Logfile audit outputedit

The logfile audit output is the only output for auditing. It writes data to the <clustername>_audit.json file in the logs directory.

If you overwrite the log4j2.properties and do not specify appenders for any of the audit trails, audit events are forwarded to the root appender, which by default points to the elasticsearch.log file.

Log entry formatedit

The audit events are formatted as JSON documents, and each event is printed on a separate line in the <clustername>_audit.json file. The entries themselves do not contain the end-of-line delimiter. The audit event JSON format is somewhat particular, as most fields follow a dotted name syntax, are ordered, and contain non-null string values. This format creates a structured columnar aspect, similar to a CSV, that can be more easily inspected visually (compared to an equivalent nested JSON document).

There are however a few attributes that are exceptions to the above format. The put, delete, change, create and invalidate attributes, which are only present for events with the event.type: "security_config_change" attribute, contain the nested JSON representation of the security change taking effect. The contents of the security config change are hence not displayed as top-level dot-named fields in the audit event document. That’s because the fields are specific to the particular kind of security change and do not show up in any other audit events. The benefits of a columnar format are therefore much more limited; the space-saving benefits of the nested structure is the favoured trade-off in this case.

When the request.body attribute is present (see Auditing search queries), it contains a string value containing the full HTTP request body, escaped as per the JSON RFC 4677.

There is a list of audit event types specifying the set of fields, as well as examples, for each entry type.

Logfile output settingsedit

The events and some other information about what gets logged can be controlled using settings in the elasticsearch.yml file. See Audited Event Settings and Local Node Info Settings.

Be advised that sensitive data may be audited in plain text when including the request body in audit events, even though all the security APIs, such as those that change the user’s password, have the credentials filtered out when audited.

You can also configure how the logfile is written in the log4j2.properties file located in ES_PATH_CONF (or check out the relevant portion of the log4j2.properties in the sources). By default, audit information is appended to the <clustername>_audit.json file located in the standard Elasticsearch logs directory (typically located at $ES_HOME/logs).