Miscellaneous

Preparing your Community Connector for MySQL 8 – part 1 – SHA256

As some of you are by now aware we have shipped MySQL version 8.0.4 and with it delivered a change to the default authentication plugin that is used by the server when new users are created and is announced by the server to the client.  This was done to further tighten the security of MySQL.  Please refer to this article for a good explanation of this new authentication plugin and why it is important.

If you are an application user or application developer and you want to use MySQL 8.0.3 or 8.0.4 and make use of this new authentication plugin then you need to make sure that connector you use supports it.  As this is a new plugin, support for it in community connectors is still being developed.  I would encourage you to reach out to the communities that create the connector you use and let them  know you need this support.

This article (and the one coming after it) is for the connector developers.  There are two types of connectors out there.  The first type uses the libmysqlclient C library to implement the protocol.  The second type implements the MySQL client server protocol natively.  This article gives you important information for using libmysqclient in your connector.  A followup article will include relevant information for native implementations.

Which Version Should You Use?

Even though your application may currently link against the libmysqlclient library that comes with MySQL 5.7, this one will only work for authenticating users who are using other plugins such as mysql_native_password or sha256_password.  For all situations where new users would be created using the caching_sha2_password plugin, an updated connector that supports this plugin is required.  MySQL 8.0.4-rc contains libmysqlclient version 21 which fully understands this new plugin and can work with any user accounts.  We are exploring the possibility of backporting support for caching_sha2_password to previous versions of libmysqlclient.

It’s important to understand that the libmysqlclient library that comes with MySQL 8 is backward compatible and can connect to previous versions of the server so there is no significant need to support building against 5.7 and 8.0 versions at the same time.

How Do I Use It?

Exactly the way you have been using it.  The only change to the API related to this new authentication plugin is a new connection option to retrieve the server public key.  Here are the two scenarios and how they might be coded.

Using an SSL connection (same as for 5.7)
In this scenario the users credentials are passed to the server in plain text however they are passed via the SSL connection and are therefore passed securely.

Not using an SSL connection
In this scenario we are not using an SSL connection and so it is vital that the users credentials not get passed “in the clear”.  To facilitate this the servers public key is retrieved and is used for an RSA key exchange.

For for information on creating encrypted connections to the server, please see this page.

Conclusion

Connectors based on libmysqlclient can be updated very easily by simply updating the version of libmysqlclient they link against.

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