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From "David Allsopp (Commented) (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (CASSANDRA-2274) Restrict Cassandra cluster node joins to a list of named hosts
Date Tue, 01 Nov 2011 23:01:32 GMT


David Allsopp commented on CASSANDRA-2274:

@Mark - There's a convenience/security trade-off there. Giving each node a security token
is easier and more flexible than configuring every node with a list of all other nodes (it's
a bit of a pain to have to update all existing nodes each time you want to add a node). However,
the security in this scenario is to deal with a semi-insider attack. Getting hold of the token
might be easier for the attacker than having to somehow modify the access list on all existing

However, what stops an attacker from modifying the access list on all existing nodes? Only
the login/password for those nodes. So in either case the weakest link is the protection of
a single password/token (maybe multiple passwords if you have a different login for each node,
but is that commonplace??).

Care would also be needed to make sure the shared secret isn't exposed over the network, either
as plaintext, or via replay of messages from existing nodes.

So whilst I think your proposal is appealing from the operational efficiency point of view,
it is probably harder to implement securely.

Trying to protect against an insider who might even have physical access to your servers is
a very tough game...
> Restrict Cassandra cluster node joins to a list of named hosts
> --------------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: CASSANDRA-2274
>                 URL:
>             Project: Cassandra
>          Issue Type: Improvement
>          Components: Core
>    Affects Versions: 0.7.2
>         Environment: All
>            Reporter: Andrew Schiefelbein
> Because firewalls and employees are not infallible it would be nice to restrict the ability
of any node to join a cluster to a list of named hosts in the configuration so that someone
would be unable to start a node and replicate all the data locally.  I understand that in
order to do this the person must know the seed servers and the cluster name and to extract
the data they will need a userid and password but another level of security would be to force
them to execute any brute force attack from a locked down server instead of replicating all
the data locally.  

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