Active Directory and LDAP

Active Directory and LDAP can be used for authentication and authorization and thus can be used both in the authc and authz sections of the configuration.

The authc section is used for configuring authentication, which means to check if the user has entered the correct credentials. The authz is used for authorization, which defines how the roles for an authenticated user are retrieved and mapped.

In most cases, you want to configure both authentication and authorization. You can also use authentication only and map the users retrieved from LDAP directly to Security plugin roles.


Table of contents

  1. Connection settings
    1. Hostname and port
    2. Bind DN and password
    3. TLS settings
    4. Certificate validation
    5. Client authentication
    6. Enabled ciphers and protocols
  2. Use Active Directory and LDAP for authentication
    1. Configuration summary
    2. Complete authentication example
  3. Use Active Directory and LDAP for authorization
    1. Approach 1: Query the role subtree
    2. Approach 2: Use a user’s attribute as the role name
    3. (Advanced) Control LDAP user attributes
    4. (Advanced) Exclude certain users from role lookup
    5. (Advanced) Exclude roles from nested role lookups
    6. Configuration summary
    7. Complete authorization example

Connection settings

To enable LDAP authentication and authorization, add the following lines to plugins/opendistro_security/securityconfig/config.yml:

authc:
  ldap:
    enabled: true
    order: 1
    http_authenticator:
      type: basic
      challenge: false
    authentication_backend:
      type: ldap
      config:
        ...
authz:
  ldap:
    enabled: true
  authorization_backend:
    type: ldap
    config:
      ...

The connection settings are identical for authentication and authorization and are added to the config sections.

Hostname and port

To configure the hostname and port of your Active Directory servers, use the following:

config:
  hosts:
    - primary.ldap.example.com:389
    - secondary.ldap.example.com:389

You can configure more than one server here. If the Security plugin cannot connect to the first server, it tries to connect to the remaining servers sequentially.

Bind DN and password

To configure the bind_dn and password that the Security plugin uses when issuing queries to your server, use the following:

config:
  bind_dn: cn=admin,dc=example,dc=com
  password: password

If your server supports anonymous authentication, both bind_dn and password can be set to null.

TLS settings

Use the following parameters to configure TLS for connecting to your server:

config:
  enable_ssl: <true|false>
  enable_start_tls: <true|false>
  enable_ssl_client_auth: <true|false>
  verify_hostnames: <true|false>
Name Description
enable_ssl Whether to use LDAP over SSL (LDAPS).
enable_start_tls Whether to use STARTTLS. Can’t be used in combination with LDAPS.
enable_ssl_client_auth Whether to send the client certificate to the LDAP server.
verify_hostnames Whether to verify the hostnames of the server’s TLS certificate.

Certificate validation

By default, the Security plugin validates the TLS certificate of the LDAP servers against the root CA configured in elasticsearch.yml, either as a PEM certificate or a truststore:

opendistro_security.ssl.transport.pemtrustedcas_filepath: ...
opendistro_security.ssl.http.truststore_filepath: ...

If your server uses a certificate signed by a different CA, import this CA into your truststore or add it to your trusted CA file on each node.

You can also use a separate root CA in PEM format by setting one of the following configuration options:

config:
  pemtrustedcas_filepath: /full/path/to/trusted_cas.pem
config:
  pemtrustedcas_content: |-
    MIID/jCCAuagAwIBAgIBATANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQUFADCBjzETMBEGCgmSJomT8ixk
    ARkWA2NvbTEXMBUGCgmSJomT8ixkARkWB2V4YW1wbGUxGTAXBgNVBAoMEEV4YW1w
    bGUgQ29tIEluYy4xITAfBgNVBAsMGEV4YW1wbGUgQ29tIEluYy4gUm9vdCBDQTEh
    ...
Name Description
pemtrustedcas_filepath Absolute path to the PEM file containing the root CAs of your Active Directory/LDAP server.
pemtrustedcas_content The root CA content of your Active Directory/LDAP server. Cannot be used when pemtrustedcas_filepath is set.

Client authentication

If you use TLS client authentication, the Security plugin sends the PEM certificate of the node, as configured in elasticsearch.yml. Set one of the following configuration options:

config:
  pemkey_filepath: /full/path/to/private.key.pem
  pemkey_password: private_key_password
  pemcert_filepath: /full/path/to/certificate.pem

or

config:
  pemkey_content: |-
    MIID2jCCAsKgAwIBAgIBBTANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQUFADCBlTETMBEGCgmSJomT8ixk
    ARkWA2NvbTEXMBUGCgmSJomT8ixkARkWB2V4YW1wbGUxGTAXBgNVBAoMEEV4YW1w
    bGUgQ29tIEluYy4xJDAiBgNVBAsMG0V4YW1wbGUgQ29tIEluYy4gU2lnbmluZyBD
    ...
  pemkey_password: private_key_password
  pemcert_content: |-
    MIIEvQIBADANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFAASCBKcwggSjAgEAAoIBAQCHRZwzwGlP2FvL
    oEzNeDu2XnOF+ram7rWPT6fxI+JJr3SDz1mSzixTeHq82P5A7RLdMULfQFMfQPfr
    WXgB4qfisuDSt+CPocZRfUqqhGlMG2l8LgJMr58tn0AHvauvNTeiGlyXy0ShxHbD
    ...
Name Description
pemkey_filepath Absolute path to the file containing the private key of your certificate.
pemkey_content The content of the private key of your certificate. Cannot be used when pemkey_filepath is set.
pemkey_password The password of your private key, if any.
pemcert_filepath Absolute path to the client certificate.
pemcert_content The content of the client certificate. Cannot be used when pemcert_filepath is set.

