Splunk® Enterprise

Securing Splunk Enterprise

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Deploy secure passwords across multiple servers

At initial startup, Splunk Enterprise creates a file $SPLUNK_HOME/etc/auth/splunk.secret. This file contains a key used to encrypt some of your authentication information in configuration files. Each of the following files can be encrypted across a deployment using splunk.secret. Note that the passwords and encryption methods used for each file are not necessarily interchangeable.

  • web.conf: Your SSL passwords on every instance.
  • authentication.conf: Your LDAP passwords, if you have any.
  • inputs.conf: Your SSL passwords, if you use splunktcp-ssl to set up ssl for data distribution.
  • outputs.conf:: Your SSL passwords, if you use splunktcp-ssl to configure splunktcp-ssl in inputs.conf to set up ssl for data distribution.
  • server.conf: pass4symmkey, if you have one.
  • passwords.conf: Your password for a given app.

When Splunk software starts, if it detects a clear-text password, in one of these settings, it will create or overwrite the configuration in the equivalent local folder with the encrypted password.

Note: If the pass4symmkey or SSLPassword is specified in a default apps file, the password is obfuscated in the local version of the file upon restart. The default version of the file remains in clear text. However, if the file is listed using curl or a splunkd endpoint, the passwords appear encrypted.

When you deploy Splunk software on multiple servers, you must encrypt the passwords and ensure that they are consistent across your deployment. Splunk recommends that you use an encryption tool such as Vault's "secret/*" to secure your passwords as you distribute them.

You should perform these steps at initial deployment and also any time you need to deploy a new password for your instances:

1. Using your encryption tool, deploy the passwords to all servers.

2. On each server, place the password, in clear text, in the relevant file.

3. Immediately start/restart to encrypt all the passwords under the server's unique secret.

In a search head cluster, the captain replicates its splunk.secret file to all other cluster members during initial deployment of the cluster, so you do not need to copy it manually. As part of its normal operation, the cluster also automatically replicates any credentials that are stored by apps for their own use.

Secure your service accounts
Harden your KV store port

This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Enterprise: 6.3.0, 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 6.3.3, 6.3.4, 6.3.5, 6.3.6, 6.3.7, 6.3.8, 6.3.9, 6.3.10, 6.3.11, 6.3.12, 6.3.13, 6.3.14, 6.4.0, 6.4.1, 6.4.2, 6.4.3, 6.4.4, 6.4.5, 6.4.6, 6.4.7, 6.4.8, 6.4.9, 6.4.10, 6.4.11, 6.5.0, 6.5.1, 6.5.1612 (Splunk Cloud only), 6.5.2, 6.5.3, 6.5.4, 6.5.5, 6.5.6, 6.5.7, 6.5.8, 6.5.9, 6.5.10, 6.6.0, 6.6.1, 6.6.2, 6.6.3, 6.6.4, 6.6.5, 6.6.6, 6.6.7, 6.6.8, 6.6.9, 6.6.10, 6.6.11, 6.6.12, 7.0.0, 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.0.3, 7.0.4, 7.0.5, 7.0.6, 7.0.7, 7.0.8, 7.0.9, 7.0.10, 7.0.11, 7.0.13, 7.1.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.1.3, 7.1.4, 7.1.5, 7.1.6, 7.1.7, 7.1.8, 7.1.9, 7.1.10, 7.2.0, 7.2.1, 7.2.2, 7.2.3, 7.2.4, 7.2.5, 7.2.6, 7.2.7, 7.2.8, 7.2.9, 7.3.0, 7.3.1, 7.3.2, 7.3.3, 7.3.4, 8.0.0, 8.0.1, 8.0.2


just to mention it: "$1$ indicates MD5 hashing"
That is true in pretty much everywhere in IT, but not in Splunk - here it doesn't indicate an MD5 hash, but a value encrypted with Splunks proprietary own encryption. It's pretty confusing, so keep this in mind. ;-)

January 29, 2019


Done! Sorry that took so long.


Jworthington splunk, Splunker
July 13, 2018

Hi Intermediate,

$1$ indicates MD5 hashing, $6$ indicates SHA-512 hashing. My best guess is that this is either to do with your encryption tool(s) or it could be a configuration issue, I have emailed you directly to get more details to see if we can resolve it.

Jworthington splunk, Splunker
July 12, 2018

Correction to my previous comment:
"We've noticed that whenever the plain text password is used on one of these systems they come up with a unique decrypted password."
should read:
"We've noticed that whenever the plain text password is used on one of these systems they come up with a unique encrypted password."

July 10, 2018

Jworthington, are you able to provide an update please?

Also what's the difference between passwords which are encrypted with a $1$ prefix and a $6$ prefix, for example.

Currently we're having significant problems with a variety of Splunk 7.1.1 systems being unable to use the same encrypted password for "sslPassword" even though they all have the same splunk.secret file. We've noticed that whenever the plain text password is used on one of these systems they come up with a unique decrypted password. Could you please confirm that this is expected behaviour?

Thank you!

July 10, 2018

HI Tada,

Well, in a way, yeah. :)

Splunk secret is in an internal security process that can't be modified, so we didn't bother going into to much detail about how it works. But I can talk to some of our developers and see if we can add a bit more context.

Thanks for the feedback!

Jworthington splunk, Splunker
May 17, 2018

Why doesn't this topic detail exactly what encryption methods are being used? Security through obscurity?

Tadas medisauskas
October 2, 2017


Good point. The intent was never to suggest that these different password examples use the same encryption or even should in every instance. But I can see how it might be confusing. I'll add a bit of text (with links!) to make it clear that while these passwords are stored here, users should configure their encryption using the relevant topics in the manual.

Jworthington splunk, Splunker
September 12, 2017

Some of the files referenced in this document use different encryption methods. You can't always mix and match encrypted passwords between them. As an example the same password encrypted in both inputs.conf and outputs.conf may not match depending on which version of splunk you are using.

September 6, 2017

Is it possible to get the passwords.conf file added to the list of files that are checked for this?

September 19, 2016

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