Mon, May
3 New Articles

Partner TechTip: Group Profiles: Inheriting More Than You Bargained For

Security - Other
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Inherited authorities can be a hidden vulnerability if not carefully controlled.


Everyone loves an inheritance! Imagine the excitement of discovering that a long-lost uncle has left you a fortune. Or perhaps the recent Royal Wedding has you wondering where you are in the line of succession for the throne of England! While these possibilities are a long shot for most of us, you can inherit power on IBM i using the age-old IBM i facility called "group profiles."


Basically, a group profile links users with similar security requirements. It allows a security officer to quickly define object authorities that automatically apply to all group members.

Creating a Group Profile

A group profile starts as a regular user profile, created with the CRTUSRPRF command. The promotion to group status comes when another user profile (the member) references the group profile. Having one or more member profiles pointing to a group profile makes it a group. (To simplify things, a group profile can't be a member of another group.)


A user can be a member of 16 groups—one primary group and up to 15 supplemental groups. Typically, you don't want a profile to be in more than a few groups. It just complicates things when you need to determine the order in which to list the groups.

Benefits of Group Profiles

The biggest benefit comes from increased efficiency. Defining the authority of a group to an object also defines the authority of each group member. You don't have to authorize each group member individually. And, if people join or leave a role, you just add or remove them from the group.


You can assign authority to an object based on the group, and you can override that authority by defining authority for individual members. IBM i checks an individual's authority before checking the group authorities. If you define a private authority for user, the user gets that level of access and the group's authority is not checked. If the user has no individual authority specified, IBM i checks the group authority. If the user is in multiple groups, the authorities of each group are consolidated. For example, if Group 1 has *EXCLUDE authority and Group 2 has *USE, the user's authority is *USE.


You also can specify whether the member's primary group profile should own new objects. This allows other members of the group equal access to the objects. Alternatively, individuals can own the objects they create and define the amount of private authority for other group members.

Follow the Chain of Inheritance

One important thing to remember about group profiles is that a group's special authorities are inherited automatically by all group members. This is in addition to a member's own special authorities. So, if a member profile has *SECADM authority, and one of its group profiles has *ALLOBJ and another has *JOBCTL, that member effectively operates with *ALLOBJ, *SECADM, and *JOBCTL authorities. This inheritance extends to all groups a member belongs to. While this can be beneficial, it also can have serious implications to the capabilities of the members. For example, it's possible for members to grant themselves authority to a restricted file by using the group's *ALLOBJ authority.


Documenting this "chain of inheritance" is a challenge. Audits can miss that a seemingly benign user is actually running with powerful inherited authorities, like *ALLOBJ. The operating system offers only rudimentary reports to display the relationship between a user profile and its associated group profiles.


PowerTech Compliance Monitor eliminates the time and effort needed to determine a user's true power (see Figure 1). Predefined reports identify powerful users—and indicate whether special authorities are inherited from a group. Flexible report filters allow you to define additional criteria, such as command line access or whether the profile hasn't been used recently. Plus, Compliance Monitor can report this information across all your systems and partitions with a single request.



Figure 1: PowerTech Compliance Monitor reports allow you to customize, filter, and export data to satisfy compliance requirements. (Click image to enlarge.)


Group profiles simplify authorizing users to objects and make your security infrastructure more efficient. Compliance Monitor helps ensure that those groups provide the member profiles with appropriate inherited authorities.


For more information on Compliance Monitor, or any of PowerTech's line of security solutions, visit www.powertech.com.

as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7, V6R1

Robin Tatam

Robin Tatam is the Director of Security Technologies for PowerTech, a leading provider of security solutions for the System i. As a frequent speaker on security topics, he was also co-author of the Redbook IBM System i Security: Protecting i5/OS Data with Encryption. Robin can be reached at 952.563.2768 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: