Securityedit

Kibana has generally been able to implement security transparently to core and plugin developers, and this largely remains the case. Kibana on two methods that the elasticsearch Cluster provides: callWithRequest and callWithInternalUser.

callWithRequest executes requests against Elasticsearch using the authentication credentials of the Kibana end-user. So, if you log into Kibana with the user of foo when callWithRequest is used, Kibana execute the request against Elasticsearch as the user foo. Historically, callWithRequest has been used extensively to perform actions that are initiated at the request of Kibana end-users.

callWithInternalUser executes requests against Elasticsearch using the internal Kibana server user, and has historically been used for performing actions that aren’t initiated by Kibana end users; for example, creating the initial .kibana index or performing health checks against Elasticsearch.

However, with the changes that role-based access control (RBAC) introduces, this is no longer cut and dry. Kibana now requires all access to the .kibana index goes through the SavedObjectsClient. This used to be a best practice, as the SavedObjectsClient was responsible for translating the documents stored in Elasticsearch to and from Saved Objects, but RBAC is now taking advantage of this abstraction to implement access control and determine when to use callWithRequest versus callWithInternalUser.

Role-based access controledit

Role-based access control (RBAC) in Kibana relies upon the application privileges that Elasticsearch exposes. This allows Kibana to define the privileges that Kibana wishes to grant to users, assign them to the relevant users using roles, and then authorize the user to perform a specific action. This is handled within a secured instance of the SavedObjectsClient and available transparently to consumers when using request.getSavedObjectsClient() or savedObjects.getScopedSavedObjectsClient().

Kibana Privilegesedit

When Kibana first starts up, it executes the following POST request against Elasticsearch. This synchronizes the definition of the privileges with various actions which are later used to authorize a user:

POST /_security/privilege
Content-Type: application/json
Authorization: Basic {kib} changeme

{
   "kibana-.kibana":{
       "all":{
           "application":"kibana-.kibana",
           "name":"all",
           "actions":[
               "version:7.0.0-alpha1-SNAPSHOT",
               "action:login",
               "action:*"
           ],
           "metadata":{}
       },
       "read":{
           "application":"kibana-.kibana",
           "name":"read",
           "actions":[
               "version:7.0.0-alpha1-SNAPSHOT",
               "action:login",
               "saved_object:dashboard/get",
               "saved_object:dashboard/bulk_get",
               "saved_object:dashboard/find",
               ...
           ],"metadata":{}}
   }
}

The application is created by concatenating the prefix of kibana- with the value of kibana.index from the kibana.yml, so different Kibana tenants are isolated from one another.

Assigning Kibana Privilegesedit

Kibana privileges are assigned to specific roles using the applications element. For example, the following role assigns the all privilege at * resources (which will in the future be used to secure spaces) to the default Kibana application:

"new_kibana_user": {
   "applications": [
     {
       "application": "kibana-.kibana",
       "privileges": [
         "all"
       ],
       "resources": [
         "*"
       ]
     }
   ]
 }

Roles that grant Kibana privileges should be managed using the Kibana role management APIs or the Management → Security → Roles page, not directly using the Elasticsearch role management API. This role can then be assigned to users using the Elasticsearch user management APIs.

Authorizationedit

The Elasticsearch has privileges API determines whether the user is authorized to perform a specific action:

POST /_security/user/_has_privileges
Content-Type: application/json
Authorization: Basic foo_read_only_user password

{
   "applications":[
       {
           "application":"kibana-.kibana",
           "resources":["*"],
           "privileges":[
             "saved_object:dashboard/save",
           ]
       }
   ]
}

Elasticsearch checks if the user is granted a specific action. If the user is assigned a role that grants a privilege, Elasticsearch uses the Kibana privileges definition to associate this with the actions, which makes authorizing users more intuitive and flexible programatically.

Once we have authorized the user to perform a specific action, we can execute the request using callWithInternalUser.