MySQL, an open source tool that can be used to implement a relational database management system (RDBMS), is becoming increasingly popular for data centers. Since MySQL uses Structured Query Language (SQL) as its base and is compatible with all major operating systems, there are many advantages to using MySQL.

Most data centers today rely on at least a few MySQL servers, including many databases hosted in the cloud. But the ubiquity of MySQL means that MySQL databases are at risk for a breach. When installing and configuring a MySQL server, you need to address security concerns.

Fortunately, it is possible to implement security measures in MySQL with a single command. Here’s a one-step guide to hardening your MySQL security.

First Things First: Know Your Security Risk

There are several security vulnerabilities associated with MySQL databases, namely:

  • By default, the MySQL Server package installs a test database. Since all users have access to the test database, it is a common vector for attack.
  • MySQL creates a MySQL history file, including information about installation and configuration. It is possible for this history file to provide access to critical users’ passwords and account information.
  • The default settings of MySQL create anonymous accounts. These accounts serve no practical purpose and provide an avenue of attack.
  • MySQL runs on port 3306 by default. Attackers will initially attempt to exploit this.
  • Remote access is enabled by default, which poses significant risk.
  • The SHOW DATABASES command can provide remote threat actors with information about your databases. This command can be limited or removed entirely with proper configuration.
  • When the root user runs MySQL, there is an additional risk if a threat actor gains access to the root account. It is more secure—and better for auditing purposes—to run MySQL on separate user accounts with designated privileges. The root account itself should be changed to a name that is difficult for threat actors to guess.

This is only a partial list of the security risks associated with MySQL Server when it is first configured.

Hardening Security: Use This One Command

When first installing MySQL Server, you should input a single command:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

This command will prompt you to take many steps that harden up your security:

  • Update MySQL Server’s password plugin.
  • Set a new password for the root account.
  • Remove root accounts that are easily accessible remotely.
  • Automatically eliminate anonymous-user accounts.
  • Delete the test database.
  • Remove the ability of all users to access databases that begin with “test_”.

While the command doesn’t address all vulnerabilities associated with MySQL Server, it can help you get a head start on removing many of the default settings that create an easy way for threat actors to access your MySQL databases.

Although it is possible to harden MySQL security with a single command, it still can be a difficult and time-consuming process. For expert help in configuring your MySQL databases for maximum security, consult with Ntirety. Our MySQL experts provide a range of database consulting services that enable a safe implementation process.