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Teleport Access Controls Reference

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This guide shows you how to use Teleport roles to manage role-based access controls (RBAC) in your Teleport cluster.

Roles

A Teleport role works by having two lists of rules: allow rules and deny rules. When declaring access rules, keep in mind the following:

  • Everything is denied by default.
  • Deny rules get evaluated first and take priority.

A rule consists of two parts: the resources and verbs. Here's an example of an allow rule describing a list verb applied to the SSH sessions resource. It means "allow users of this role to see a list of active SSH sessions".

allow:
  - resources: [session]
    verbs: [list]

If this rule was declared in the deny section of a role definition, it would prohibit users from getting a list of Trusted Clusters and sessions. You can see all of the available resources and verbs under the allow section in the example role configuration below.

To manage cluster roles, a Teleport administrator can use the Web UI or the command line using tctl resource commands. To see the list of roles in a Teleport cluster, an administrator can execute:

Log in to your cluster with tsh so you can use tctl from your local machine.

You can also run tctl on your Auth Service host without running "tsh login"

first.

tsh login --user=myuser --proxy=teleport.example.com
tctl get roles
Warning

Backing up production instances, environments, and/or settings before making permanent modifications is encouraged as a best practice. Doing so allows you to roll back to an existing state if needed.

Here is a full role specification:

kind: role
version: v5
metadata:
  name: example
spec:
  # options specify connection, in case if user has multiple non-default
  # conflicting options, teleport chooses the least permissive value.
  options:
    # max_session_ttl defines the TTL (time to live) of certificates
    # issued to the users with this role.
    max_session_ttl: 8h
    # forward_agent controls whether SSH agent forwarding is allowed
    forward_agent: true
    # port_forwarding controls whether TCP port forwarding is allowed for SSH
    port_forwarding: true
    # ssh_file_copy controls whether file copying (SCP/SFTP) is allowed.
    # Defaults to true.
    ssh_file_copy: false
    # client_idle_timeout determines if SSH sessions to cluster nodes are
    # forcefully terminated after no activity from a client (idle client).
    # it overrides the global cluster setting. examples: "30m", "1h" or "1h30m"
    client_idle_timeout: never
    # Determines if the clients will be forcefully disconnected when their
    # certificates expire in the middle of an active session.
    # It overrides the global cluster setting.
    disconnect_expired_cert: no
    # max_sessions is total number of session channels that can be established
    # across a single connection. Setting it to 10 matches OpenSSH default behavior.
    max_sessions: 10
    # Defines which events are recorded by the BPF-based session recorder.
    enhanced_recording:
    - command
    - disk
    - network
    # permit_x11_forwarding allows users to use X11 forwarding with openssh
    # clients and servers through the proxy
    permit_x11_forwarding: true
    # require_session_mfa require per-session MFA for any owner of this role
    require_session_mfa: true
    # lock sets locking mode for user of this role,
    # valid values are "strict" or "best_effort"
    lock: strict
    # enterprise-only request_access field is either 'always' or 'reason'. If set to always, it instructs
    # tsh or the web UI clients to always create an Access Request on login. If it is
    # set to 'reason', the user will be required to indicate why they are
    # generating the Access Request.
    request_access: reason
    # the `request_prompt` field can be used to tell the user what should
    # be supplied in the request reason field.
    request_prompt: Please provide your ticket ID
    # enterprise-only max_connections field sets a limit of concurrent sessions within a
    # cluster. This setting slows down Teleport performance because it has to track
    # connections cluster-wide.
    max_connections: 2
    # limit number of concurrent Kubernetes sessions per user
    max_kubernetes_connections: 1
    # Define how Teleport deals with session recording failures, such as a full
    # disk error. The value can be set to either `best_effort` or `strict`. If
    # set to `strict`, the session will terminate immediately. If set to
    # `best_effort`, the session won’t be terminated, and the recording will be
    # disabled. The configuration is done per service (currently, only `ssh` is
    # supported).
    record_session:
      # Specify whether or not to record the user's desktop sessions.
      # Desktop session recording is enabled if one or more of the user's
      # roles has enabled recording. Defaults to true if unspecified.
      # Desktop sessions will never be recorded if auth_service.session_recording
      # is set to 'off' in teleport.yaml (Auth Service) or if the cluster's
      # session_recording_config resource has set 'mode: off'.
      desktop: true
      # Optional: the default session recording mode to use when a
      # protocol-specific mode is not set.
      default: best_effort|strict
      # Optional: Session recording mode for SSH sessions (Teleport Server
      # Access). If not set, the value set on default will be used.
      ssh: best_effort|strict
    # Specify whether clipboard sharing should be allowed with the
    # remote desktop (requires a supported browser). Defaults to true
    # if unspecified. If one or more of the user's roles has disabled
    # the clipboard, then it will be disabled.
    desktop_clipboard: true
    # enterprise-only: when enabled, the source IP that was used to log in is embedded in the SSH
    # certificate, preventing a compromised certificate from being used on other
    # devices. The default is false.
    # Note: Source IP pinning is currently in Preview mode.
    pin_source_ip: true
    # Specify a list of names and associated values to be included in user SSH keys.
    # The key type can only be "ssh" and the mode can only be "extension".
    # The name and value fields can be arbitrary strings and the value field
    # supports variable interpolation.
    cert_extensions:
     - type: ssh
       mode: extension
       name: [email protected]
       value: "{{ external.github_login }}"
    # Controls whether this role supports auto provisioning of users.
    create_host_user: true

