OPTIONS

Use x.509 Certificates to Authenticate Clients

New in version 2.6.

MongoDB supports x.509 certificate authentication for use with a secure SSL connection. The x.509 client authentication allows clients to authenticate to servers with certificates rather than with a username and password.

To use x.509 authentication for the internal authentication of replica set/sharded cluster members, see Use x.509 Certificate for Membership Authentication.

Prerequisites

Certificate Authority

For production use, your MongoDB deployment should use valid certificates generated and signed by a single certificate authority. You or your organization can generate and maintain an independent certificate authority, or use certificates generated by a third-party SSL vendor. Obtaining and managing certificates is beyond the scope of this documentation.

Client x.509 Certificate

The client certificate must have the following properties:

  • A single Certificate Authority (CA) must issue the certificates for both the client and the server.

  • Client certificates must contain the following fields:

    keyUsage = digitalSignature
    extendedKeyUsage = clientAuth
    
  • A client x.509 certificate’s subject, which contains the Distinguished Name (DN), must differ from that of a Member x.509 Certificate to prevent client certificates from identifying the client as a cluster member and granting full permission on the system. Specifically, the subjects must differ with regards to at least one of the following attributes: Organization (O), the Organizational Unit (OU) or the Domain Component (DC).

  • Each unique MongoDB user must have a unique certificate.

Procedures

Configure MongoDB Server

Use Command-line Options

You can configure the MongoDB server from the command line, e.g.:

mongod --clusterAuthMode x509 --sslMode requireSSL --sslPEMKeyFile <path to SSL certificate and key PEM file> --sslCAFile <path to root CA PEM file>

Warning

If the --sslCAFile option and its target file are not specified, x.509 client and member authentication will not function. mongod, and mongos in sharded systems, will not be able to verify the certificates of processes connecting to it against the trusted certificate authority (CA) that issued them, breaking the certificate chain.

As of version 2.6.4, mongod will not start with x.509 authentication enabled if the CA file is not specified.

Use Configuration File

You may also specify these options in the configuration file.

Starting in MongoDB 2.6, you can specify the configuration for MongoDB in YAML format, e.g.:

security:
   clusterAuthMode: x509
net:
   ssl:
      mode: requireSSL
      PEMKeyFile: <path to SSL certificate and key PEM file>
      CAFile: <path to root CA PEM file>

For backwards compatibility, you can also specify the configuration using the older configuration file format, e.g.:

clusterAuthMode = x509
sslMode = requireSSL
sslPEMKeyFile = <path to SSL certificate and key PEM file>
sslCAFile = <path to the root CA PEM file>

Include any additional options, SSL or otherwise, that are required for your specific configuration.

Add x.509 Certificate subject as a User

To authenticate with a client certificate, you must first add the value of the subject from the client certificate as a MongoDB user. Each unique x.509 client certificate corresponds to a single MongoDB user; i.e. you cannot use a single client certificate to authenticate more than one MongoDB user.

  1. You can retrieve the subject from the client certificate with the following command:

    openssl x509 -in <pathToClient PEM> -inform PEM -subject -nameopt RFC2253
    

    The command returns the subject string as well as certificate:

    subject= CN=myName,OU=myOrgUnit,O=myOrg,L=myLocality,ST=myState,C=myCountry
    -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    # ...
    -----END CERTIFICATE-----
    
  2. Add the value of the subject, omitting the spaces, from the certificate as a user.

    For example, in the mongo shell, to add the user with both the readWrite role in the test database and the userAdminAnyDatabase role which is defined only in the admin database:

    db.getSiblingDB("$external").runCommand(
      {
        createUser: "CN=myName,OU=myOrgUnit,O=myOrg,L=myLocality,ST=myState,C=myCountry",
        roles: [
                 { role: 'readWrite', db: 'test' },
                 { role: 'userAdminAnyDatabase', db: 'admin' }
               ],
        writeConcern: { w: "majority" , wtimeout: 5000 }
      }
    )
    

    In the above example, to add the user with the readWrite role in the test database, the role specification document specified 'test' in the db field. To add userAdminAnyDatabase role for the user, the above example specified 'admin' in the db field.

    Note

    Some roles are defined only in the admin database, including: clusterAdmin, readAnyDatabase, readWriteAnyDatabase, dbAdminAnyDatabase, and userAdminAnyDatabase. To add a user with these roles, specify 'admin' in the db.

See Add a User to a Database for details on adding a user with roles.

Authenticate with a x.509 Certificate

To authenticate with a client certificate, you must first add a MongoDB user that corresponds to the client certificate. See Add x.509 Certificate subject as a User.

To authenticate, use the db.auth() method in the $external database, specifying "MONGODB-X509" for the mechanism field, and the user that corresponds to the client certificate for the user field.

For example, if using the mongo shell,

  1. Connect mongo shell to the mongod set up for SSL:

    mongo --ssl --sslPEMKeyFile <path to CA signed client PEM file> --sslCAFile <path to root CA PEM file>
    
  2. To perform the authentication, use the db.auth() method in the $external database. For the mechanism field, specify "MONGODB-X509", and for the user field, specify the user, or the subject, that corresponds to the client certificate.

    db.getSiblingDB("$external").auth(
      {
        mechanism: "MONGODB-X509",
        user: "CN=myName,OU=myOrgUnit,O=myOrg,L=myLocality,ST=myState,C=myCountry"
      }
    )