Firebird Database Password – Education Career Blog

I really want to know, how to secure a firebird database from being opened by any user but from the application it self. If I distribute a desktop application with a single file Firebird database (not embedded), how to protect the database from being copied to another machine running Firebird with known sysdba password?

I have searched the question related with this subject, and only find this: Finding a legacy firebird/Interbase database password

If the answer in that post was true, how to use desktop application with firebird database and forbid any user to open it using another machine? Or should I use other database like mySQL or PostgreSQL?

PS: I use Delphi 2006 to develop the GUI.

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You are missing the point when thinking about the password to the Firebird database – the server is open source, so there’s no way to do what you want. The user can simply recompile the server with password checking commented out.

Basically there’s only two things you could do:

  • Write your own modifications to the Firebird server, so that it writes a database file that is incompatible with all other servers. It doesn’t matter then that people can transfer the database to another machine, as the standard server executables won’t be able to access the data in the database.

  • Write only encrypted data to the file, so that it doesn’t matter that access to the database is possible.

Both are of course not fool-proof either, as a determined cracker can simply use your own application to get at the data. Having permission to attach a debugger to the running process can be enough to halt execution of your application at any point in time and to examine the (decrypted) data in RAM. See also the SO question “How can I increase memory security in Delphi?”, especially this answer, for more information on this topic.

BTW: this is something that can be done whatever database engine you choose, to answer the last part of your question.

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how to use desktop application with firebird database and forbid any user to open it using another machine

If you mean that user has both the enrypted data and the key, you are doing DRM. The definitive answer is: you can’t. You can slow down the user by hiding the key with different methods, but you can’t stop them.

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You don’t.

This is more or less the same problem as Pidgin has in http://developer.pidgin.im/wiki/PlainTextPasswords, except that’s protecting it from some users and not others, rather than your application and not any end users.

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