  # The allow section declares a list of resource/verb combinations that are
  # allowed for the users of this role. By default, nothing is allowed.
  allow:
    # The logins array defines the OS/UNIX logins a user is allowed to use.
    # both strings and template variables are supported in this field
    logins: [root, '{{internal.logins}}']

    # Windows logins a user is allowed to use for desktop sessions.
    windows_desktop_logins: [Administrator, '{{internal.logins}}']

    # node_labels: a user with this role will be allowed to connect to
    # SSH nodes, which labels match expressions below.
    node_labels:
      # literal strings:
      'env': 'test'
      # the wildcard ('*') means "any node"
      '*': '*'
      # a list of alternative options:
      'region': ['us-west-1', 'eu-central-1']
      # regular expressions start with ^ and end with $
      # Teleport uses golang regexp syntax.
      # of the list example above can be expressed as:
      'reg': '^us-west-1|eu-central-1$'

    # kubernetes_groups specifies Kubernetes groups a user with this role will assume.
    # You can refer to a SAML/OIDC trait via the "external" property bag.
    # This allows you to specify Kubernetes group membership in an identity manager:
    kubernetes_groups: ["system:masters", "{{external.trait_name}}"]

    # kubernetes_users is an optional field that specifies kubernetes users
    # this role can assume.
    kubernetes_users: ['IAM#{{external.foo}};']

    # kubernetes_labels: a user with this role will be allowed to connect to
    # k8s clusters, which labels match expressions below.
    kubernetes_labels:
      # A user can only access prod environments
      'env': 'prod'
      # User can access any region in us-west, e.g us-west-1, us-west-2
      'region': 'us-west-*'
      # regular expressions start with ^ and ending with $
      # Teleport uses golang regexp syntax.
      'cluster_name': '^us.*\.example\.com$'

    # Functions transform variables.
    db_users: ['{{email.local(external.email)}}']
    db_names: ['{{external.db_names}}']
    db_labels:
      'env': '{{regexp.replace(external.access["env"], "^(staging)$", "$1")}}'

    # app_labels: a user with this role will be allowed to connect to
    # applications, which labels match expressions below.
    app_labels:
      # A user can only access prod environments
      'env': 'prod'
      # User can access any region in us-west, e.g us-west-1, us-west-2
      'region': 'us-west-*'
      # Regular expressions start with ^ and end with $.
      # Teleport uses Go's regular expression syntax:
      # https://github.com/google/re2/wiki/Syntax
      # The list example above can be expressed as:
      # 'region': '^us-west-1|eu-central-1$'
      'cluster_name': '^us.*\.example\.com$'

    # aws_role_arns allows a user with this role to assume AWS roles when
    # accessing AWS console using UI or AWS API using CLI
    aws_role_arns:
      - 'arn:aws:iam::1234567890:role/ec2-read-only'
      - 'arn:aws:iam::1234567890:role/ec2-full-access'
      - 'arn:aws:iam::0987654321:role/example-role'

    # impersonate allows a user with this role to issue certificates on behalf
    # of other users and roles matching expressions below
    impersonate:
      users: ['*']
      roles: ['jenkins']
      # where is an optional where condition
      # further limiting the scope for matching users and roles
      where: >
        contains(user.spec.traits["group"], impersonate_role.metadata.labels["group"]) &&
        contains(user.spec.traits["group"], impersonate_user.metadata.labels["group"])

    # review_requests allows a user holding this role
    # to approve or deny Access Requests
    review_requests:
      # the reviewer can view and approve or deny access requests for any roles
      # listed here
      roles: ['dbadmin']
      # the reviewer can preview details about resources accessible by any roles
      # listed in preview_as_roles when reviewing Resource Access Requests
      preview_as_roles: ['dbadmin']

