MongoDB provides a number of constructs to improve the security of your data. The security of your data in MongoDB is paramount – so it is important to leverage these constructs to reduce your surface area. Here are 10 tips you can use to improve the security of your MongoDB servers on-premise and in the cloud.
Even if you’ve deployed your MongoDB servers in a trusted network, it’s good security practice to enable authentication. It provides you “defense in depth” if your network is compromised. Edit your MongoDB configuration file to enable auth:
auth = true
Don’t expose your production database to the internet
Restricting physical access to your database is an important aspect of security. If it’s not necessary, do not expose your production database to the internet. In case of any compromise, if an attacker cannot physically connect to your MongoDB server, your data is that much more secure. If you’re on AWS, you can place your databases in a virtual private cloud (VPC) subnet. Read the blog post Deploying MongoDB in a VPC for more information.
Use firewalls to restrict which other entities are allowed to connect to your MongoDB server. Best practice is to only allow your application servers access to the database. If you’re hosted on AWS, use ‘Security groups’ to restrict access. If you’re hosted on a provider that does not support firewall constructs, you can easily configure it yourself using ‘iptables’. Refer to the MongoDB documentation to configure iptables for your scenario.
Use key files to setup the replica set
Specify a shared key file to enable communication between your MongoDB instances in a replica set. To enable this, add the keyfile parameter to the config file as outlined below. The contents of the file need to be the same on all the machines:
keyFile = /srv/mongodb/keyfile
Disable HTTP status interface
MongoDB, by default, provides an http interface running on port 28017 which provides the “home” status page. This interface is not recommended for production use and is best disabled. Use the “nohttpinterface” configuration setting to disable the http interface:
nohttpinterface = true
Disable the REST interface
The MongoDB REST interface is not recommended for production. It does not support any authentication and is turned off by default. If you’ve turned it on using the “rest” configuration option, you should turn it off for production systems.
rest = false
If your system has multiple network interfaces, you can use the “bind_ip” option to restrict your MongoDB server to listen only on the interfaces that are relevant. By default, MongoDB will bind to all the interfaces:
bind_ip = 10.10.0.25,10.10.0.26
If you don’t use SSL, your data is traveling between your Mongo client and Mongo server unencrypted and is susceptible to eavesdropping, tampering and “man in the middle” attacks. This is especially important if you are connecting to your MongoDB server over unsecured networks like the internet.
MongoDB supports role-based authentication to give you fine-grained control over the actions that can be performed by each user. Use role-based constructs to restrict access instead of making all your users admins. Refer to the roles documentation for more details.
Enterprise MongoDB & Kerberos
Enterprise MongoDB integrates with Kerberos for authentication. Refer to the MongoDB documentation for more details. Username/password systems are inherently insecure – use kerb-based authentication if possible.
At ScaleGrid, we strive to support best practice security configurations by default for all our deployments. We enable you to use SSL and also not expose your database to the internet. If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.