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Security Patrol

IBM i (OS/400, i5/OS)
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Output Queue Security

Question: I have users who place spool files into an out queue via a program. Once the spool files are in the out queue, I do not want users to have the ability to delete or move the spool file from that out queue. Is there any way to accomplish this using security features on the out queue or otherwise?

Answer: That depends on whether the user is the owner of the spool file in question. Let me state unequivocally that users will always have complete authority over any spool files that they own. If users are able to view the spool file through the Work with Output Queue (WRKOUTQ) command or the Operations Navigator interface, they will always be able to modify or delete the spool files they own.

I have done extensive research on this topic. Specifically, I was trying to prevent a user from deleting the audit trail that DFU or other database file editors generate whenever production data is changed by a user. I came to the conclusion that users will always have authority to delete a spool file that they own. You just can’t stop that authority. I was able to significantly hinder deletion to the point that I was reasonably sure it wasn’t happening, but I could not completely guarantee that I’d stopped it. If a user does not own the spool file, there are effective means of securing the spool file from manipulation. If the user does own the spool file in question, he will always have authority to delete it. If you try to hide a spool file from the user, he may find a way around your obfuscations anyway.

The essence of the solution is to change the ownership of the spool file to someone other than the user in question. One simple way to accomplish this is to use the profile- swapping APIs to make the job run under another user’s authority before the action that creates the spool file is performed. This way the profile that owns the spool file is different from that of the original user.

Simply put, if user Tim is about to execute the DFU command and you want to be sure that Tim does not delete his audit trail report when he alters the data, you could build a new front-end process to DFU’s Update Data (UPDDTA) command that would swap Tim to run under the authority of a new profile called ZSECOFR. While the UPDDTA command is executing, any spool files created by that job would be owned by user profile ZSECOFR, not by Tim. When the UPDDTA command is completed, the job would revert to running under the authority of Tim.


Of course, you would also want to take steps to ensure that profile ZSECOFR could get the appropriate authority to handle the change being requested. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. The way I would choose to do this is have the program that Tim can call adopt *ALLOBJ authority, but before the program would actually permit access to any given file, the program would authenticate Tim’s authority to that file via the Check Object (CHKOBJ) command. Figure 1 shows an example of how this might be accomplished. Note that the code in Figure 1 uses the Swap User Profile (SWPUSRPRF) command, which was featured in the January 2001 “Security Patrol” column.

Keeping a User from *PUBLIC Authority

Question: I need to create a user profile that doesn’t expire and has access only to a library called WEBLIB. On our system, we have a daily process that involves Microsoft SQL Server 7 connecting to the AS/400 and transferring data up to the AS/400. The live data remains on the AS/400. I want to create a user called WEBLIB and lock that user down so that the user can only use this ODBC connection to see the WEBLIB library.

Right now, user WEBLIB can FTP any file from the AS/400 to its machine and open the file with Notepad. (I haven’t tried deleting live data yet—yikes!) I need help locking down user WEBLIB. What must I do?

Answer: The problem you are facing is a common one for AS/400 shops. Most objects allow *PUBLIC to have direct read or change. It is somewhat difficult to secure any user profile from everything on the system, because every user is a member of *PUBLIC and, therefore, has access to everything that *PUBLIC has access to. Years ago, some colleagues and I asked IBM Rochester for a “No *PUBLIC” bit in the user profile that would allow us to create a user profile that was not allowed to receive its authority from *PUBLIC. I understand that Rochester took a hard look at that request, but the request never made it into any OS/400 release plan.

In the meantime, when I have to secure against *PUBLIC authority, I use one of two methods.

Users with One or More Group Profiles

If all of your users belong to one or more group profiles. Choose this first method:

1. Create a network access user profile called WEBLIB.

2. Change the authority on every library so that the group profiles have the same authority to the library as *PUBLIC. (If *PUBLIC has *USE, give the groups *USE. If *PUBLIC has *CHANGE, give the groups *CHANGE.)

3. Revoke *PUBLIC’s authority to every user library. As a general rule, I would not recommend that a novice security officer modify the IBM libraries. The modification can be done, and there are a lot of smart folks who can work through the process with you. It would be unwise to just jump in and start ripping authorities off of the IBM objects unless you understand what those objects do.

4. Grant WEBLIB-specific authority (*USE or *CHANGE) to the specific objects that you want the users to have access to.


5. Use exit programs to regulate access to the data. My exit programs allow valid users to sign on using FTP or ODBC, but as soon as they do sign on, I perform a profile swap and cause the users to run under the authority of WEBLIB. This way, no matter which data access methods users try to use, the WEBLIB profile will only get access to a restricted set of data (the data authorized to WEBLIB in Step 4).

6. Change the System Value Create Default Public Authority (QCRTAUT) to *EXCLUDE so that all new objects are created with *PUBLIC=*EXCLUDE.