    # request allows a user user request roles matching
    # expressions below
    request:
      # the `roles` list can be a mixture of literals and wildcard matchers
      roles: ['common', 'dev-*']

      # `search_as_roles` allows users to search for and request access to
      # resources accessible by the listed roles
      search_as_roles: ['access']

      # thresholds specifies minimum amount of approvers and deniers,
      # defaults to 1 for both
      thresholds:
        # requires at least two qualifying approvers and at least one denier.
        - approve: 2
          deny: 1

      # the `claims_to_roles` mapping works the same as it does in
      # the OIDC connector, with the added benefit that the roles being mapped to
      # can also be matchers. the below mapping says that users with
      # the claims `groups: admins` can request any role in the system.
      claims_to_roles:
        - claim: 'projects'
          # matches all group names with a leading 'product-'
          value: '^product-(.*)$'
          # generates a role name from the value capture
          roles: ['$1-admin']

      # Teleport can attach annotations to pending Access Requests. these
      # annotations may be literals, or be variable interpolation expressions,
      # effectively creating a means for propagating selected claims from an
      # external identity provider to the plugin system.
      annotations:
        foo: ['bar']
        groups: ['{{external.groups}}']

    # Moderated Sessions policy that dictates requirements for starting a session.
    require_session_join:
      # Defines the name of the policy. The name serves only as an
      # identifier in logs and for organisation/categorisation.
      - name: Auditor oversight
        # Specifies an RBAC predicate that is used to define
        # which users count against the required user count of the policy.
        filter: 'contains(user.spec.roles, "auditor")'
        # The different session kinds this policy applies to.
        kinds: ['k8s', 'ssh']
        # A list of session participant modes that a participant must have
        # one of in order to count against the policy.
        modes: ['moderator']
        # The minimum amount of users that need to match the filter expression
        # in order to satisfy the policy.
        count: 1
        # The action to take if a moderator leaves a session, causing the policy to no longer be satisfied.
        # This may be either "terminate" or "pause". An empty or unknown value will default to "terminate".
        on_leave: "terminate"

    # Moderated Sessions policy that dictates the ability to join sessions
    join_sessions:
      # Defines the name of the policy. The name serves only as an
      # identifier in logs and for organisation/categorisation.
      - name: Auditor oversight
        # Allows one to join sessions created by other users with these roles
        roles : ['prod-access']
        # The different session kinds this policy applies to.
        kinds: ['k8s', 'ssh']
        # The list of session participant modes the role may join the session as.
        modes: ['moderator', 'observer']

    # rules allow a user holding this role to modify other resources
    # matching the expressions below
    # supported resources:
    # role               - role resource
    # user               - user resource
    #
    # auth_connector     - any auth connector resource
    # oidc               - OIDC connector resource
    # saml               - connector resource
    # github             - GitHub connector resource
    #
    # trusted_cluster    - Trusted Cluster resource
    # remote_cluster     - remote cluster resource
    #
    # access_request     - Access Request resource
    # access_plugin_data - allows modifying Access Request plugin data
    #
    # session            - session playback records
    # ssh_session        - an active SSH session
    # event              - structured audit logging event
    #
    #
    # lock                  - lock resource.
    # network_restrictions  - restrictions for SSH sessions
    #
    # auth_server           - Auth Service resource
    # proxy                 - Proxy Service resource
    # node                  - SSH node resource
    # app                   - application resource
    # db                    - database  resource
    # kube_cluster          - Kubernetes cluster resource
    # token                 - provisioning token resource
    # cert_authority        - certificate authority resource
    #
    # cluster_name              - resource that contains the cluster name.
    # cluster_config            - resource that holds cluster level config
    # cluster_auth_preference   - type of authentication for this cluster
    # session_recording_config  - resource for session recording config
    # cluster_audit_config      - resource that holds cluster audit config
    # cluster_networking_config - resource that holds cluster networking config

    rules:
      - resources: [role]
        verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
      - resources: [auth_connector]
        verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
      - resources: [session]
        verbs: [list, read]
      - resources: [trusted_cluster]
        verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
      - resources: [event]
        verbs: [list, read]
      - resources: [user]
        verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
      - resources: [token]
        verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]

  # The deny section uses the identical format as the 'allow' section.
  # The deny rules always override allow rules.
  deny: {}

The following variables can be used with logins and windows_desktop_logins fields:

VariableDescription
{{internal.logins}}Substituted with "allowed logins" parameter used in tctl users add [user] <allowed logins> command. This applies only to users stored in Teleport's own local database.
{{external.xyz}}Substituted with a value from an external SSO provider. If using SAML, this will be expanded with "xyz" assertion value. For OIDC, this will be expanded a value of "xyz" claim.

