Native user authentication

The easiest way to manage and authenticate users is with the internal native realm. You can use the REST APIs or Kibana to add and remove users, assign user roles, and manage user passwords.

Configuring a native realm

The native realm is available by default when no other realms are configured. If other realm settings have been configured in elasticsearch.yml, you must add the native realm to the realm chain.

You can configure a native realm in the xpack.security.authc.realms.native namespace in elasticsearch.yml. Explicitly configuring a native realm enables you to set the order in which it appears in the realm chain, temporarily disable the realm, and control its cache options.

  1. Add a realm configuration to elasticsearch.yml under the xpack.security.authc.realms.native namespace. It is recommended that you explicitly set the order attribute for the realm.

    See Native realm settings for all of the options you can set for the native realm. For example, the following snippet shows a native realm configuration that sets the order to zero so the realm is checked first:

    xpack:
      security:
        authc:
          realms:
            native:
              native1:
                order: 0

    To limit exposure to credential theft and mitigate credential compromise, the native realm stores passwords and caches user credentials according to security best practices. By default, a hashed version of user credentials is stored in memory, using a salted sha-256 hash algorithm and a hashed version of passwords is stored on disk salted and hashed with the bcrypt hash algorithm. To use different hash algorithms, see User cache and password hash algorithms.

  2. Restart Elasticsearch.

Managing native users

The Elastic Stack security features enable you to easily manage users in Kibana on the Management / Security / Users page.

Alternatively, you can manage users through the user API. For more information and examples, see Users.

To migrate file-based users to the native realm, use the migrate tool.