Field masking

If you don’t want to remove fields from a document using field-level security, you can mask their values. Currently, field masking is only available for string-based fields and replaces the field’s value with a cryptographic hash.

Field masking works alongside field-level security on the same per-role, per-index basis. You can allow certain roles to see sensitive fields in plain text and mask them for others. A search result with a masked field might look like this:

{
  "_index": "movies",
  "_type": "_doc",
  "_source": {
    "year": 2013,
    "directors": [
      "Ron Howard"
    ],
    "title": "ca998e768dd2e6cdd84c77015feb29975f9f498a472743f159bec6f1f1db109e"
  }
}

Set the salt

You set the salt (a random string used to hash your data) in elasticsearch.yml:

opendistro_security.compliance.salt: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvqxyz1234567890
Property Description
opendistro_security.compliance.salt The salt to use when generating the hash value. Must be at least 32 characters. Only ASCII characters are allowed. Optional.

Setting the salt is optional, but we highly recommend it.

Configure field masking

You configure field masking using Kibana, roles.yml, or the REST API.

Kibana

  1. Choose a role and DLS/FLS.
  2. Choose an index.
  3. Under Anonymize fields, specify one or more fields and Save Role Definition.

roles.yml

someonerole:
  cluster: []
  indices:
    movies:
      _masked_fields_:
      - "title"
      - "genres"
      '*':
      - "READ"

REST API

See Create role.

(Advanced) Use an alternative hash algorithm

By default, the Security plugin uses the BLAKE2b algorithm, but you can use any hashing algorithm that your JVM provides. This list typically includes MD5, SHA-1, SHA-384, and SHA-512.

To specify a different algorithm, add it after the masked field:

someonerole:
  cluster: []
  indices:
    movies:
      _masked_fields_:
      - "title::SHA-512"
      - "genres"
      '*':
      - "READ"

(Advanced) Pattern-based field masking

Rather than creating a hash, you can use one or more regular expressions and replacement strings to mask a field. The syntax is <field>::/<regular-expression>/::<replacement-string>. If you use multiple regular expressions, the results are passed from left to right, like piping in a shell:

hr_employee:
  index_permissions:
    - index_patterns:
      - 'humanresources'
      allowed_actions:
        - ...
      masked_fields:
        - 'lastname::/.*/::*'
        - '*ip_source::/[0-9]{1,3}$/::XXX::/^[0-9]{1,3}/::***'
asdf
someonerole:
  cluster: []
  indices:
    movies:
      _masked_fields_:
      - "title::/./::*"
      - "genres::/^[a-zA-Z]{1,3}/::XXX::/[a-zA-Z]{1,3}$/::YYY"
      '*':
      - "READ"

The title statement changes each character in the field to *, so you can still discern the length of the masked string. The genres statement changes the first three characters of the string to XXX and the last three characters to YYY.

Effect on audit logging

The read history feature lets you track read access to sensitive fields in your documents. For example, you might track access to the email field of your customer records. Access to masked fields are excluded from read history, because the user only saw the hash value, not the clear text value of the field.