Enabled ciphers and protocols

You can limit the allowed ciphers and TLS protocols for the LDAP connection. For example, you can allow only strong ciphers and limit the TLS versions to the most recent ones:

ldap:
  enabled: true
  ...
  authentication_backend:
    type: ldap
    config:
      enabled_ssl_ciphers:
        - "TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA"
        - "TLS_DHE_DSS_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256"
      enabled_ssl_protocols:
        - "TLSv1.1"
        - "TLSv1.2"
Name Description
enabled_ssl_ciphers Array, enabled TLS ciphers. Only the Java format is supported.
enabled_ssl_protocols Array, enabled TLS protocols. Only the Java format is supported.

Use Active Directory and LDAP for authentication

To use Active Directory/LDAP for authentication, first configure a respective authentication domain in the authc section of plugins/opendistro_security/securityconfig/config.yml:

authc:
  ldap:
    enabled: true
    order: 1
    http_authenticator:
      type: basic
      challenge: true
    authentication_backend:
      type: ldap
      config:
        ...

Next, add the connection settings for your Active Directory/LDAP server to the config section of the authentication domain:

config:
  enable_ssl: true
  enable_start_tls: false
  enable_ssl_client_auth: false
  verify_hostnames: true
  hosts:
    - ldap.example.com:8389
  bind_dn: cn=admin,dc=example,dc=com
  password: passw0rd

Authentication works by issuing an LDAP query containing the user name against the user subtree of the LDAP tree.

The Security plugin first takes the configured LDAP query and replaces the placeholder {0} with the user name from the user’s credentials.

usersearch: '(sAMAccountName={0})'

Then it issues this query against the user subtree. Currently, the entire subtree under the configured userbase is searched:

userbase: 'ou=people,dc=example,dc=com'

If the query is successful, the Security plugin retrieves the user name from the LDAP entry. You can specify which attribute from the LDAP entry the Security plugin should use as the user name:

username_attribute: uid

If this key is not set or null, then the distinguished name (DN) of the LDAP entry is used.

Configuration summary

Name Description
userbase Specifies the subtree in the directory where user information is stored.
usersearch The actual LDAP query that the Security plugin executes when trying to authenticate a user. The variable {0} is substituted with the user name.
username_attribute The Security plugin uses this attribute of the directory entry to look for the user name. If set to null, the DN is used (default).

Complete authentication example

ldap:
  enabled: false
  order: 1
  http_authenticator:
    type: basic
    challenge: true
  authentication_backend:
    type: ldap
    config:
      enable_ssl: true
      enable_start_tls: false
      enable_ssl_client_auth: false
      verify_hostnames: true
      hosts:
        - ldap.example.com:636
      bind_dn: cn=admin,dc=example,dc=com
      password: password
      userbase: 'ou=people,dc=example,dc=com'
      usersearch: '(sAMAccountName={0})'
      username_attribute: uid

Use Active Directory and LDAP for authorization

To use Active Directory/LDAP for authorization, first configure a respective authorization domain in the authz section of config.yml:

authz:
  ldap:
    enabled: true
  authorization_backend:
    type: ldap
    config:
      ...

Authorization is the process of retrieving backend roles for an authenticated user from an LDAP server. This is typically the same servers that you use for authentication, but you can also use a different server. The only requirement is that the user to fetch the roles for actually exists on the LDAP server.

Because the Security plugin always checks if a user exists in the LDAP server, you must also configure userbase, usersearch and username_attribute in the authz section.

Authorization works similarly to authentication. The Security plugin issues an LDAP query containing the user name against the role subtree of the LDAP tree.

As an alternative, the Security plugin can also fetch roles that are defined as a direct attribute of the user entry in the user subtree.

Approach 1: Query the role subtree

The Security plugin first takes the LDAP query for fetching roles (“rolesearch”) and substitutes any variables found in the query. For example, for a standard Active Directory installation, you would use the following role search:

rolesearch: '(member={0})'

You can use the following variables:

  • {0} is substituted with the DN of the user.
  • {1} is substituted with the user name, as defined by the username_attribute setting.
  • {2} is substituted with an arbitrary attribute value from the authenticated user’s directory entry.

