MariaDB database server¶
- A Rocky Linux server
- Proficiency with a command-line editor (using vi in this example)
- A heavy comfort level with issuing commands from the command-line, viewing logs, and other general systems administrator duties
- An understanding of mariadb-server databases is helpful
- Run all commands as root or with sudo
The mariadb-server and it is client mariadb are the open source alternatives to mysql-server and mysql, and they share command structure. mariadb-server is running on many web servers, due to the popular Wordpress CMS which requires it. This database, though, has many other uses.
If you want to use this along with other tools for hardening a web server, refer back to the Apache Hardened Web Server guide.
You need to install mariadb-server:
dnf install mariadb-server
To strengthen the security of mariadb-server you need to run a script, but before you do, you need to enable and start mariadb:
systemctl enable mariadb
systemctl start mariadb
Next, run this command:
The version of mariadb-server that comes enabled by default in Rocky Linux 8.5 is 10.3.32. You can install 10.5.13 by enabling the module:
dnf module enable mariadb:10.5
And then installing
mariadb. As of version 10.4.6 of MariaDB, MariaDB specific commands are available that you can use instead of the old
mysql prefixed commands. These include the previously mentioned
mysql_secure_installation which can now be called with the MariaDB version
This brings up a dialog:
NOTE: RUNNING ALL PARTS OF THIS SCRIPT IS RECOMMENDED FOR ALL MariaDB
SERVERS IN PRODUCTION USE! PLEASE READ EACH STEP CAREFULLY!
In order to log into MariaDB to secure it, you will need the current
password for the root user. If you have just installed MariaDB, and
you have not set the root password yet, the password will be blank,
so you should just press enter here.
Enter current password for root (enter for none):
Since this is a brand-new installation, no root password set. Just hit enter here.
The next part of the dialog continues:
OK, successfully used password, moving on...
Setting the root password ensures that nobody can log into the MariaDB
root user without the proper authorisation.
Set root password? [Y/n]
You absolutely do want to have a root password set. You'll want to figure out what this should be and document it in a password manager somewhere so that you can pull it up if necessary. Start by hitting 'Enter' to accept the default "Y". This will bring up the password dialog:
Re-enter new password:
Enter your chosen password and then confirm it by entering it again. If this is successful, you will get the following dialog:
Password updated successfully!
Reloading privilege tables..
Next the dialog deals with the anonymous user:
By default, a MariaDB installation has an anonymous user, allowing anyone
to log into MariaDB without having to have a user account created for
them. This is intended only for testing, and to make the installation
go a bit smoother. You should remove them before moving into a
Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]
The answer here is "Y" so just hit 'Enter' to accept the default.
The dialog proceeds to the section dealing with allowing the root user to login remotely:
Normally, root should only be allowed to connect from 'localhost'. This
ensures that someone cannot guess at the root password from the network.
Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]
root should only be needed locally on the machine. So accept this default as well by hitting 'Enter'.
The dialog then moves on to the 'test' database that is automatically installed with mariadb-server:
By default, MariaDB comes with a database named 'test' that anyone can
access. This is also intended only for testing, and should be removed
before moving into a production environment.
Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]
Again, the answer here is the default, so just hit 'Enter' to remove it.
Finally, the dialog asks you if you want to reload the privileges:
- Dropping test database...
- Removing privileges on test database...
Reloading the privilege tables will ensure that all changes made so far
will take effect immediately.
Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]
Again, hit 'Enter' to do this. If all goes well, you will receive this message:
All done! If you've completed all of the above steps, your MariaDB
installation should now be secure.
Thanks for using MariaDB!
MariaDB will now be ready to use.
Rocky 9.0 changes¶
Rocky Linux 9.0 uses
mariadb-server-10.5.13-2 as the default mariadb-server version. As of version 10.4.3, a new plugin is automatically enabled in the server which changes the
mariadb-secure-installation dialog. That plugin is
unix-socket authentication. This article explains the new feature well. Essentially, using unix-socket authentication uses the logged-in user's credentials to access the database. It makes it so that if the root user, for example, logs in and then uses
mysqladmin to create or delete a database (or any other function) that no password is needed for access. Same works with
mysql. It also means there is no password to compromise remotely. This depends on the security of the users set up on the server for all of the database protection.
The second dialog during the
mariadb-secure-installation after the password is set for the administrative user is:
Switch to unix_socket authentication Y/n
The default here is "Y", but even if you answer "n", with the plugin enabled, a password is not requested for the user, at least not from the command line interface. You can specify either password or no password and they both work:
For more information on this feature, refer to the link above. There is a way to switch off this plugin and go back to having the password as a required field, which is also detailed within that link.
A database server, such as mariadb-server, can be used for many purposes. Because of the popularity of the Wordpress CMS, it is often found on web servers. Before you run the database in production, however, it is a good idea to strengthen its security.
Author: Steven Spencer
Contributors: Ezequiel Bruni, William Perron, Ganna Zhyrnova