Security in MySQL  /  ...  /  Passwords and Logging

2.2.3 Passwords and Logging

Passwords can be written as plain text in SQL statements such as CREATE USER, GRANT and SET PASSWORD. If such statements are logged by the MySQL server as written, passwords in them become visible to anyone with access to the logs.

Statement logging avoids writing passwords as cleartext for the following statements:


Passwords in those statements are rewritten to not appear literally in statement text written to the general query log, slow query log, and binary log. Rewriting does not apply to other statements. In particular, INSERT or UPDATE statements for the mysql.user system table that refer to literal passwords are logged as is, so you should avoid such statements. (Direct modification of grant tables is discouraged, anyway.)

For the general query log, password rewriting can be suppressed by starting the server with the --log-raw option. For security reasons, this option is not recommended for production use. For diagnostic purposes, it may be useful to see the exact text of statements as received by the server.

By default, contents of audit log files produced by the audit log plugin are not encrypted and may contain sensitive information, such as the text of SQL statements. For security reasons, audit log files should be written to a directory accessible only to the MySQL server and to users with a legitimate reason to view the log. See Section 6.5.3, “MySQL Enterprise Audit Security Considerations”.

Statements received by the server may be rewritten if a query rewrite plugin is installed (see Query Rewrite Plugins). In this case, the --log-raw option affects statement logging as follows:

  • Without --log-raw, the server logs the statement returned by the query rewrite plugin. This may differ from the statement as received.

  • With --log-raw, the server logs the original statement as received.

An implication of password rewriting is that statements that cannot be parsed (due, for example, to syntax errors) are not written to the general query log because they cannot be known to be password free. Use cases that require logging of all statements including those with errors should use the --log-raw option, bearing in mind that this also bypasses password rewriting.

Password rewriting occurs only when plain text passwords are expected. For statements with syntax that expect a password hash value, no rewriting occurs. If a plain text password is supplied erroneously for such syntax, the password is logged as given, without rewriting.

To guard log files against unwarranted exposure, locate them in a directory that restricts access to the server and the database administrator. If the server logs to tables in the mysql database, grant access to those tables only to the database administrator.

Replicas store the password for the replication source server in their connection metadata repository, which by default is a table in the mysql database named slave_master_info. The use of a file in the data directory for the connection metadata repository is now deprecated, but still possible (see Relay Log and Replication Metadata Repositories). Ensure that the connection metadata repository can be accessed only by the database administrator. An alternative to storing the password in the connection metadata repository is to use the START REPLICA (or before MySQL 8.0.22, START SLAVE) or START GROUP_REPLICATION statement to specify credentials for connecting to the source.

Use a restricted access mode to protect database backups that include log tables or log files containing passwords.