Friday, 17 June 2011

Security enhancement in Firebird 2.5: reading password from the file

All command-line utilities which support -password parameter are
vulnerable to password sniffing, especially when they're run from
scripts. Since 2.1, all Firebird utilities replace argv[PASSWORD]
with *, but better solution for hiding password from others in
process list should be reading it from file or asking for it on

Security issue.

Document author:
Alex Peshkov (

Document date: 2008-11-30

All utilities have new switch
which may be abbreviated according with utility rules.
The exception is QLI, where -F should be used.

Switch has required parameter - name of file with password. I.e.:
isql -user sysdba -fet passfile server:employee
will load password form file "passfile", using its first line
as password.

One can specify "stdin" as file name to make password be read
from stdin. If stdin is terminal, prompt:
Enter password:
will be printed.

For posix users - if you specify '-fetch /dev/tty' you will also
be promted. This may be useful if you need to restore from stdin:
bunzip2 -c emp.fbk.bz2 | gbak -c stdin /db/new.fdb -user sysdba -fetch /dev/tty


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IBSurgeon was established in 2002, 10 years we recover databases and save Firebird/InterBase data.