Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

Top 10 System i security Q&As

Carol Woodbury, System i security expert, has been answering Search400.com's member questions for more than five years. iSeries users have asked Carol the same questions again and again. In an effort to save you time, we've compiled the top 10 questions asked about iSeries/i5 security for you.

Carol Woodbury, System i security expert

Carol Woodbury, System i security expert, has been answering Search400.com's member questions for more than five years. iSeries users have asked Carol the same questions again and again. In an effort to save you time, we've compiled the top 10 questions asked about iSeries/i5 security for you. Do you have a question that's not listed here? Ask Carol your security questions.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
   1. When auditing is active
   2. Getting your system to security level 40
   3. Block an *ALLOBJ user from running a specific command
   4. Blocking an *ALLOBJ user by giving the special authority to their group
   5. The authority required to run a specific command
   6. Exit programs and security requirements
   7. Give operators access without giving them *ALLOBJ special authority
   8. Create a read-only profile
   9. The CHGUSRPRF command doesn't take affect right away
   10. Password doesn't have to meet the system value (QPWD*) settings

1. When auditing is active Return to Table of Contents

Auditing is only active at security level 40 and 50, right?

No, auditing is active at all security levels. In fact, you want to have auditing turned on to make sure it's safe to move your system to security level 40 or 50.

2. Getting your system to security level 40 Return to Table of Contents

How do I move my system to security level 40?

To safely know if you can move your system to security level 40, you need to turn on two types of auditing. To do this, specify *AUTFAIL and *SECURITY in the QAUDLVL system value. Then, you will need to examine the audit journal to determine whether any violations that would prevent you from moving the system to QSECURITY level 40 have occurred. Details on the exact audit journal entries to look for can be found in Chapter 2 of the iSeries Security Reference manual or in my book, Experts' Guide to OS/400 and i5/OS Security, available from Amazon.com.

3. Block an *ALLOBJ user from running a specific command Return to Table of Contents

Can I block an *ALLOBJ user from running the (insert your favorite command name here) command?

Regardless of the command or API being run, once you give a user *ALLOBJ special authority they can do whatever they want on the system. If even the task requires additional special authorities, all the person has to do is submit the command to run under a profile that has the authority.

4. Blocking an *ALLOBJ user by giving the special authority to their group Return to Table of Contents

Can't I block an *ALLOBJ user by giving the special authority to their group rather than to the profile itself?

Some people try giving users *ALLOBJ at the group level and blocking individual interfaces at the user level. This effort is fruitless as there are far too many interfaces to attempt to block -- it is a surety that you will miss one. And new interfaces are added each release. So with this approach, you will have to find and consider all new commands and APIs to determine whether or not they should be allowed to run by your *ALLOBJ users. In addition, you have to find all instances of the commands. Many commands exist in more than one library.

5. The authority required to run a specific command Return to Table of Contents

What authority or special authority is required to run the (insert your favorite command here) command?

The object authorities and any special authorities required to run all CL commands are documented in Appendix D of the iSeries Security Reference manual. The authorities required to run APIs are documented in the individual API documentation, available at the IBM Information Center. In the left navigational bar, choose Programming->APIs then search for the API you are attempting to use.

6. Exit programs and security requirements Return to Table of Contents

Are exit programs required to secure your system?

No, they are not. What is required is object level security. Unlike attempting to use exit programs to secure your system, object authority is in effect no matter what interface is being used. Exit programs do not provide a complete solution for securing your system or your data. For example, exit programs don't exist to allow to you secure accesses of objects (e.g., files) through sockets or a Web program. Nor are they available when users such as programmers, operators, DBAs, etc access objects through a command line. Exit programs are good for logging network activity such as FTP and ODBC or as an additional layer on top of object security. But they are not a substitute for object security.

7. Give operators access without giving them *ALLOBJ special authority Return to Table of Contents

How do I give operators or help desk personnel the ability to perform tasks without having to give them *ALLOBJ special authority?

Sometimes the OS/400 helps you out and provides these capabilities for you. For example, one of my favorite utilities is Application Administration, available through iSeries Navigator. One of the things it lets you do is to allow specific users with *JOBCTL special authority to be able to read the joblog of an *ALLOBJ user. To do that, open iSeries Navigator, right-click on the system name, choose Application Administration (at this point it may need to download code to your PC if you've never done this before) then click on the Host Applications tab, open the Operating System/400 tree, open the All object tree click on Access job log of *ALLOBJ user and click the "Customize" button in the lower right hand corner. Here you can choose the users you want to see the *ALLOBJ user joblogs. (For those of you that prefer a green screen interface, this function is available by using the Work with Function Usage (WRKFCNUSG) command, available in V5R3.)

If OS/400 doesn't provide the function you're looking for, I suggest that you write a program that performs the task and adopts its owner's authority (that is, set the User profile attribute of the program to be *OWNER.) Make the program owner be a profile that has sufficient authority and/or the special authorities required to perform the task. For example, I often see this approach used to enable helpdesk personnel or operators to be able to reset user profiles. By calling a program that adopts, they can perform the function but you can avoid giving them authority to all profiles or *SECADM special authority.

8. Create a read-only profile Return to Table of Contents

How do I create a read-only profile?

You'll find all of the information you're looking for in this "Read-only" tip that I wrote a short while back.

9. The CHGUSRPRF command doesn't take affect right away Return to Table of Contents

When I change a user's group (using the Change User Profile – CHGUSRPRF command) the change doesn't seem to take affect right away. Why not?

When a user signs on their special authorities, group profile(s), and limited capability setting are made part of the user's job attributes. Therefore, to have the change take affect, the user must sign off and sign back on again.

10. Password doesn't have to meet the system value (QPWD*) settings Return to Table of Contents

When an administrator changes a user's password, it doesn't have to meet the system value (QPWD*) settings for password rules. Why not?

The system values that enforce password rules (how short they can be, how often they must be changed, etc) are only checked when going through the Change Password (CHGPWD) command or the change password API. They are not checked when setting the original password through Create User Profile (CRTUSRPRF) or when changing the password through Change User Profile (CHGUSRPRF). This is to facilitate administrators setting the password to an "easy" password. Administrators will use this feature when a user forgets their password, disables their profile and calls in for help. The administrator enables the profile, sets the password to something easy for the user to type in and requires the password to be changed when the user signs on. When the user changes their password, the password system values are checked.

---------------------------
About the Carol Woodbury:
Carol is co-founder of SkyView Partners Inc, a firm specializing in policy and compliance management software, including SkyView's newest product, Policy Minder for OS/400 and i5/OS, as well as security consulting and remediation services. Carol has more than 15 years in the security industry, 10 of those working for IBM's Enterprise Server Group as the AS/400 Security Architect and Chief Engineering Manager of Security Technology. Carol's second book, Experts' Guide to OS/400 and i5/OS Security, is available at Amazon.com.

This was last published in July 2006

Dig Deeper on iSeries security planning

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchDataCenter

Close