statement successfully and delete the user01 record from mysql.password_history, use DROP USER IF EXISTS user01 instead.

Authentication plugin status

TiDB supports multiple authentication methods. These methods can be specified on a per user basis using CREATE USER and ALTER USER. These methods are compatible with the authentication methods of MySQL with the same names.

You can use one of the following supported authentication methods in the table. To specify a default method that the server advertises when the client-server connection is being established, set the default_authentication_plugin variable. tidb_sm3_password is the SM3 authentication method only supported in TiDB. Therefore, to authenticate using this method, you must connect to TiDB using TiDB-JDBC. tidb_auth_token is a JSON Web Token (JWT)-based authentication method used in TiDB Cloud, and you can also configure it for use in TiDB Self-Hosted.

The support for TLS authentication is configured differently. For detailed information, see Enable TLS between TiDB Clients and Servers.

The support for TLS authentication is configured differently. For detailed information, see Enable TLS between TiDB Clients and Servers.

Authentication MethodSupported
mysql_native_passwordYes
sha256_passwordNo
caching_sha2_passwordYes, since 5.2.0
auth_socketYes, since 5.3.0
tidb_sm3_passwordYes, since 6.3.0
tidb_auth_tokenYes, since 6.4.0
authentication_ldap_saslYes, since 7.1.0
authentication_ldap_simpleYes, since 7.1.0
TLS CertificatesYes
LDAPYes, since 7.1.0
PAMNo
ed25519 (MariaDB)No
GSSAPI (MariaDB)No
FIDONo

tidb_auth_token

tidb_auth_token is a passwordless authentication method based on JSON Web Token (JWT). In v6.4.0, tidb_auth_token is only used for user authentication in TiDB Cloud. Starting from v6.5.0, you can also configure tidb_auth_token as a user authentication method for TiDB Self-Hosted. Different from password-based authentication methods such as mysql_native_password and caching_sha2_password, when you create users using tidb_auth_token, there is no need to set or store custom passwords. To log into TiDB, users only need to use a signed token instead of a password, which simplifies the authentication process and improves security.

JWT

JWT consists of three parts: Header, Payload, and Signature. After being encoded using base64, they are concatenated into a string separated by dots (.) for transmission between the client and server.

The Header describes the metadata of the JWT, including 3 parameters:

  • alg: the algorithm for signature, which is RS256 by default.
  • typ: the type of token, which is JWT.
  • kid: the key ID for generating token signature.

Here is an example for Header:

{ "alg": "RS256", "kid": "the-key-id-0", "typ": "JWT" }

Payload is the main part of JWT, which stores the user information. Each field in the Payload is called a claim. The claims required for TiDB user authentication are as follows:

  • iss: if TOKEN_ISSUER is not specified or set to empty when CREATE USER, this claim is not required; otherwise, iss should use the same value as TOKEN_ISSUER.
  • sub: this claim is required to be the same as the username to be authenticated.
  • iat: it means issued at, the timestamp when the token is issued. In TiDB, this value must not be later than the authentication time or earlier than 15 minutes before authentication.
  • exp: the timestamp when the token expires. If it is earlier than the time of authentication, the authentication fails.
  • email: the email can be specified when creating a user by ATTRIBUTE '{"email": "xxxx@pingcap.com"}. If no email is specified when a user is created, this claim must be set as an empty string; otherwise, this claim must be the same as the specified value when the user is created.

Here is an example for Payload:

{ "email": "user@pingcap.com", "exp": 1703305494, "iat": 1703304594, "iss": "issuer-abc", "sub": "user@pingcap.com" }

Signature is used to sign the Header and Payload data.

Usage

To configure and use tidb_auth_token as the authentication method for TiDB Self-Hosted users, take the following steps:

  1. Configure auth-token-jwks and auth-token-refresh-interval in the TiDB configuration file.

    For example, you can get an example JWKS using the following command:

    wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/CbcWestwolf/generate_jwt/master/JWKS.json

    Then, configure the path of the example JWKS in config.toml:

    [security] auth-token-jwks = "JWKS.json"
  2. Start tidb-server and periodically update and save the JWKS to the path specified by auth-token-jwks.

