Authorization

The NATS server supports authorization using subject-level permissions on a per-user basis. Permission-based authorization is available with multi-user authentication via the users list.

Each permission specifies the subjects the user can publish to and subscribe to. The parser is generous at understanding what the intent is, so both arrays and singletons are processed. For more complex configuration, you can specify a permission object which explicitly allows or denies subjects. The specified subjects can specify wildcards as well. Permissions can make use of variables.

A special field inside the authorization map is default_permissions. When present, it contains permissions that apply to users that do not have permissions associated with them.

Permissions Configuration Map

The permissions map specify subjects that can be subscribed to or published by the specified client.

Property

Description

publish

subject, list of subjects, or permission map the client can publish

subscribe

subject, list of subjects, or permission map the client can subscribe to. In this context it is possible to provide an optional queue name: <subject> <queue> to express queue group permissions. These permissions can also use wildcards such as v2.* or >.

allow_responses

boolean or responses map, default is false

Permission Map

The permission map provides additional properties for configuring a permissions map. Instead of providing a list of allowable subjects and optional queues, the permission map allows you to explicitly list those you want toallow or deny. Both lists can be provided. In case of overlap deny has priority.

Property

Description

allow

List of subject names that are allowed to the client

deny

List of subjects that are denied to the client

Important Note It is important to not break request/reply patterns. In some cases (as shown below) you need to add rules for the _INBOX.> pattern. If an unauthorized client publishes or attempts to subscribe to a subject that has not been allow listed, the action fails and is logged at the server, and an error message is returned to the client. The allow responses option can simplify this.

Allow Responses Map

The allow_responses option dynamically allows publishing to reply subjects and works well for service responders. When set to true, only one response is allowed, meaning the permission to publish to the reply subject defaults to only once. The allow_responses map allows you to configure a maximum number of responses and how long the permission is valid.

Property

Description

max

The maximum number of response messages that can be published.

expires

The amount of time the permission is valid. Values such as 1s, 1m, 1h (1 second, minute, hour) etc can be specified. Default doesn't have a time limit.

When allow_responses is set to true, it defaults to the equivalent of { max: 1 } and no time limit.

Important Note When using nsc to configure your users, you can specify the --allow-pub-response and --response-ttl to control these settings.

Examples

Variables

Here is an example authorization configuration that uses variables which defines four users, three of whom are assigned explicit permissions.

authorization {
default_permissions = {
publish = "SANDBOX.*"
subscribe = ["PUBLIC.>", "_INBOX.>"]
}
ADMIN = {
publish = ">"
subscribe = ">"
}
REQUESTOR = {
publish = ["req.a", "req.b"]
subscribe = "_INBOX.>"
}
RESPONDER = {
subscribe = ["req.a", "req.b"]
publish = "_INBOX.>"
}
users = [
{user: admin, password: $ADMIN_PASS, permissions: $ADMIN}
{user: client, password: $CLIENT_PASS, permissions: $REQUESTOR}
{user: service, password: $SERVICE_PASS, permissions: $RESPONDER}
{user: other, password: $OTHER_PASS}
]
}

default_permissions is a special entry. If defined, it applies to all users that don't have specific permissions set.

  • admin has ADMIN permissions and can publish/subscribe on any subject. We use the wildcard > to match any subject.

  • client is a REQUESTOR and can publish requests on subjects req.a or req.b, and subscribe to anything that is a response (_INBOX.>).

  • service is a RESPONDER to req.a and req.b requests, so it needs to be able to subscribe to the request subjects and respond to client's that can publish requests to req.a and req.b. The reply subject is an inbox. Typically inboxes start with the prefix _INBOX. followed by a generated string. The _INBOX.> subject matches all subjects that begin with _INBOX..

  • other has no permissions granted and therefore inherits the default permission set.

Note that in the above example, any client with permissions to subscribe to _INBOX.> can receive all responses published. More sensitive installations will want to add or subset the prefix to further limit subjects that a client can subscribe. Alternatively, Accounts allow complete isolation limiting what members of an account can see.

Allow/Deny Specified

Here's an example without variables, where the allow and deny options are specified:

authorization: {
users = [
{
user: admin
password: secret
permissions: {
publish: ">"
subscribe: ">"
}
}
{
user: test
password: test
permissions: {
publish: {
deny: ">"
},
subscribe: {
allow: "client.>"
}
}
}
]
}

allow_responses

Here's an example with allow_responses:

authorization: {
users: [
{ user: a, password: a },
{ user: b, password: b, permissions: {subscribe: "q", allow_responses: true } },
{ user: c, password: c, permissions: {subscribe: "q", allow_responses: { max: 5, expires: "1m" } } }
]
}

User a has no restrictions. User b can listen on q for requests and can only publish once to reply subjects. All other subjects will be denied. User c can also listen on q for requests, but is able to return at most 5 reply messages, and the reply subject can be published at most for 1 minute.

Queue Permissions

User a can ony subscribe to foo as part of the queue subscriptions queue. User b has permissions for queue subscriptions as well as plain subscriptions. You can allow plain subscriptions on foo but constrain the queues to which a client can join, as well as preventing any service from using a queue subscription with the name *.prod:

users = [
{
user: "a", password: "a", permissions: {
sub: {
allow: ["foo queue"]
}
}
{
user: "b", password: "b", permissions: {
sub: {
# Allow plain subscription foo, but only v1 groups or *.dev queue groups
allow: ["foo", "foo v1", "foo v1.>", "foo *.dev"]
‚Äč
# Prevent queue subscriptions on prod groups
deny: ["> *.prod"]
}
}
]