Monday, September 18, 2017

The Db2 12 for z/OS Blog Series - Part 17: A New Privilege for UNLOAD

Db2 12 for z/OS introduces a new privilege that, when granted, enables a user to be able to unload data using the DB2 IBM UNLOAD utility. In past releases, the SELECT privilege (or other higher level admin privileges) was required to unload data using the UNLOAD utility. But this was less than desirable.

Why? Well, one reason is that it created a potential security gap. Consider the situation where a table has column masks or row permissions. In such as case, a user with SELECT privilege against the table still might not be able to access all of the rows and columns because of the masks/permissions that are defined. However, the same user with the same privilege set could execute the UNLOAD utility and be able to read all of the data in the table. Such as situation is not ideal and would not pass an audit.

To remove this gap IBM has introduced a new privilege, the UNLOAD privilege. After you move to Db2 12 for z/OS, SELECT authority is no longer enough to be able to unload data. In order to unload data the user must be granted the UNLOAD privilege on that table. The UNLOAD privilege can only be granted on a table; it cannot be granted on an auxiliary table or a view. The UNLOAD privilege is required after you have moved to function level V12R1M500 or higher.

Of course, there is a workaround if you still want to allow users with the SELECT privilege to be able to unload using the UNLOAD utility. This requires setting a DSNZPARM named AUTH_COMPATIBILITY to "SELECT_FOR_UNLOAD". The default for this DSNZPARM is NULL, which means that the UNLOAD privilege is required. 

Regardless of the privilege, keep in mind that tables with multilevel security impose restrictions on the output of your UNLOAD jobs. A row will be unloaded only if the security label of the user dominates the security label of the row. So it is possible that an unload may not actually unload every row in the table. If security label of the user does not dominate the security label of the row, the row is not unloaded and DB2 does not issue an error message.

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