16.4.3.Graph-Level Security

Virtuoso supports graph-level security for "physical" RDF storage. That is somewhat similar to table access permissions in SQL. However, the difference between SPARQL and SQL data models results in totally different style of security administration. In SQL, when new application is installed it comes with its own set of tables and every query in its code explicitly specifies tables in use. Security restrictions of two applications interfere only if applications knows each other and are supposedly designed to cooperate. It is possible to write an application that will get list of available tables and retrieve data from any given table but that is a special case and it usually requires DBA privileges.

In SPARQL, data of different applications shares one table and the query language allows to select data of all applications at once. This feature makes SPARQL convenient for cross-application data integration. At the same time, that become a giant security hole if any sensitive data are stored.

A blind copying SQL security model to SPARQL domain would result in significant loss of performance or weak security or even both problems at the same time. That is why SPARQL model is made much more restrictive, even if it becomes inconvenient for some administration tasks.

Graph-level security does not replace traditional SQL security. A user should become member of appropriate group (SPARQL_SELECT , SPARQL_SPONGE or SPARQL_UPDATE ) in order to start using its graph-level privileges.