Both variables above are there to deliver the same benefit: they allow Teleport administrators to define allowed OS logins via the user database, be it the local DB, or an identity manager behind a SAML or OIDC endpoint.

An example of a SAML assertion

Assuming you have the following SAML assertion attribute in your response:

<Attribute Name="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ws/2008/06/identity/claims/windowsaccountname">
        <AttributeValue>firstname.lastname</AttributeValue>
</Attribute>

... you can use the following format in your role:

logins:
   - '{{external["http://schemas.microsoft.com/ws/2008/06/identity/claims/windowsaccountname"]}}'

Role options

As shown above, a role can define certain restrictions on sessions initiated by users. The table below documents the behavior of each option if multiple roles are assigned to a user.

OptionDescriptionMulti-role behavior
max_session_ttlMax. time to live (TTL) of a user's SSH certificatesThe shortest TTL wins
forward_agentAllow SSH agent forwardingLogical "OR" i.e. if any role allows agent forwarding, it's allowed
port_forwardingAllow TCP port forwardingLogical "OR" i.e. if any role allows port forwarding, it's allowed
ssh_file_copyAllow SCP/SFTPLogical "AND" i.e. if all roles allows file copying, it's allowed
client_idle_timeoutForcefully terminate active SSH sessions after an idle intervalThe shortest timeout value wins, i.e. the most restrictive value is selected
disconnect_expired_certForcefully terminate active SSH sessions when a client certificate expiresLogical "OR" i.e. evaluates to "yes" if at least one role requires session termination
max_sessionsTotal number of session channels which can be established across a single SSH connection via Teleport
enhanced_recordingIndicates which events should be recorded by the BFP-based session recorder
permit_x11_forwardingAllow users to enable X11 forwarding with OpenSSH clients and servers
require_session_mfaEnforce per-session MFA or PIV-hardware key restrictions on user login sessions (no, yes, hardware_key, hardware_key_touch)For per-session MFA, Logical "OR" i.e. evaluates to "yes" if at least one role requires session MFA
lockLocking mode (strict or best_effort)strict wins in case of conflict
request_accessEnterprise-only Access Request strategy (optional, always or reason)
request_promptPrompt for the Access Request "reason" field
max_connectionsEnterprise-only limit on how many concurrent sessions can be started via Teleport
max_kubernetes_connectionsDefines the maximum number of concurrent Kubernetes sessions per user
record_sessionDefines the Session recording mode.The strictest value takes precedence.
desktop_clipboardAllow clipboard sharing for desktop sessionsLogical "AND" i.e. evaluates to "yes" if all roles enable clipboard sharing
pin_source_ipEnable source IP pinning for SSH certificates. Note: IP pinning is currently in Preview modeLogical "OR" i.e. evaluates to "yes" if at least one role requires session termination
cert_extensionsSpecifies extensions to be included in SSH certificates
create_host_userAllow users to be automatically created on a hostLogical "AND" i.e. evaluates to "yes" if all roles matching a Node enable host user creation

Preset roles

Teleport provides several pre-defined roles out-of-the-box:

RoleDescription
editorAllows editing of cluster configuration settings.
auditorAllows reading cluster events, audit logs, and playing back session records.
accessAllows access to cluster resources.

Teleport versions prior to 8.0 also included a default admin role. This role has been deprecated in favor of smaller, more fine-grained roles like the presets mentioned above.

Users installing a brand new Teleport cluster on version 8.0 or later will not see this admin role. Users who upgrade to Teleport 8 from an earlier version will continue to see the admin role, but are encouraged to migrate to roles that are more appropriately scoped.

Role versions

There are currently three supported role versions: v3, v4 and v5. v4 and v5 roles are completely backwards-compatible with v3, the only difference lies in the default allow labels which will be applied to the role if they are not explicitly set. Additionally, v5 is required to use Moderated Sessions.

Labelv3 Defaultv4 and v5 Default
node_labels[{"*": "*"}] if the role has any logins, else [][]
app_labels[{"*": "*"}][]
kubernetes_labels[{"*": "*"}][]
database_labels[{"*": "*"}][]

RBAC for hosts

A Teleport role can also define which hosts (nodes) a user can have access to. This works by labeling nodes and listing allow/deny labels in a role definition.

