Securing Communication With Logstash by Using TLSedit

You can use TLS mutual authentication to secure connections between Topbeat and Logstash. This ensures that Topbeat sends encrypted data to trusted Logstash servers only, and that the Logstash server receives data from trusted Topbeat clients only.

To use TLS mutual authentication:

  1. Create a certificate authority (CA) and use it to sign the certificates that you plan to use for Topbeat and Logstash. Creating a correct SSL/TLS infrastructure is outside the scope of this document. There are many online resources available that describe how to create certificates.

    Certificates must be signed by your root CA. Intermediate CAs are currently not supported.

  2. Configure Topbeat to use TLS. In the topbeat.yml config file, specify the following settings under tls:

    • certificate_authorities: Configures Topbeat to trust any certificates signed by the specified CA. If certificate_authorities is empty or not set, the trusted certificate authorities of the host system are used.

      Although intermediate CAs are currently not supported, you may be able to work around this issue by merging all the certificates in the chain into one file. You can create the PEM file containing the CA chain by concatenating the root CA cert and the intermediate CA into a single file: cat root-ca.crt intermediate-ca.crt > chain.crt. Then set certificate_authorities to use this file: certificate_authorities: ['chain.crt'].

    • certificate and certificate_key: Specifies the certificate and key that Topbeat uses to authenticate with Logstash.

      For example:

          hosts: [""]
            certificate_authorities: ["/etc/ca.crt"]
            certificate: "/etc/client.crt"
            certificate_key: "/etc/client.key"

      For more information about these configuration options, see TLS Options.

  3. Configure Logstash to use TLS. In the Logstash config file, specify the following settings for the Beats input plugin for Logstash:

    • ssl: When set to true, enables Logstash to use SSL/TLS.
    • ssl_certificate_authorities: Configures Logstash to trust any certificates signed by the specified CA.
    • ssl_certificate and ssl_key: Specify the certificate and key that Logstash uses to authenticate with the client.
    • ssl_verify_mode: Specifies whether the Logstash server verifies the client certificate against the CA. You need to specify either peer or force_peer to make the server ask for the certificate and validate it. If you specify force_peer, and Topbeat doesn’t provide a certificate, the Logstash connection will be closed.

      For example:

      input {
        beats {
          port => 5044
          ssl => true
          ssl_certificate_authorities => ["/etc/ca.crt"]
          ssl_certificate => "/etc/server.crt"
          ssl_key => "/etc/server.key"
          ssl_verify_mode => "force_peer"

      For more information about these options, see the documentation for the Beats input plugin.

Validating the Logstash Server’s Certificateedit

Before running Topbeat, you should validate the Logstash server’s certificate. You can use curl to validate the certificate even though the protocol used to communicate with Logstash is not based on HTTP. For example:

curl -v --cacert ca.crt

If the test is successful, you’ll receive an empty response error:

* Rebuilt URL to:
*   Trying
* Connected to ( port 5044 (#0)
* TLS 1.2 connection using TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
* Server certificate:
* Server certificate:
> GET / HTTP/1.1
> Host:
> User-Agent: curl/7.43.0
> Accept: */*
* Empty reply from server
* Connection #0 to host left intact
curl: (52) Empty reply from server

The following example uses the IP address rather than the hostname to validate the certificate:

curl -v --cacert ca.crt

Validation for this test fails because the certificate is not valid for the specified IP address. It’s only valid for the, the hostname that appears in the Subject field of the certificate.

* Rebuilt URL to:
*   Trying
* Connected to ( port 5044 (#0)
* WARNING: using IP address, SNI is being disabled by the OS.
* SSL: certificate verification failed (result: 5)
* Closing connection 0
curl: (51) SSL: certificate verification failed (result: 5)

See the troubleshooting docs for info about resolving this issue.

Testing the Beats to Logstash Connectionedit

If you have Topbeat running as a service, first stop the service. Then test your setup by running Topbeat in the foreground so you can quickly see any errors that occur:

topbeat -c topbeat.yml -e -v

Any errors will be printed to the console. See the troubleshooting docs for info about resolving common errors.