The PostgreSQL Antivirus
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README.md

pg_snakeoil - The PostgreSQL Antivirus

Running typical on-access antivirus software on a PostgreSQL server has severe drawbacks such as severely affecting performance or making the filesystem unreliable. The failure modes are extremely problematic when a non-PostgreSQL-aware scanner blocks access to a file due to viruses, or even false-positives and bugs in the scanner software.

We typically recommend not to run such software on PostgreSQL servers, as PostgreSQL knows how to discern between code and data and will not execute any viruses stored in a database. However, running anti-virus software is sometimes required by local policy.

pg_snakeoil provides ClamAV scanning of all data in PostgreSQL in a way that does not interfere with the proper functioning of PostgreSQL and does not cause collateral damage or unnecessary downtimes.

Usage

SQL Functions

pg_snakeoil provides SQL functions to scan given data for viruses. The functions can be used manually or automatically, e.g. via triggers or check constraints. The following functions are implemented:

so_is_infected (text) RETURNS bool

Returns true if the given data matches a signature in the virus database.

so_virus_name (text) RETURNS text

Returns virus name if the given data matches a signature in the virus database, empty string otherwise.

so_is_infected (bytea) RETURNS bool

Returns true if the given data matches a signature in the virus database.

so_virus_name (bytea) RETURNS text

Returns virus name if the given data matches a signature in the virus database, NULL otherwise.

so_update_signatures () RETURNS bool

Update signatures, returns true if signatures changed, false otherwise.

Installation

Dependencies

  • libclamav
  • freshclam (recommended to keep signatures current)

Compile

make PG_CONFIG=/path/to/pg_config
sudo make install

Preload

pg_snakeoil is loaded by each PostgreSQL backend when needed. An instance of the ClamAV engine is started for every new backend. This takes several seconds for the first function call after connecting.

If backends (connections) do not persist and are only used for a single query, it might be interesting to avoid the overhead for the first function call by adding pg_snakeoil to shared_preload_libraries in postgresql.conf:

shared_preload_libraries = 'pg_snakeoil'

When loaded this way, the ClamAV engine will use the signatures loaded while PostgreSQL was started. Newer signatures will not be loaded automatically. If the extension is not in shared_preload_libraries, new signatures will be used for new connections automatically. The engine can also be reloaded manually with new signatures via SELECT so_update_signatures ();, but this only affects the current backend (connection).

Create Extension

In each database where pg_snakeoil is to be used, execute:

CREATE EXTENSION pg_snakeoil;

Examples

Functions

Ad-hoc checks

postgres=# SELECT so_is_infected('Not a virus!');
 so_is_infected
----------------
 f
(1 row)

postgres=# SELECT so_is_infected('X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H*');
 so_is_infected
----------------
 t
(1 row)

postgres=# SELECT so_virus_name('X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H*');
    so_virus_name
----------------------
 Eicar-Test-Signature
(1 row)

On Access Check

CREATE EXTENSION pg_snakeoil;
CREATE DOMAIN safe_text AS text CHECK (NOT so_is_infected(value));
CREATE TABLE t1(safe safe_text);


INSERT INTO t1 VALUES ('This text is safe!');
INSERT

INSERT INTO t1 VALUES('X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H*');
NOTICE:  Virus found: Eicar-Test-Signature
ERROR:  value for domain safe_text violates check constraint "safe_text_check"

Future Ideas

Scan via pg_recvlogical

pg_recvlogical could be used to acquire the data entering the server instead of file system access, allowing offloading of the CPU-time required for scanning to another server. The reaction to a positive ClamAV result is fully customizable from asynchronous notification of