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File Protection

Definition of a Password

SAS software enables you to restrict access to members of SAS libraries by assigning passwords to the members. You can assign passwords to all member types except catalogs. You can specify three levels of protection: read, write, and alter. When a password is assigned, it appears as uppercase Xs in the log.

Note:   This document uses the terms SAS data file and SAS view to distinguish between the two types of SAS data sets. Passwords work differently for type VIEW than they do for type DATA. The term "SAS data set" is used when the distinction is not necessary.  [cautionend]


protects against reading the file.


protects against changing the data in the file. For SAS data files, write protection prevents adding, modifying, or deleting observations.


protects against deleting or replacing the entire file. For SAS data files, alter protection also prevents modifying variable attributes and creating or deleting indexes.

Alter protection does not require a password for read or write access; write protection does not require a password for read access. For example, you can read an alter-protected or write-protected SAS data file without knowing the alter or write password. Conversely, read and write protection do not prevent any operation that requires alter protection. For example, you can delete a SAS data set that is read- or write-protected only without knowing the read or write password.

To protect a file from being read, written to, deleted, or replaced by anyone who does not have the proper authority, assign read, write, and alter protection. To allow others to read the file without knowing the password, but not change its data or delete it, assign just write and alter protection. To completely protect a file with one password, use the PW= data set option. See Assigning Complete Protection with the PW= Data Set Option for details.

Note:   Because of the way SAS opens files, you must specify the read password to update a SAS data set that is only read-protected.   [cautionend]

Note:   The levels of protection differ somewhat for the member type VIEW. See Using Passwords with Views.  [cautionend]

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