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From Mike Drob <>
Subject BatchWriter Auth/Audit Question
Date Fri, 19 Aug 2016 18:16:23 GMT

I was recently running a 1.7.2 cluster under a heavy write workload and
noticed a _lot_ of audit messages showing up in the logs. After some
digging, I found that one of the causes is the following call chain:

calls TabletServer.ThriftClientHandler::startUpdate
calls SecurityOperation::authenticateUser <-- always return true
calls SecurityOperation::canAskAboutUser <-- always return true
calls AuditedSecurityOperation::canPerformSystemActions <-- fails; logs
"action: performSystemAction"
calls AuditedSecurityAction::authenticate <-- succeeds; logs "action:

There are two separate but related problems here, I think, that I want to

When startUpdate calls security.authenticateUser(credentials, credentials);
there is the comment that this is done to "// Make sure user is real"
presumably to fail fast. This makes sense, but does it actually work? In
authenticateUser and canAskAboutUser we end up comparing the two
credentials to each other and this will always succeed because they're the
same object. I expect the write fails later in the TabletServer code,
possibly in the UpdateSession, but I haven't been able to untangle this
part yet.

Second, I think it makes sense to switch the order of the OR in
'canAskAboutUser.' If this is in the write path, then it seems like the
most common case would be users asking about themselves, so we should check
that before checking if a user is an admin. This also has the advantage of
removing two uninformative audit log lines. We won't have an audit message
that somebody wrote data, but we don't have that currently anyway.

I did some visual spot checking and this looks like an issue in master
also, but I haven't run that code to find out.



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