Elasticsearch’s plugin infrastructure is extremely flexible in terms of what can be extended. While it opens up Elasticsearch to a wide variety of (often custom) additional functionality, when it comes to security, this high extensibility level comes at a cost. We have no control over the third-party plugins' code (open source or not) and therefore we cannot guarantee their compliance with Shield. For this reason, third-party plugins are not officially supported on clusters with the Shield security plugin installed.
Elasticsearch clusters with the Shield security plugin installed apply the
/_all wildcard, and all other wildcards,
to the indices that the current user has privileges for, not the set of all indices on the cluster. There are two
notable results of this behavior:
- Elasticsearch clusters with the Shield security plugin installed do not honor the
ignore_unavailableoption. This behavior means that requests involving indices that the current user lacks authorization for throw an
AuthorizationExceptionerror, regardless of the option’s setting.
allow_no_indicesoption is ignored, resulting in the following behavior: when the final set of indices after wildcard expansion and replacement is empty, the request throws a
As a general principle, core Elasticsearch will return empty results in scenarios where wildcard expansion returns no indices, while Elasticsearch with Shield returns exceptions. Note that this behavior means that operations with multiple items will fail the entire set of operations if any one operation throws an exception due to wildcard expansion resulting in an empty set of authorized indices.
Aliases containing filters are not a secure way to restrict access to individual documents, due to the limitations described in Index and Field Names Can Be Leaked When Using Aliases. Shield provides a secure way to restrict access to documents through the document-level security feature.
Calling certain Elasticsearch APIs on an alias can potentially leak information about indices that the user isn’t authorized
to access. For example, when you get the mappings for an alias with the
_mapping API, the response includes the
index name and mappings for each index that the alias applies to. Similarly, the response to a
request includes the name of the underlying index, rather than the alias name.
Until this limitation is addressed, avoid index and field names that contain confidential or sensitive information.
Bulk updates do not work when document and field level security is enabled. If you are not using document and field level
security, bulk updates can be enabled by setting
When document level security is enabled for an index:
- The request cache is forcefully disabled for search requests.
- The get, multi get, termsvector and multi termsvector APIs aren’t executed in real time. The realtime option for these APIs is forcefully set to false.
- Document level security isn’t applied for APIs that aren’t document based. An example is the field stats API.
- Document level security doesn’t affect global index statistics that relevancy scoring uses. So this means that scores are computed without taking the role query into account. Note that documents not matching with the role query are never returned.
has_parentqueries aren’t supported as role query in the
has_parentqueries can be used in the search API with document level security enabled.
Document expiration handled using the built-in
_ttl (time to live) mechanism
does not work with Shield. The document deletions will fail and the documents continue to live past their expiration.
The LDAP Realm does not currently support the discovery of nested LDAP Groups. For example, if a user is a member of GroupA and GroupA is a member of GroupB, only GroupA will be discovered. However, the Active Directory Realm does support transitive group membership.