Setting World-Writable File Permissions Prior to Preparing the Backup Can Break It

Setting World-Writable File PermissionsIt’s bad practice to provide world-writable access to critical files in Linux, though we’ve seen time and time again that this is done to conveniently share files with other users, applications, or services. But with Xtrabackup, preparing backups could go wrong if the backup configuration has world-writable file permissions.

Say you performed a backup on a MySQL instance configured with data-at-rest encryption using the keyring plugin. On the backup directory, the generated backup-my.cnf contains these instructions to load this plugin that will be used by Xtrabackup while preparing the backup:


Perhaps you wanted to share the backup with another user, but made a mistake of making the directory and its contents world-writable: chmod -R 777 /backup/mysql

When that user prepares the backup, the corresponding output will show that Xtrabackup ignored reading backup-my.cnf and so it doesn’t know that it has to load the keyring plugin to decrypt the .ibd files:

Even if you fix the permissions on backup-my.cnf, if you try to prepare the same backup again, Xtrabackup will warn you that it has already prepared the backup.

This means that changes made while the backup was taking place will not be applied and what you have restored is an inconsistent, potentially corrupt backup. You need to perform a full backup again and make sure that you do not place world/other writable permissions on the backup this around so that you will not face the same issue.

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  • Nils Reply

    This looks like a (usability) bug to me. The restore process should fail instead of restoring a potentially corrupted backup. This is especially dangerous since users restoring a backup may be under a higher level of stress so mistakes can be made and it’s very easy to overlook the errors in the output you posted.

    July 1, 2019 at 2:43 pm

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