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From "Peter Sturge (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] Created: (SOLR-1872) Document-level Access Control in Solr
Date Thu, 08 Apr 2010 21:58:36 GMT
Document-level Access Control in Solr

                 Key: SOLR-1872
             Project: Solr
          Issue Type: New Feature
          Components: SearchComponents - other
    Affects Versions: 1.4
         Environment: Solr 1.4
            Reporter: Peter Sturge
            Priority: Minor
         Attachments: SolrACLSecurity.rar

This issue relates to providing document-level access control for Solr index data.

A related JIRA issue is: SOLR-1834. I thought it would be best if I created a separate JIRA
issue, rather than tack on to SOLR-1834, as the approach here is somewhat different, and I
didn't want to confuse things or step on Anders' good work.

There have been lots of discussions about document-level access in Solr using LCF, custom
comoponents and the like. Access Control is one of those subjects that quickly spreads to
lots of 'ratholes' to dive into. Even if not everyone agrees with the approaches taken here,
it does, at the very least, highlight some of the salient issues surrounding access control
in Solr, and will hopefully initiate a healthy discussion on the range of related requirements,
with the aim of finding the optimum balance of requirements.

The approach taken here is document and schema agnostic - i.e. the access control is independant
of what is or will be in the index, and no schema changes are required. This version doesn't
include LDAP/AD integration, but could be added relatively easily (see Ander's very good work
on this in SOLR-1834). Note that, at the moment, this version doesn't deal with /update, /replication
etc., it's currently a /select thing at the moment (but it could be used for these).

This approach uses a SearchComponent subclass called SolrACLSecurity. Its configuration is
read in from solrconfig.xml in the usual way, and the allow/deny configuration is split out
into a config file called acl.xml.

acl.xml defines a number of users and groups (and 1 global for 'everyone'), and assigns 0
or more {{<acl-allow>}} and/or {{<acl-deny>}} elements.
When the SearchComponent is initialized, user objects are created and cached, including an
'allow' list and a 'deny' list.
When a request comes in, these lists are used to build filter queries ('allows' are OR'ed
and 'denies' are NAND'ed), and then added to the query request.

Because the allow and deny elements are simply subsearch queries (e.g. {{<acl-allow>somefield:secret</acl-allow>}},
this mechanism will work on any stored data that can be queried, including already existing

One of the sticky problems with access control is how to determine who's asking for data.
There are many approaches, and to stay in the generic vein the current mechanism uses http
parameters for this.
For an initial search, a client includes a {{username=somename}} parameter and a {{hash=pwdhash}}
hash of its password. If the request sends the correct parameters, the search is granted and
a uuid parameter is returned in the response header. This uuid can then be used in subsequent
requests from the client. If the request is wrong, the SearchComponent fails and will increment
the user's failed login count (if a valid user was specified). If this count exceeds the configured
lockoutThreshold, no further requests are granted until the lockoutTime has elapsed.
This mechanism protects against some types of attacks (e.g. CLRF, dictionary etc.), but it
really needs container HTTPS as well (as would most other auth implementations). Incorporating
SSL certificates for authentication and making the authentication mechanism pluggable would
be a nice improvement (i.e. separate authentication from access control).

Another issue is how internal searchers perform autowarming etc. The solution here is to use
a local key called 'SolrACLSecurityKey'. This key is local and [should be] unique to that
server. firstSearcher, newSearcher et al then include this key in their parameters so they
can perform autowarming without constraint. Again, there are likely many ways to achieve this,
this approach is but one.

The attached rar holds the source and associated configuration. This has been tested on the
1.4 release codebase (search in the attached solrconfig.xml for SolrACLSecurity to find the
relevant sections in this file).

I hope this proves helpful for people who are looking for this sort of functionality in Solr,
and more generally to address how such a mechanism could ultimately be integrated into a future
Solr release.

Many thanks,

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