Recording Access to Sensitive DB2 Tables
Most corporations maintain sensitive data that are confidential or vital to corporate operations and security. In today’s distributed IT environments, these data need special protection. As the initial security measure, DB2 privileges are granted to users who are allowed to access these data. As a further measure, all access to sensitive data should be recorded, to verify that accesses are made for legitimate reasons and not for trivial or dishonest motives.
Today, there is a growing concern (and legislation) about data privacy. Databases often contain confidential information about individuals. This information has been entrusted by the individual to the corporation, in the expectation that the information will be handled with respect to personal privacy. Legislations may state that companies owning personal information, implement procedures to ensure that personal data are accessed by legitimate sources only. Legislation may also impose that accesses to confidential information can be retraced whenever needed.
For reasons of security and privacy, it is necessary to control data
access at the table-row level. It is therefore advisable to maintain an access
log, either by application programming or by means of a system tool. The
access log should record which data have been accessed, when and by whom. The
log will be a valuable source of information for auditors or security
DB2 Auditing Facilities
Sensitive data are normally stored in DB2 tables created with the AUDIT clause of the CREATE TABLE statement. A DB2 audit trace can be activated to verify that only authorized users access auditable tables and to record the SQL statements that access these tables. Finally, the DB2 log can be used to view the actual modifications to the data.
However, these DB2 facilities are not sufficient to fully record all access to sensitive data, for the following reasons:
Within a logical unit of work, the audit trace records, for a given table, only the first read or write SQL statement.
The DB2 log does not show SELECT accesses.
DB2 auditing requires that DB2 tracing be enabled. If many tables are audited or intensely accessed, the operating cost of tracing may be unacceptable.
To provide the contents of the input variables associated with an SQL statement, additional DB2 tracing is required.
DB2 Access Recording Services - "DBARS" - is a product developed by Software Product Research.
DBARS records all accesses to sensitive data in auditable DB2 tables, by recording the SQL statements that perform the access.
An auditable DB2 table is a table specified in the DBARS startup parameters. As an alternative, DBARS can be requested to record accesses to all DB2 tables, by specifying the ALLTABLES startup parameter.
DBARS records all read (SELECT) and write (DELETE, INSERT and UPDATE) accesses.
DBARS records all input variables associated with the SQL statements.
DBARS stores the intercepted SQL statements into its Recorder. At the user's choice, the Recorder is a DB2 table, a sequential (BSAM) dataset or a VSAM cluster. The BSAM or VSAM file structure should be chosen when intensive access recording is expected.
DBARS provides a powerful utility to scan the Recorder for recorded events.
DBARS has its own interface to DB2 and does not depend on DB2 tracing facilities. As a result, DBARS overhead is very low.
DBARS provides access blocking and alerting facilities.
DBARS can be integrated with external security systems.
each access to an audited table, DBARS inserts following data into the DBARS
The context of statement execution:
- the date and time of access
- the name of the table accessed
- the name of the DB2 application server
- the name of the DB2 application requester
- the DB2 and z/OS userid
- the correlation ID (e.g. the z/OS job name for batch access)
- the type of connection (e.g. batch, CICS)
- the type of access (dynamic or static)
- the LUW_id
- if remote access:
- the IP address
- the external application name
- the workstation name
- the name of the program used for access
- the number of rows modified by the statement
- the statement's SQLCODE (indicating successful or failing access)
Recorder Scan utility searches
the Recorder for specific access events. The user may supply following search criteria:
or more columns of the Recorder
column names used in the recorded SQL statement. This will report all SQL statements that
reference the named table column.
column names with a specified value. This will report all statements that reference the
table column with the
specified value. This option will report all recorded access for a given table
The Recorder Scan program executes in batch, under TSO or using the DBARSGUI interface on Windows.
The DBARS archiving function transfers the Recorder table to a sequential disk or tape dataset, so that recorded information can be kept for longer periods of time. An archive operation does not disrupt the recording process.
DBARS supplies a utility to scan an archived Recorder using the search criteria, described above.
Blocking access to DB2
The DBARS "RULES" dataset specifies the conditions for blocking DB2 accesses. When an SQL statement meets one of these conditions, DBARS abends the application and writes the statement to the Recorder with a "blocked" indicator. Blocking may be based on username, tablename, programname, jobname, IP-address, execution time, type of access or a combination of these parameters. Because the DBARS blocker executes in the DB2 address space, it is able to block any SQL access, whatever its origin.
Following rule ensures that only users in the accounts receivable department can update the customer_balance table:
BLOCK WHEN TABLE NTR.CUSTOMER_BALANCE
AND ACCESS NOT SELECT
AND USER NOT ACR
Issuing Alerts for questionable DB2 accesses
The DBARS "RULES" dataset specifies the conditions for generating a DBARS alert. When an SQL statement meets these conditions, an entry is made into the DBARS Exception table. Alternatively, an installation may request that a user-provided REXX program be invoked to handle the alert. In addition, DBARS may be requested to transmit the alert to a Windows Event Log, where it can be exploited by third-party software.
Following rule will generate an alert when the customer table is accessed during the night shift by a remote application (such as EXCEL):
ALERT WHEN TABLE NTR.CUSTOMER
AND EXTAPPL ANY
AND TIME BETWEEN 2000 AND 0800
SQL Reduction Facility
For sequences of structurally identical SQL statements, SQL Reduction will reduce those sequences to a single occurrence in the DBARS Recorder.
For example: if a batch job issues multiple INSERTs where only the insert data values are changing, a single INSERT will be recorded, with the data values masked.
SQL reduction is performed using a reduction "key", which consists of the execution date, the userid and the program name.
Centralized Recorder Service
When DBARS monitors multiple Db2 subsystems, a DBARS Recorder is normally required for each Db2 subsystem. With centralized recording, the individual DBARS instances send their recorded data to the Centralized Recorder Processor, using TCP/IP sockets.
The Centralized Recorder Processor executes in a dedicated z/OS address space and writes the received recorder data to the Recorder dataset.
installation may wish to screen all data accesses to audited tables by
examining, within the DBARS User Exit, the data captured by DBARS.
DBARS to an External Security Manager
When connected to an external security manager, DBARS will act as an auditing agent for DB2 on z/OS. Communication between DBARS and the external security software will be achieved using FTP or by TCP/IP sockets.