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Auditing Windows Groups from SQL Server


By:   |   Read Comments (4)   |   Related Tips: More > Auditing and Compliance

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Problem
Managing database security should be part of every DBAs job.  With SQL Server you have the ability to use either SQL Server and Windows or Windows only security.  The advantage of using Windows security for your SQL Servers is that you can take advantage of the Windows security model and security policies that have been setup on your domain.  Another advantage is that you can manage security at the domain level instead of at the SQL Server instance level. 

In addition you can use use Windows groups to manage the security buckets.  Based on the groups that are setup you can put specific Windows users in these groups and then give SQL Server access to this Windows group instead of having to create logins for every single windows user. 

The disadvantage to this is that the specific people within these groups is masked at the SQL Server level.  In your logins you can see the groups that have access, but you have no idea what users are in what groups.  So how can you get this information from within SQL Server?

Solution
SQL Server offers some insight into this issue with the xp_logininfo extended stored procedure.  This stored procedure is part of both SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005.  This xp takes the following parameters:

  • @acctname - the windows account name or group
  • @option - information to display
    • 'all' - display information for all permission paths
    • 'members' - display list of members in a group
  • @privelege - this is an output variable from this command and returns 'admin', 'user' or 'null

Following is T-SQL code that loops through your logins and wherever there is a Windows Group the xp_logininfo XP is called to return information about the Windows group.

SQL Server 2000
For this example we are querying from the syslogins table where the isntgroup = 1 and status = 10.

DECLARE @LoginName sysname
DECLARE @sql NVARCHAR (2000)

BEGIN
   DECLARE 
cur_Loginfetch CURSOR FOR
   
   SELECT 
[name] FROM master.dbo.syslogins WHERE isntgroup AND status 10 
   
   
OPEN cur_Loginfetch
   
   
FETCH NEXT FROM cur_Loginfetch INTO @LoginName
   
WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS 0
       
BEGIN
           EXEC 
xp_logininfo @LoginName 'members'
           
FETCH NEXT FROM cur_Loginfetch INTO @LoginName
       
END
   CLOSE 
cur_Loginfetch
   
DEALLOCATE cur_Loginfetch
   
RETURN
END

Here is the output from running the above code.  Here we can see the Windows users that are part of the BUILTIN\Administrators group.

SQL Server 2005
For this example we are querying from the sys.server_principals catalog view where type = 'G'.

DECLARE @LoginName sysname
DECLARE @sql NVARCHAR (2000)

BEGIN
   DECLARE 
cur_Loginfetch CURSOR FOR
   
   SELECT 
[name] FROM master.sys.server_principals WHERE TYPE 'G'
   
   
OPEN cur_Loginfetch
   
   
FETCH NEXT FROM cur_Loginfetch INTO @LoginName
   
WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS 0
       
BEGIN
           EXEC 
xp_logininfo @LoginName 'members'
           
FETCH NEXT FROM cur_Loginfetch INTO @LoginName
       
END
   CLOSE 
cur_Loginfetch
   
DEALLOCATE cur_Loginfetch
   
RETURN
END

Here is the output from running the above code. Here we can see the Windows users that are part of the BUILTIN\Administrators group.

This is a pretty straightforward process to get the information.  On your production servers you should be able to see a lot more information then what is provided in these examples.

Next Steps

  • Use these scripts to get information about your Windows groups that have access to SQL Server.
  • Add these scripts to your auditing procedures to keep on top of any potential security risks
  • Write a process that captures this data on a daily basis and alerts you when there are changes.  You may not need to do this for all groups, but it would be good to monitor any group that has sysadmin rights such as the BUILTIN\Administrators account.
  • Take a look at these other security related tips:
  • Thanks goes out to Amit Watwe from Singapore for this tip idea as well as the code sample.


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Monday, September 24, 2012 - 1:32:22 AM - Akhtar Back To Top

i execute the same script with the cahge for sqlserver 2008 r2 it display query execute successfully but not showing any record please help me


Friday, March 16, 2012 - 4:59:18 AM - Billy Back To Top

Thanks for this command!

I realize this is an old post, just wanted to say that I've tried it and it returns the users from a domain group successfully. However, it does not display nested groups. i.e groups in my group. Get me? It only returns users, not groups in my group. Any way to include those?

Thanks


Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 2:16:33 AM - Amit Watwe Back To Top

Hello Jeremy,

Thanks a lot for that tweak! Really appreciate :)

Regards,

Amit


Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 9:25:16 AM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top

 

 

 

Amit,

Thank you for this tip.  When I have run this code on SQL Server 2008 R2 instances, I get this error message:

Msg 15404, Level 16, State 5, Procedure xp_logininfo, Line 42
Could not obtain information about Windows NT group/user 'NT SERVICE\MSSQLSERVER', error code 0x8ac.

Msg 15404, Level 16, State 5, Procedure xp_logininfo, Line 42
Could not obtain information about Windows NT group/user 'NT SERVICE\SQLSERVERAGENT', error code 0x8ac.

As a quick fix, I have changed the SELECT statement in the cursor to the following:

 SELECT [name]
 FROM master.sys.server_principals
 WHERE TYPE = 'G'
 AND [name] NOT IN ('NT SERVICE\MSSQLSERVER', 'NT SERVICE\SQLSERVERAGENT')

I hope this helps.

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec

 


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