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pgagroal security

Pass-through security

pgagroal use pass-through security by default.

This means that pgagroal delegates to PostgreSQL to determine if the credentials used are valid.

Once a connection is obtained pgagroal will replay the previous communication sequence to verify the new client. This only works for connections using trust, password or md5 authentication methods, so scram-sha-256 based connections are not cached.

Note, that this can lead to replay attacks against the md5 based connections since the hash doesn't change. Make sure that pgagroal is deployed on a private trusted network, but consider using either a user vault or authentication query instead.

User vault

A user vault is a vault which defines the known users and their password.

The vault is static, and is managed through the pgagroal-admin tool.

The user vault is specified using the -u or --users command line parameter.

Frontend users

The -F or --frontend command line parameter allows users to be defined for the client to pgagroal authentication. This allows the setup to use different passwords for the pgagroal to PostgreSQL authentication.

All users defined in the frontend authentication must be defined in the user vault (-u).

Frontend users (-F) requires a user vault (-u) to be defined.

Authentication query

Authentication query will use the below defined function to query the database for the user password
CREATE FUNCTION public.pgagroal_get_password(
  IN  p_user     name,
  OUT p_password text
) RETURNS text
LANGUAGE sql SECURITY DEFINER SET search_path = pg_catalog AS
$$SELECT passwd FROM pg_shadow WHERE usename = p_user$$;

This function needs to be installed in each database.

The function requires a user that is able to execute it, like

-- Create a role used for the authentication query
-- Set the password
\password pgagroal

-- Only allow access to "pgagroal"
REVOKE EXECUTE ON FUNCTION public.pgagroal_get_password(name) FROM PUBLIC;
GRANT EXECUTE ON FUNCTION public.pgagroal_get_password(name) TO pgagroal;

Make sure that the user is different from the actual application users accessing the database. The user accessing the function needs to have its credential present in the vault passed to the -S or --superuser command line parameter.

The user executing the authentication query must use either a MD5 or a SCRAM-SHA-256 password protected based account.

Note, that authentication query doesn't support user vaults - user vault (-u) and frontend users (-F) - as well as limits (-l).