Elasticsearch security principles

Elasticsearch security principlesedit

Protecting your Elasticsearch cluster and the data it contains is of utmost importance. Implementing a defense in depth strategy provides multiple layers of security to help safeguard your system. The following principles provide a foundation for running Elasticsearch in a secure manner that helps to mitigate attacks on your system at multiple levels.

Run Elasticsearch with security enablededit

Never run an Elasticsearch cluster without security enabled. This principle cannot be overstated. Running Elasticsearch without security leaves your cluster exposed to anyone who can send network traffic to Elasticsearch, permitting these individuals to download, modify, or delete any data in your cluster. Start the Elastic Stack with security enabled or manually configure security to prevent unauthorized access to your clusters and ensure that internode communication is secure.

Run Elasticsearch with a dedicated non-root useredit

Never try to run Elasticsearch as the root user, which would invalidate any defense strategy and permit a malicious user to do anything on your server. You must create a dedicated, unprivileged user to run Elasticsearch. By default, the rpm, deb, docker, and Windows packages of Elasticsearch contain an elasticsearch user with this scope.

Protect Elasticsearch from public internet trafficedit

Even with security enabled, never expose Elasticsearch to public internet traffic. Using an application to sanitize requests to Elasticsearch still poses risks, such as a malicious user writing _search requests that could overwhelm an Elasticsearch cluster and bring it down. Keep Elasticsearch as isolated as possible, preferably behind a firewall and a VPN. Any internet-facing applications should run pre-canned aggregations, or not run aggregations at all.

While you absolutely shouldn’t expose Elasticsearch directly to the internet, you also shouldn’t expose Elasticsearch directly to users. Instead, use an intermediary application to make requests on behalf of users. This implementation allows you to track user behaviors, such as can submit requests, and to which specific nodes in the cluster. For example, you can implement an application that accepts a search term from a user and funnels it through a simple_query_string query.

Implement role based access controledit

Define roles for your users and assign appropriate privileges to ensure that users have access only to the resources that they need. This process determines whether the user behind an incoming request is allowed to run that request.