Masking

This filter was introduced in MariaDB MaxScale 2.1.

Overview

With the masking filter it is possible to obfuscate the returned value of a particular column.

For instance, suppose there is a table person that, among other columns, contains the column ssn where the social security number of a person is stored.

With the masking filter it is possible to specify that when the ssn field is queried, a masked value is returned unless the user making the query is a specific one. That is, when making the query

> SELECT name, ssn FROM person;

instead of getting the real result, as in

+-------+-------------+
+ name  | ssn         |
+-------+-------------+
| Alice | 721-07-4426 |
| Bob   | 435-22-3267 |
...

the ssn would be masked, as in

+-------+-------------+
+ name  | ssn         |
+-------+-------------+
| Alice | XXX-XX-XXXX |
| Bob   | XXX-XX-XXXX |
...

Security

Note that he masking filter alone is not sufficient for preventing access to a particular column. As the masking filter works on the column name alone a query like

> SELECT name, concat(ssn) FROM person;

will reveal the value. Also, executing a query like

> SELECT name FROM person WHERE ssn = ...;

a sufficient number of times with different ssn values, will, eventually, reveal the social security number of all persons in the database.

For a secure solution, the masking filter must be combined with the firewall filter to prevent the use of functions using which the masking can be bypassed.

In a future release, the combined use of the masking filter and the database firewall filter will be simplified.

Limitations

The masking filter can only be used for masking columns of the following types: BINARY, VARBINARY, CHAR, VARCHAR, BLOB, TINYBLOB, MEDIUMBLOB, LONGBLOB, TEXT, TINYTEXT, MEDIUMTEXT, LONGTEXT, ENUM and SET. If the type of the column is something else, then no masking will be performed.

Currently, the masking filter can only work on packets whose payload is less than 16MB. If the masking filter encounters a packet whose payload is exactly that, thus indicating a situation where the payload is delivered in multiple packets, the value of the parameter large_payloads specifies how the masking filter should handle the situation.

Configuration

The masking filter is taken into use with the following kind of configuration setup.

[Mask-SSN]
type=filter
module=masking
rules=...

[SomeService]
type=service
...
filters=Mask-SSN

Filter Parameters

The masking filter has one mandatory parameter - rules.

rules

Specifies the path of the file where the masking rules are stored. A relative path is interpreted relative to the module configuration directory of MariaDB MaxScale. The default module configuration directory is /etc/maxscale.modules.d.

rules=/path/to/rules-file

warn_type_mismatch

With this optional parameter the masking filter can be instructed to log a warning if a masking rule matches a column that is not of one of the allowed types.

The values that can be used are never and always, with never being the default.

warn_type_mismatch=always

large_payload

This optional parameter specifies how the masking filter should treat payloads larger than 16MB, that is, payloads that are delivered in multiple MySQL protocol packets.

The values that can be used are ignore, which means that columns in such payloads are not masked, and abort, which means that if such payloads are encountered, the client connection is closed. The default is abort.

Note that the aborting behaviour is applied only to resultsets that contain columns that should be masked. There are no limitations on resultsets that do not contain such columns.

large_payload=ignore

Rules

The masking rules are expressed as a JSON object.

The top-level object is expected to contain a key rules whose value is an array of rule objects.

{
    "rules": [ ... ]
}

Rule

Each rule in the rules array is a JSON object, expected to contain the keys replace, with, applies_to and exempted. The two former ones are obligatory and the two latter ones optional.

{
    "rules": [
        {
            "replace": { ... },
            "with": { ... },
            "applies_to": [ ... ],
            "exempted": [ ... ]
        }
    ]
}

replace

The value of this key is an object that specifies the column whose values should be masked. The object must contain the key column and may contain the keys table and database. The value of these keys must be a string.

If only column is specified, then a column with that name matches irrespective of the table and database. If table is specified, then the column matches only if it is in a table with the specified name, and if database is specified when the column matches only if it is in a database with the specified name.

{
    "rules": [
        {
            "replace": {
                "database": "db1",
                "table": "person",
                "column": "ssn"
            },
            "with": { ... },
            "applies_to": [ ... ],
            "exempted": [ ... ]
        }
    ]
}

with

The value of this key is an object that specifies what the value of the matched column should be replaced with. Currently, the object is expected to contain either the key value or the key fill. The value of both must be a string. If both keys are specified, then value takes presedence.

If value is specified, then its value is used to replace the actual value verbatim and the length of the specified value must match the actual returned value (from the server) exactly. If the lengths do not match, then if fill is specified its value will be used to mask the actual value. Otherwise an error is logged and the value is not masked.

If fill is specified, then its value will be used for masking the value; as such if the lenghts match, by cutting it if the actual value is shorter, and by repeating it, fully or partially, the necessary amount of times, if the actual value is longer.

{
    "rules": [
        {
            "replace": {
                "column": "ssn"
            },
            "with": {
                "value": "XXX-XX-XXXX"
            },
            "applies_to": [ ... ],
            "exempted": [ ... ]
        },
        {
            "replace": {
                "column": "age"
            },
            "with": {
                "fill": "*"
            },
            "applies_to": [ ... ],
            "exempted": [ ... ]
        },
        {
            "replace": {
                "column": "creditcard"
            },
            "with": {
                "value": "1234123412341234"
                "fill": "0"
            },
            "applies_to": [ ... ],
            "exempted": [ ... ]
        },
    ]
}

applies_to

With this optional key, whose value must be an array of strings, it can be specified what users the rule is applied to. Each string should be a MariaDB account string, that is, % is a wildcard.

{
    "rules": [
        {
            "replace": { ... },
            "with": { ... },
            "applies_to": [ "'alice'@'host'", "'bob'@'%'" ],
            "exempted": [ ... ]
        }
    ]
}

If this key is not specified, then the masking is performed for all users, except the ones exempted using the key exempted.

exempted

With this optional key, whose value must be an array of strings, it can be specified what users the rule is not applied to. Each string should be a MariaDB account string, that is, % is a wildcard.

{
    "rules": [
        {
            "replace": { ... },
            "with": { ... },
            "applies_to": [ ... ],
            "exempted": [ "'admin'" ]
        }
    ]
}

Module commands

Read Module Commands documentation for details about module commands.

The masking filter supports the following module commands.

reload

Reload the rules from the rules file. The new rules are taken into use only if the loading succeeds without any errors.

MaxScale> call command masking reload MyMaskingFilter

MyMaskingFilter refers to a particular filter section in the MariaDB MaxScale configuration file.

Example

In the following we configure a masking filter MyMasking that should always log a warning if a masking rule matches a column that is of a type that cannot be masked, and that should abort the client connection if a resultset package is larger than 16MB. The rules for the masking filter are in the file masking_rules.json.

Configuration

[MyMasking]
type=filter
module=masking
warn_type_mismatch=always
large_payload=abort
rules=masking_rules.json

[MyService]
type=service
...
filters=MyMasking

masking_rules.json

The rules specify that the data of a column whose name is ssn, should be replaced with the string 012345-ABCD. If the length of the data is not exactly the same as the length of the replacement value, then the data should be replaced with as many X characters as needed.

{
    "rules": [
        {
            "replace": {
                "column": "ssn"
            },
            "with": {
                "value": "012345-ABCD",
                "fill": "X"
            }
        }
    ]
}

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