MongoDB Security Best Practices

Introduction

When you’re getting started with MongoDB, you don’t always stop to think about certain challenges you may encounter along the way. One important area of concern is security– identifying potential loopholes and knowing how to shield your database from threats should be one of your top priorities. Fortunately, there are a number of best practices that you can implement to safeguard your MongoDB database. In this article, we’ll look at some MongoDB security best practices that can help you keep your database and applications safe and secure.

MongoDB Security Best Practices

The following tips can be used to secure your MongoDB database:

  • Be sure to enable authentication: It’s always a good idea to enable authentication, and it’s one of the quickest ways to safeguard your database. It can be surprising how such a simple security move can secure your system and possibly save your company millions of dollars by preventing a data breach.

It only takes a simple line of code to enable authentication in MongoDB. Just add the following line to mongod.conf:

Security:
Authentication: on
  • Step up your password game: This tip may seem a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised how many threats could be defeated by using more complex passwords. Remember that MongoDB doesn’t offer any type of lockout functionality to halt would-be hackers who try multiple unsuccessful passwords. To minimize your risk, abolish the use of any basic passwords like “123456” or “123ABC”– these easy-to-crack passwords make it way too simple for malicious users to compromise your data.

  • Create roles for users: In MongoDB, access control is not enabled by default; however, it’s easy to enable it. Simply add -auth to your command when you start up the Mongo shell. Even when you use authentication, it’s important to consider the level of access you grant each user; after all, you don’t want everyone to have administrative privileges. Creating roles is an easy way to define different levels of access that can be assigned on a user-by-user basis. Authorizing users with roles is a simple way to avoid breaches that could have disastrous results for your organization.

  • Use a replication keyfile: When you enable a replication keyfile, authentication is automatically turned on in MongoDB. One useful aspect of this feature is that it limits hosts that can join a replica set to the ones that have the keyfile installed. A replication keyfile also helps to ensure that data is being encrypted. It’s easy to implement this security strategy: Just generate a replication keyfile and copy it to all members of the replica set, then start up your replica set.

  • Skip the default ports: You know those default ports used by MongoDB? A couple of examples are 27017 and 27018. Don’t use them. When a hacker is getting ready to attack, they usually zero in on standard or default port numbers. Changing port numbers is as simple as modifying a line in mongod.conf, but it can have a big impact on security.

  • Perform regular audits: Make a point of auditing your system on a regular basis. You can look for possible breaches and evaluate user accounts to see if any have elevated privileges. Sometimes users are temporarily granted elevated privileges as part of testing, but it’s important to revoke those privileges once the testing is complete.

  • Test your system for security vulnerabilities: The best way to thwart a hacker is to think like one. Try testing your database system for potential issues from the outside. You can use SQL injection or penetration testing to see if you can make your way into the system. These tests can help confirm that no part of your database is exposed.

Conclusion

Basic security practices are a key component of good MongoDB administration. Without these best practices in place, your database and applications are left vulnerable to threats that could cause serious damage to your business. Using the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you’ll be well-prepared to keep your MongoDB database applications safe and secure at all times.

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