  3. Create a user with tidb_auth_token, and specify iss and email as needed using REQUIRE TOKEN_ISSUER and ATTRIBUTE '{"email": "xxxx@pingcap.com"}.

    For example, create a user user@pingcap.com with tidb_auth_token:

    CREATE USER 'user@pingcap.com' IDENTIFIED WITH 'tidb_auth_token' REQUIRE TOKEN_ISSUER 'issuer-abc' ATTRIBUTE '{"email": "user@pingcap.com"}';
  4. Generate and sign a token for authentication, and authenticate using the mysql_clear_text plugin of the MySQL client.

    Install the JWT generation tool via go install github.com/cbcwestwolf/generate_jwt (this tool is only used for testing tidb_auth_token). For example:

    generate_jwt --kid "the-key-id-0" --sub "user@pingcap.com" --email "user@pingcap.com" --iss "issuer-abc"

    It prints the public key and token as follows:

    -----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY----- MIIBCgKCAQEAq8G5n9XBidxmBMVJKLOBsmdOHrCqGf17y9+VUXingwDUZxRp2Xbu LZLbJtLgcln1lC0L9BsogrWf7+pDhAzWovO6Ai4Aybu00tJ2u0g4j1aLiDdsy0gy vSb5FBoL08jFIH7t/JzMt4JpF487AjzvITwZZcnsrB9a9sdn2E5B/aZmpDGi2+Is f5osnlw0zvveTwiMo9ba416VIzjntAVEvqMFHK7vyHqXbfqUPAyhjLO+iee99Tg5 AlGfjo1s6FjeML4xX7sAMGEy8FVBWNfpRU7ryTWoSn2adzyA/FVmtBvJNQBCMrrA hXDTMJ5FNi8zHhvzyBKHU0kBTS1UNUbP9wIDAQAB -----END PUBLIC KEY----- eyJhbGciOiJSUzI1NiIsImtpZCI6InRoZS1rZXktaWQtMCIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJlbWFpbCI6InVzZXJAcGluZ2NhcC5jb20iLCJleHAiOjE3MDMzMDU0OTQsImlhdCI6MTcwMzMwNDU5NCwiaXNzIjoiaXNzdWVyLWFiYyIsInN1YiI6InVzZXJAcGluZ2NhcC5jb20ifQ.T4QPh2hTB5on5xCuvtWiZiDTuuKvckggNHtNaovm1F4RvwUv15GyOqj9yMstE-wSoV5eLEcPC2HgE6eN1C6yH_f4CU-A6n3dm9F1w-oLbjts7aYCl8OHycVYnq609fNnb8JLsQAmd1Zn9C0JW899-WSOQtvjLqVSPe9prH-cWaBVDQXzUJKxwywQzk9v-Z1Njt9H3Rn9vvwwJEEPI16VnaNK38I7YG-1LN4fAG9jZ6Zwvz7vb_s4TW7xccFf3dIhWTEwOQ5jDPCeYkwraRXU8NC6DPF_duSrYJc7d7Nu9Z2cr-E4i1Rt_IiRTuIIzzKlcQGg7jd9AGEfGe_SowsA-w

    Copy the preceding token in the last line for login:

    mycli -h 127.0.0.1 -P 4000 -u 'user@pingcap.com' -p '<the-token-generated>'

    Ensure that the MySQL client here supports the mysql_clear_password plugin. mycli supports and enables this plugin by default. If you are using the mysql command-line client, you need to use the --enable-cleartext-plugin option to enable this plugin:

    mysql -h 127.0.0.1 -P 4000 -u 'user@pingcap.com' -p'<the-token-generated>' --enable-cleartext-plugin

    If an incorrect --sub is specified when the token is generated (such as --sub "wronguser@pingcap.com"), the authentication using this token would fail.

You can encode and decode a token using the debugger provided by jwt.io.

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