Configuring authentication

Steps for configuring authentication.

To configure Cassandra to use internal authentication, first make a change to the cassandra.yaml file and increase the replication factor of the system_auth keyspace, as described in this procedure. Next, start up Cassandra using the default user name and password (cassandra/cassandra), and start cqlsh using the same credentials. Finally, use these CQL statements to set up user accounts to authorize users to access the database objects:

Note: To configure authorization, see Configuring internal authorization.
The location of the cassandra.yaml file depends on the type of installation:
Package installations /etc/cassandra/cassandra.yaml
Tarball installations install_location/resources/cassandra/conf/cassandra.yaml


  1. Change the authenticator option in the cassandra.yaml file to PasswordAuthenticator.
    By default, the authenticator option is set to AllowAllAuthenticator.
    authenticator: PasswordAuthenticator
  2. Increase the replication factor for the system_auth keyspace to N (number of nodes).
    If you use the default, 1, and the node with the lone replica goes down, you will not be able to log into the cluster because the system_auth keyspace was not replicated.
  3. Restart the Cassandra client.
  4. Start cqlsh using the superuser name and password.
    ./cqlsh -u cassandra -p cassandra
  5. Create another superuser, not named cassandra. This step is optional but highly recommended.
  6. Log in as that new superuser.
  7. Change the cassandra user password to something long and incomprehensible, and then forget about it. It won't be used again.
  8. Take away the cassandra user's superuser status.
  9. Use the CQL statements listed previously to set up user accounts and then grant permissions to access the database objects.