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Security in MySQL  /  Security Components and Plugins  /  The Password Validation Component

6.3 The Password Validation Component

The validate_password component serves to improve security by requiring account passwords and enabling strength testing of potential passwords. This component exposes system variables that enable you to configure password policy, and status variables for component monitoring.

Note

In MySQL 8.0, the validate_password plugin was reimplemented as the validate_password component. (For general information about server components, see MySQL Server Components.) The following instructions describe how to use the component, not the plugin. For instructions on using the plugin form of validate_password, see The Password Validation Plugin in MySQL 5.7 Reference Manual.

The plugin form of validate_password is still available but is deprecated and will be removed in a future version of MySQL. MySQL installations that use the plugin should make the transition to using the component instead. See Section 6.3.3, “Transitioning to the Password Validation Component”.

The validate_password component implements these capabilities:

  • For SQL statements that assign a password supplied as a cleartext value, validate_password checks the password against the current password policy and rejects the password if it is weak (the statement returns an ER_NOT_VALID_PASSWORD error). This applies to the ALTER USER, CREATE USER, and SET PASSWORD statements.

  • For CREATE USER statements, validate_password requires that a password be given, and that it satisfies the password policy. This is true even if an account is locked initially because otherwise unlocking the account later would cause it to become accessible without a password that satisfies the policy.

  • validate_password implements a VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH() SQL function that assesses the strength of potential passwords. This function takes a password argument and returns an integer from 0 (weak) to 100 (strong).

Note

For statements that assign or modify account passwords (ALTER USER, CREATE USER, and SET PASSWORD), the validate_password capabilities described here apply only to accounts that use an authentication plugin that stores credentials internally to MySQL. For accounts that use plugins that perform authentication against a credentials system external to MySQL, password management must be handled externally against that system as well. For more information about internal credentials storage, see Section 4.15, “Password Management”.

The preceding restriction does not apply to use of the VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH() function because it does not affect accounts directly.

Examples:

  • validate_password checks the cleartext password in the following statement. Under the default password policy, which requires passwords to be at least 8 characters long, the password is weak and the statement produces an error:

    mysql> ALTER USER USER() IDENTIFIED BY 'abc';
    ERROR 1819 (HY000): Your password does not satisfy the current
    policy requirements
  • Passwords specified as hashed values are not checked because the original password value is not available for checking:

    mysql> ALTER USER 'jeffrey'@'localhost'
           IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password
           AS '*0D3CED9BEC10A777AEC23CCC353A8C08A633045E';
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)
  • This account-creation statement fails, even though the account is locked initially, because it does not include a password that satisfies the current password policy:

    mysql> CREATE USER 'juanita'@'localhost' ACCOUNT LOCK;
    ERROR 1819 (HY000): Your password does not satisfy the current
    policy requirements
  • To check a password, use the VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH() function:

    mysql> SELECT VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH('weak');
    +------------------------------------+
    | VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH('weak') |
    +------------------------------------+
    |                                 25 |
    +------------------------------------+
    mysql> SELECT VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH('lessweak$_@123');
    +----------------------------------------------+
    | VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH('lessweak$_@123') |
    +----------------------------------------------+
    |                                           50 |
    +----------------------------------------------+
    mysql> SELECT VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH('N0Tweak$_@123!');
    +----------------------------------------------+
    | VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH('N0Tweak$_@123!') |
    +----------------------------------------------+
    |                                          100 |
    +----------------------------------------------+

To configure password checking, modify the system variables having names of the form validate_password.xxx; these are the parameters that control password policy. See Section 6.3.2, “Password Validation Options and Variables”.

If validate_password is not installed, the validate_password.xxx system variables are not available, passwords in statements are not checked, and the VALIDATE_PASSWORD_STRENGTH() function always returns 0. For example, without the plugin installed, accounts can be assigned passwords shorter than 8 characters, or no password at all.

Assuming that validate_password is installed, it implements three levels of password checking: LOW, MEDIUM, and STRONG. The default is MEDIUM; to change this, modify the value of validate_password.policy. The policies implement increasingly strict password tests. The following descriptions refer to default parameter values, which can be modified by changing the appropriate system variables.

In addition, validate_password supports the capability of rejecting passwords that match the user name part of the effective user account for the current session, either forward or in reverse. To provide control over this capability, validate_password exposes a validate_password.check_user_name system variable, which is enabled by default.