The variable {2} refers to an attribute from the user’s directory entry. The attribute that you should use is specified by the userroleattribute setting:

userroleattribute: myattribute

The Security plugin then issues the substituted query against the configured role subtree. The entire subtree under rolebase is searched:

rolebase: 'ou=groups,dc=example,dc=com'

If you use nested roles (roles that are members of other roles), you can configure the Security plugin to resolve them:

resolve_nested_roles: false

After all roles have been fetched, the Security plugin extracts the final role names from a configurable attribute of the role entries:

rolename: cn

If this is not set, the DN of the role entry is used. You can now use this role name for mapping it to one or more of the Security plugin roles, as defined in roles_mapping.yml.

Approach 2: Use a user’s attribute as the role name

If you store the roles as a direct attribute of the user entries in the user subtree, you need to configure only the attribute name:

userrolename: roles

You can configure multiple attribute names:

userrolename: roles, otherroles

This approach can be combined with querying the role subtree. The Security plugin fetches the roles from the user’s role attribute and then executes the role search.

If you don’t use or have a role subtree, you can disable the role search completely:

rolesearch_enabled: false

(Advanced) Control LDAP user attributes

By default, the Security plugin reads all LDAP user attributes and makes them available for index name variable substitution and DLS query variable substitution. If your LDAP entries have a lot of attributes, you might want to control which attributes should be made available. The fewer the attributes, the better the performance.

Name Description
custom_attr_whitelist String array. Specifies the LDAP attributes that should be made available for variable substitution.
custom_attr_maxval_len Integer. Specifies the maximum allowed length of each attribute. All attributes longer than this value are discarded. A value of 0 disables custom attributes altogether. Default is 36.

Example:

authz:
  ldap:
    enabled: true
  authorization_backend:
    type: ldap
    config:
      custom_attr_whitelist:
        - attribute1
        - attribute2
      custom_attr_maxval_len
      ...

(Advanced) Exclude certain users from role lookup

If you are using multiple authentication methods, it can make sense to exclude certain users from the LDAP role lookup.

Consider the following scenario for a typical Kibana setup: All Kibana users are stored in an LDAP/Active Directory server.

However, you also have a Kibana server user. Kibana uses this user to manage stored objects and perform monitoring and maintenance tasks. You do not want to add this user to your Active Directory installation, but rather store it in the Security plugin internal user database.

In this case, it makes sense to exclude the Kibana server user from the LDAP authorization because we already know that there is no corresponding entry. You can use the skip_users configuration setting to define which users should be skipped. Wildcards and regular expressions are supported:

skip_users:
  - kibanaserver
  - 'cn=Jane Doe,ou*people,o=TEST'
  - '/\S*/'

(Advanced) Exclude roles from nested role lookups

If the users in your LDAP installation have a large number of roles, and you have the requirement to resolve nested roles as well, you might run into performance issues.

In most cases, however, not all user roles are related to Elasticsearch and Kibana. You might need only a couple of roles. In this case, you can use the nested role filter feature to define a list of roles that are filtered out from the list of the user’s roles. Wildcards and regular expressions are supported.

This has an effect only if resolve_nested_roles is true:

nested_role_filter: <true|false>
  - 'cn=Jane Doe,ou*people,o=TEST'
  - ...

Configuration summary

Name Description
rolebase Specifies the subtree in the directory where role/group information is stored.
rolesearch The actual LDAP query that the Security plugin executes when trying to determine the roles of a user. You can use three variables here (see below).
userroleattribute The attribute in a user entry to use for {2} variable substitution.
userrolename If the roles/groups of a user are not stored in the groups subtree, but as an attribute of the user’s directory entry, define this attribute name here.
rolename The attribute of the role entry that should be used as the role name.
resolve_nested_roles Boolean. Whether or not to resolve nested roles. Default is false.
skip_users Array of users that should be skipped when retrieving roles. Wildcards and regular expressions are supported.
nested_role_filter Array of role DNs that should be filtered before resolving nested roles. Wildcards and regular expressions are supported.
rolesearch_enabled Boolean. Enable or disable the role search. Default is true.
custom_attr_whitelist String array. Specifies the LDAP attributes that should be made available for variable substitution.
custom_attr_maxval_len Integer. Specifies the maximum allowed length of each attribute. All attributes longer than this value are discarded. A value of 0 disables custom attributes altogether. Default is 36.

Complete authorization example

authz:
  ldap:
    enabled: true
    authorization_backend:
      type: ldap
      config:
        enable_ssl: true
        enable_start_tls: false
        enable_ssl_client_auth: false
        verify_hostnames: true
        hosts:
          - ldap.example.com:636
        bind_dn: cn=admin,dc=example,dc=com
        password: password
        userbase: 'ou=people,dc=example,dc=com'
        usersearch: '(uid={0})'
        username_attribute: uid
        rolebase: 'ou=groups,dc=example,dc=com'
        rolesearch: '(member={0})'
        userroleattribute: null
        userrolename: none
        rolename: cn
        resolve_nested_roles: true
        skip_users:
          - kibanaserver
          - 'cn=Jane Doe,ou*people,o=TEST'
          - '/\S*/'