Version: SG FLX

Adding Search Guard users

This guide assumes that you have already installed Search Guard in your cluster using the demo installer.

The internal user database

Search Guard can use external authentication systems like LDAP, OpenID, SAML or Kerberos for authenticating users. As an alternative, you can also use the internal user database to manage your users.

The internal user database stores users and their credentials directly in Elasticsearch. To manage users in the internal user database you have three options:

  • Configure the users, their password hashes and backend roles in the sg_internal_users.yml file and use the sgctl CLI tool to upload this configuration to your cluster (Community Edition)
  • Use the sgctl tool to directly add users to a running cluster (Community Edition)
  • Use the Search Guard Configuration GUI (Enterprise)
  • Use the internal users REST API (Enterprise)

Adding users to sg_internal_users.yml

The sg_internal_users.yml file defines all Search Guard users. You can find an example in the folder:

<ES installation directory>/plugins/search-guard-flx/sgconfig/sg_internal_users.yml

A user entry has the following basic format:

  hash: <hashed password>
    - role1
    - role2
    - sg_role1
    - sg_role2
    key: value      

In this guide we want to add a user called jdoe which has read-only access to a fictitious index called humanresources.

We also want to add the user to a backend role called hr_department. For the moment, think about backend roles as a way of putting users in different groups, just like LDAP or Active Directory groups. We use them later to assign all users with the hr_department backend role to a Search Guard role.

So our basic entry in sg_internal_users.yml looks like:

  hash: <hashed password>
    - hr_department

Note: If you want that a user is able to log into Kibana, you have to assign them the special role SGS_KIBANA_USER. This can look like this:

  hash: <hashed password>
    - hr_department

You can also map the Search Guard role SGS_KIBANA_USER to the backend role hr_department. See the guide on roles mapping for more on this.

Because we do not want to store any cleartext passwords anywhere, the password of the user must be hashed before we can add it to the configuration.

Search Guard uses a BCrypt hash for the passwords, so you can use any tool that is capable of producing a BCrypt hash.

The easiest way to add users to a local sg_internal_users.yml file is to use sgctl with the add-user-local command. You can specify all necessary user attributes on the command line and then have the user automatically appended to a sg_internal_users.yml file.

Thus, in order to create the jdoe user, execute the following command:

$ ./ add-user-local jdoe --backend-roles hr_department --password -o /path/to/a/local/sg_internal_users.yml

When executing this, the command will ask you to enter a password. Alternatively, you can specify the password after the --password switch. If the file specified by the -o switch does not exist, it is automatically created. If it does already exist, the entry will be appended.

The newly added user will look like this:

  hash: $2y$12$AwwN1fn0HDEw/LBCwWU0y.Ys6PoKBL5pR.WTYAIV92ld7tA8kozqa
    - hr_department

Since we use the BCrypt algorithm, your actual hash values might vary from the ones in this guide.

Uploading the changes to your cluster

In order to activate the changed configuration, we need to upload it to the Search Guard configuration index by using the sgctl command line tool.

If you have already set up the sgctl connection to the cluster, just type:

$ ./ update-config /path/to/the/changed/sg_internal_users.yml

If you have not yet set up the sgctl connection, you have to do this once:

$ ./ connect localhost --ca-cart /path/to/root-ca.pem --cert /path/to/admin-cert.pem --key /path/to/admin-cert-private-key.pem

The configuration changes are active immediately. There is no need to restart your cluster.

Using sgctl to directly add users on the cluster

Alternatively, if you already have a running cluster, you can also sgctl to directly create users on the cluster without modifying a local sg_internal_users.yml file first.

Note: After having used sgctl to directly modify the users on the cluster, keep in mind that any sg_internal_user.yml files you might have locally are now outdated. If you would use these files to update the configuration, you might lose users which were created directly on the cluster.

The syntax to add users directly on the cluster is very simple to the syntax of the add-user-local command. Just replace add-user-local by add-user and skip the -o option:

$ ./ add-user jdoe --backend-roles hr_department --password

To modify existing users, use the update-user command:

$ ./ update-user jdoe --backend-roles another_department

Use the delete-user command to delete a user:

$ ./ delete-user jdoe 

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