Consider the following use case:

The infrastructure is split into staging/production environments using labels like environment=production and environment=staging. You can create roles that only have access to one environment. Let's say you create an intern role with the allow rule for label environment=staging.

Example

The role below allows access to all nodes labeled "env=stage" except those that also have "workload=database" or "workload=backup".

Access to any other nodes will be denied.

kind: role
version: v5
metadata:
  name: example-role
spec:
  allow:
    node_labels:
      'env': 'stage'

  deny:
    node_labels:
      # Multiple labels are interpreted as an "or" operation. In this case,
      # Teleport will deny access to any node labeled as 'workload=database' or
      # 'workload=backup'
      'workload': ['database', 'backup']
Dynamic RBAC

Node labels can be dynamic, i.e. determined at runtime by an output of an executable. In this case, you can implement "permissions follow workload" policies (eg., any server where PostgreSQL is running becomes automatically accessible only by the members of the "DBA" group and nobody else).

Extended Node labels syntax

Below are a few examples for more complex filtering using various regexes.

kind: role
version: v5
metadata:
  name: example-role
spec:
  allow:
    node_labels:
      # literal strings:
      'environment': 'test'
      # the wildcard ('*') means "any node"
      '*': '*'
      # a list of alternative options:
      'environment': ['test', 'staging']
      # regular expressions are also supported, for example the equivalent
      # of the list example above can be expressed as:
      'environment': '^test|staging$'

Teleport resources

RBAC lets teams limit what resources are available to Teleport users. This can be helpful if, for example, you don't want regular users editing SSO (auth_connector) or creating and editing new roles (role).

Below is an example allow section that illustrates commonly used rules. Each rule includes a list of Teleport resources and the CRUD operations that a user is allowed to execute on them:

allow:
  rules:
    # CRUD options for managing Teleport Server Access Nodes
    - resources:
        - node
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    - resources:
        - app
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    - resources:
        - kube_service
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    - resources:
        - kube_cluster
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    - resources:
        - db
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    - resources:
        - windows_desktop
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    - resources:
        - role
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    # Auth connectors are also known as SSO connectors
    - resources:
        - auth_connector
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    # Session: Provides access to Session Recordings.
    # e.g If session read is false, users can't play the recordings
    # It is possible to restrict "list" but to allow "read" (in this case a user will
    # be able to replay a session using `tsh play` if they know the session ID).
    - resources:
        - session
      verbs: [list, read]
    - resources:
        - trusted_cluster
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    # Events: Determines whether a user can view the audit log
    # and session recordings.
    - resources:
        - event
      verbs: [list, read]
    - resources:
        - user
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]
    - resources:
        - token
      verbs: [list, create, read, update, delete]

RBAC for sessions

It is possible to further limit access to shared sessions and session recordings. The examples below illustrate how to restrict session access only for the user who created the session.

Teleport versions prior to 8.1 don't support the roles shown below. You may create these roles after upgrading, but in the event of a cluster downgrade they will become invalid.

Preset Auditor Role

In order for these roles to take effect, you must ensure your user doesn't also have a more permissive role, like the preset auditor role, which allows access to all events, sessions, and session recordings.

Role for restricted access to session recordings:

version: v5
kind: role
metadata:
  name: only-own-sessions
spec:
  allow:
    rules:
    # Users can only view session recordings for sessions in which they
    # participated.
    - resources: [session]
      verbs: [list, read]
      where: contains(session.participants, user.metadata.name)

Role for restricted access to active sessions:

version: v5
kind: role
metadata:
  name: only-own-ssh-sessions
spec:
  allow:
    rules:
    # Teleport allows shared session access by default, so for our restrictions
    # to work we first allow access to ssh_sessions...
    - resources: [ssh_session]
      verbs: ['*']
  deny:
    rules:
    # ... and then limit that access via a deny rule.
    # Deny rules take precedence over allow rules, so the resulting role allows
    # users to create SSH sessions but to only view their own sessions.
    - resources: [ssh_session]
      verbs: [list, read, update, delete]
      where: '!contains(ssh_session.participants, user.metadata.name)'

Second Factor - U2F

Refer to the Second Factor - WebAuthn guide if you have a cluster using the legacy U2F support.

Filter fields

Here is an explanation of the fields used in the where and filter conditions within this guide.

FieldDescription
user.spec.rolesThe list of roles assigned to a user
session.participantsThe list of participants from a session recording
ssh_session.participantsThe list of participants from an SSH session
user.metadata.nameThe user's name

Check out our predicate language guide for a more in depth explanation of the language.