Using PKI to Authenticate Users [1.3.0] Added in 1.3.0.

You can configure Shield to use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates to authenticate users. This requires clients to present X.509 certificates. To use PKI, you configure a PKI realm, enable client authentication on the desired network layers (transport or http), and map the DNs from the user certificates to Shield roles in the role mapping file.

You can use a combination of PKI encryption and username and password authentication. For example, you can enable SSL/TLS on the transport layer and define a PKI realm to require transport clients to authenticate with X.509 certificates, while still authenticating HTTP traffic using usernames and passwords. You can also set shield.transport.ssl.client.auth to optional to allow clients without certificates to authenticate with other credentials.

Important

You must enable SSL/TLS to use PKI. For more information, see Setting Up SSL/TLS on a Cluster.

PKI Realm Configuration

Like realms, you configure options for a pki realm in the shield.authc.realms namespace in elasticsearch.yml.

To configure PKI realm:

  1. Add a realm configuration of type pki to elasticsearch.yml in the shield.authc.realms namespace. At a minimum, you must set the realm type to pki. If you are configuring multiple realms, you should also explicitly set the order attribute. See PKI Realm Settings for all of the options you can set for an pki realm.

    For example, the following snippet shows the most basic PKI realm configuration:

    shield:
      authc:
        realms:
          pki1:
            type: pki

    With this configuration, any certificate trusted by the SSL/TLS layer is accepted for authentication. The username is the common name (CN) extracted from the DN of the certificate.

    If you want to use something other than the CN of the DN as the username, you can specify a regex to extract the desired username. For example, the regex in the following configuration extracts the email address from the DN:

    shield:
      authc:
        realms:
          pki1:
            type: pki
            username_pattern: "EMAILADDRESS=(.*?)(?:,|$)"

    You can also specify which truststore to use for authentication. This is useful when the SSL/TLS layer trusts clients with certificates that are signed by a different CA than the one that signs your users' certificates. To specify the location of the truststore, specify the truststore.path option:

    shield:
      authc:
        realms:
          pki1:
            type: pki
            truststore:
              path: "/path/to/pki_truststore.jks"
              password: "changeme"
  2. Restart Elasticsearch.

PKI Realm Settings

Setting

Required

Description

type

yes

Indicates the realm type. Must be set to pki

order

no

Indicates the priority of this realm within the realm chain. Realms with a lower order are consulted first. Although not required, we recommend explicitly setting this value when you configure multiple realms. Defaults to Integer.MAX_VALUE.

enabled

no

Indicates whether this realm is enabled or disabled. Enables you to disable a realm without removing its configuration. Defaults to true.

username_pattern

no

Specifies the regular expression pattern used to extract the username from the certificate DN. The first match group is used as the username. Defaults to CN=(.*?)(?:,|$).

truststore.path

no

The path to the truststore. Defaults to the path defined by SSL/TLS settings.

truststore.password

no

Specifies the password for the truststore. Must be provided if truststore.path is set.

truststore.algorithm

no

Specifies the algorithm used for the trustsore. Defaults to SunX509.

files.role_mapping

no

Specifies the location for the YAML role mapping configuration file. Defaults to CONFIG_DIR/shield/role_mapping.yml.

Assigning Roles for PKI Users

You assign roles for PKI users in the role mapping file stored on each node. You identify a user by the distinguished name in their certificate. For example, the following mapping configuration assigns John Doe the user role:

user: 
  - "cn=John Doe,ou=example,o=com" 

The name of a Shield role defined in the roles file

The distinguished name of a PKI user.

For more information, see Mapping Users and Groups to Roles.