Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Plain and clear: Native encryption in DB2

Native encryption in DB2
Built-in data encryption is a newly available DB2 feature as of today (see this updated fixpack summary page for fixpack 5). Here is a short report on how I tried and succeeded in setting it up and encrypting a new DB2 database on my Linux box. What I did is more or less to follow the implementation guide for native database encryption. So let's see how this worked out...

To use native encryption, i.e., encryption built into DB2 you need at least DB2 V10.5 with fixpack 5. The fixpack was released last December. If you are already on that software level, installation is (almost) complete. In most cases you only have to update the environment variable with path information for executables and libraries (PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH on Linux/UNIX). They have to include the "gskit" (Global Security Kit) that is shipped with DB2. Details are in the implementation guide. All I did for the setup was to edit the db2profile (or db2cshrc) file that manages modifications to the shell environment.

I ran into two issues that I could resolve:
  • When trying to call gsk8ver as a small test, linker errors were reported. This was called with another, incompatible gskit installation on my machine that was showing up in the environment before the DB2 variables were set. After removing the other kit, the problem was gone.
  • Even though I have a 64 bit Linux system, I had to set the library path to both the 64 bit and 32 bit libraries.
Once calling "gsk8ver" can be called successfully the system is ready for the actual setup of database encryption. You need a keystore on your machine and tell DB2 how to find it.

[henrik@mymachine]$gsk8capicmd -keydb -create -db db2pwstore.p12 -pw Str0ngPassw0rd -strong -type pkcs12 -stash

The above command creates the mentioned keystore, a "key database", with the name "db2pwstore.p12". The option "strong" causes the tool to check that the requiremnts for a strong password are met. The "stash" tells it to create a so-called stash file which allows to automatically provide the password, e.g., when DB2 starts up.

With the password database in place, DB2 needs to know about it. Else you recieve this error:

[henrik@mymachine]$ db2 create db enc1 encrypt
SQL1728N  The command or operation failed because the keystore could not be accessed. Reason code "1".


There are two new DB2 instance variables  (dbm configuration parameters) for encryption: KEYSTORE_TYPE tells which password type is used, KEYSTORE_LOCATION provides DB2 with the path to the key database we just created. Update the instance variables:

[henrik@mymachine]$ db2 update dbm cfg using keystore_type pkcs12 keystore_location /home/hloeser/db2pwstore.p12

Thereafter be sure to restart DB2 (db2stop / db2start). And finally (see CREATE DATABASE for the new ENCRYPT option):

[henrik@mymachine]$ db2 create db enc1 encrypt
DB20000I  The CREATE DATABASE command completed successfully.
 

[henrik@mymachine]$ db2 connect to enc1

   Database Connection Information

 Database server        = DB2/LINUXX8664 10.5.5
 SQL authorization ID   = HLOESER
 Local database alias   = ENC1


Done. My database is encrypted. Because I am using a stash file (see above) I don't need to provide a password on startup. For environments where a higher degree of security is needed, there are other ways of providing the password. I plan to cover more details in upcoming blog posts. Today's entry should have provided you with a quick introduction into how to set up an encrypted database.

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