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MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Administrator Guidelines for Password Security

6.1.2.2 Administrator Guidelines for Password Security

Database administrators should use the following guidelines to keep passwords secure.

MySQL stores passwords for user accounts in the mysql.user system table. Access to this table should never be granted to any nonadministrative accounts.

A user who has access to modify the plugin directory (the value of the plugin_dir system variable) or the my.cnf file that specifies the plugin directory location can replace plugins and modify the capabilities provided by plugins, including authentication plugins.

Files such as log files to which passwords might be written should be protected. See Section 6.1.2.3, “Passwords and Logging”.