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Practical PostgreSQL by John C. Worsley, Joshua D. Drake

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Encrypting Sessions

In the digital age, privacy and data integrity have become two of the most talked about areas of computing. It seems that almost every day someone else has been cracked, or a new security hole has been found in an application you once trusted.

At the same time, the encrypting of data sessions has become veritably common place amongst computer users. Every reputable e-commerce site uses SSL (the Secure Sockets Layer) to protect user data while transmitting personal information such as credit cards and home addresses across the Internet.

The most common type of crack executed on a machine is not really a “crack” at all. It is usually an unsuspecting user trusting a protocol such as POP or FTP to transfer information over the Internet. By using these protocols, the user can unknowingly transmit their login and password in clear text (in an unencrypted form) over the Internet.

The transmission of data such as login names and passwords in clear text over the Internet means that anybody using a sniffer program (an application that listens to network traffic between two parties) could potentially gain access to your most personal information. In the world of databases, this scenario is no different.

If you connect remotely to PostgreSQL without the use of an encryption technology, there is a potential for misuse by crackers on the Internet. If a cracker uses a sniffer on your network, or on a network between your client and the database server that you are connecting to, ...

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