7. Change the Create Authority (CRTAUT) parameter on library QSYS back to *CHANGE so that you don’t have problems with virtual devices that are created and deleted on the fly. (Actually, you can get around this by using authority lists. But, for the sake of explanation, I’m trying to keep it short.)

A benefit of this design over letting multiple users sign on with a generic WEBLIB profile is that you can tell who the original user is yet still restrict that user to only the libraries and objects that WEBLIB has authority to. There also is no need to change any of the user’s regular green-screen authorities; those authorities will work as they have always worked.

Users without Group Profiles

If you don’t use group profiles, then the steps are a little different and more long-term diligence is called for. Without group profiles, I would recommend you do the following:

1. Complete Step 1 from above.

2. Grant WEBLIB *EXCLUDE authority to every library on the system that you want to keep users out of. (No need to exclude users from each object, because if they don’t have *USE authority to a library, they will never be able to see any of the objects in that library.) As a general rule, you don’t have to do any of these steps with IBM libraries (libraries that start with a Q), because IBM has done a good job of securing those libraries, at least in post-V3R7 versions of OS/400.

3. Skip Step 3 from above.

4. Complete Step 4 from above.

5. Complete Step 5 from above.

6. Skip Step 6 from above.

7. In the No Group Profiles option, you’re going to have to police new libraries that are created and remember to *EXCLUDE WEBLIB from them. This will be a manual (and, therefore, error-prone) process. In the meantime, you can plot how to create working group profile for all of your users.

REFERENCES AND RELATED MATERIALS

• OS/400 Security—Reference V4R4 (SC41-5302-03, CD-ROM QB3ALC03)
• “Security Patrol: Watching QSECOFR,” MC, January 2001


PGM PARM(&LIBNAME &FILENAME)

DCL VAR(&FILENAME) TYPE(*CHAR) LEN(10)

DCL VAR(&LIBNAME) TYPE(*CHAR) LEN(10)
/****************************************************************/

/* GLOBAL MESSAGE MONITOR DECLARATIONS */
/****************************************************************/

DCL VAR(&LOOPCHECK) TYPE(*LGL) VALUE('0')

DCL VAR(&MSGDTA) TYPE(*CHAR) LEN(132)

DCL VAR(&MSGID) TYPE(*CHAR) LEN(7)

DCL VAR(&MSGF) TYPE(*CHAR) LEN(10)

DCL VAR(&MSGFLIB) TYPE(*CHAR) LEN(10)

/****************************************************************/

/* GLOBAL MESSAGE MONITOR */
/****************************************************************/

MONMSG MSGID(CPF0000) EXEC(GOTO CMDLBL(ESCAPE))

CheckAut:

CHKOBJ OBJ(&LIBNAME/&FILENAME) OBJTYPE(*FILE) +

AUT(*CHANGE)

/* Swap authority to ZSECOFR */

CALL SWPUSRPRF

/* Update File Name */

UPDDTA FILE(&LIBNAME/&FILENAME)

/* Swap authority back to original user */

CALL SWPUSRPRF

RETURN

Escape:

/****************************************************************/

/* ERROR TRAPPING ROUTINE FOR UNMONITORED MESSAGES */
/*--------------------------------------------------------------*/

/****************************************************************/

IF COND(&LOOPCHECK = '1') THEN(DO)

RETURN

ENDDO

CHGVAR &LoopCheck '1'

Diag: RCVMSG MSGTYPE(*DIAG) MSGDTA(&MSGDTA) MSGID(&MSGID) +

MSGF(&MSGF) MSGFLIB(&MSGFLIB)

IF COND(&MSGID *NE ' ') THEN(DO)

SNDPGMMSG MSGID(&MSGID) MSGF(&MSGFLIB/&MSGF) +

MSGDTA(&MSGDTA) TOPGMQ(*PRV) MSGTYPE(*DIAG)

GOTO CMDLBL(DIAG)

ENDDO

RCVMSG MSGTYPE(*EXCP) MSGDTA(&MSGDTA) MSGID(&MSGID) +

MSGF(&MSGF) MSGFLIB(&MSGFLIB)

SNDPGMMSG MSGID(&MSGID) MSGF(&MSGFLIB/&MSGF) +

MSGDTA(&MSGDTA) TOPGMQ(*PRV) MSGTYPE(*ESCAPE)

Exit:
ENDPGM

Figure 1: Use this code to secure spool files.


John Earl

John Earl is the founder and Director of Technology and Security for  The PowerTech Group.  a Seattle-area software company that specializes in System i security. He has over 25 years experience with IBM midrange systems and security, has published numerous articles and columns for industry magazines, and served as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Security for COMMON. A highly regarded speaker on OS/400 and i5/OS security, Mr. Earl has presented several hundred of iSeries security sessions at industry conferences and user groups all over the world. He is a three-time winner of COMMON's Speaker Excellence award and has also served on the board of directors of COMMON U.S.

 

He can be reached at 253.872.7788 or at john.earl@powertech.com.

 

 

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    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave 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.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine 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:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. 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:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot 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:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.