Save passwords in scripts

Florian Lindner Florian.Lindner at
Mon Mar 21 18:25:46 CET 2005

Peter Hansen wrote:

> Florian Lindner wrote:
>> I've a scripts that allows limited manipulation of a database to users.
>> This script of course needs to save a password for the database
>> connection. The users, on the other hand need read permission on the
>> script in order to execute it but should not be able to read out the
>> password. What is the common way to solve this problem?
> The common way is to do something ill-conceived and insecure.
> The correct approach is to use a secure technique that
> does not involve storing the passwords themselves, but
> instead storing a hash version of them (e.g. MD5 or SHA),
> or by requiring the users to enter their passwords at
> the time the information is required.

Hashes could not work, since I need to give the password to a DB server. My
script is the client, not the server. It does not check passwords supplied
by the users, just use the hard-coded password to connect to the DB server.
>> My current way is to allow the users to execute the script with sudo
>> while not having read permission when acting as a ordinary user. But I
>> don't like this solutions and consider it very ugly.
> Storing passwords in the clear is always ugly and
> insecure.  Think about the situation where a user
> (unwisely) picks a password that he also uses for,
> say, his online banking.  If the password is stored
> in the clear, then anyone with root access can see
> it and even if you trust all your administrators,
> or are the only admin yourself, it's still not a
> good idea to let an admin see a user's password.

It's not a users password. It's a password of a db user which owns several
system tables and the users should be able to manipulate them in a
constrained manner.

I fully agree with you. That's why I'm looking for a better, more secure


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