Security in Amazon EMR - Amazon EMR

Security in Amazon EMR

Security and compliance is a responsibility you share with AWS. This shared responsibility model can help relieve your operational burden as AWS operates, manages, and controls the components from the host operating system and virtualization layer down to the physical security of the facilities in which EMR clusters operate. You assume responsibility, management, and updating Amazon EMR clusters, as well as configuring the application software and AWS provided security controls. This differentiation of responsibility is commonly referred to as security of the cloud versus security in the cloud.

  • Security of the cloud – AWS is responsible for protecting the infrastructure that runs AWS services in AWS. AWS also provides you with services that you can use securely. Third-party auditors regularly test and verify the effectiveness of our security as part of the AWS compliance programs. To learn about the compliance programs that apply to Amazon EMR, see AWS services in scope by compliance program.

  • Security in the cloud – you are also responsible to perform all of the necessary security configuration and management tasks for securing an Amazon EMR cluster. Customers that deploy an Amazon EMR cluster are responsible for management of the application software installed on the instances, and the configuration of the AWS-provided features such as security groups, encryption and access control according to your requirements, applicable laws, and regulations.

This documentation helps you understand how to apply the shared responsibility model when using Amazon EMR. The topics in this chapter show you how to configure Amazon EMR and use other AWS services to meet your security and compliance objectives.

Network and infrastructure security

As a managed service, Amazon EMR is protected by the AWS global network security procedures that are described in the Amazon Web Services: Overview of security processes whitepaper. AWS network and infrastructure protection services give you fine-grained protections at both the host and network-level boundaries. Amazon EMR supports AWS services and application features that address your network protection and compliance requirements.

  • Amazon EC2 security groups act as a virtual firewall for Amazon EMR cluster instances, limiting inbound and outbound network traffic. For more information, see Control network traffic with security groups.

  • Amazon EMR block public access (BPA) prevents you from launching a cluster in a public subnet if the cluster has a security configuration that allows inbound traffic from public IP addresses on a port. For more information, see Using Amazon EMR block public access.

  • Secure Shell (SSH) helps provide a secure way for users to connect to the command line on cluster instances. You can also use SSH to view web interfaces that applications host on the master node of a cluster. For more information, see Use an EC2 key pair for SSH credentials and Connect to a cluster.

Updates to the default Amazon Linux AMI for Amazon EMR


EMR clusters that run Amazon Linux or Amazon Linux 2 Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) use default Amazon Linux behavior, and do not automatically download and install important and critical kernel updates that require a reboot. This is the same behavior as other Amazon EC2 instances that run the default Amazon Linux AMI. If new Amazon Linux software updates that require a reboot (such as kernel, NVIDIA, and CUDA updates) become available after an Amazon EMR release becomes available, EMR cluster instances that run the default AMI do not automatically download and install those updates. To get kernel updates, you can customize your Amazon EMR AMI to use the latest Amazon Linux AMI.

Depending on the security posture of your application and the length of time that a cluster runs, you may choose to periodically reboot your cluster to apply security updates, or create a bootstrap action to customize package installation and updates. You may also choose to test and then install select security updates on running cluster instances. For more information, see Using the default Amazon Linux AMI for Amazon EMR. Note that your networking configuration must allow for HTTP and HTTPS egress to Linux repositories in Amazon S3, otherwise security updates will not succeed.

AWS Identity and Access Management with Amazon EMR

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is an AWS service that helps an administrator securely control access to AWS resources. IAM administrators control who can be authenticated (signed in) and authorized (have permissions) to use Amazon EMR resources. IAM identities include users, groups, and roles. An IAM role is similar to an IAM user, but is not associated with a specific person, and is intended to be assumable by any user who needs permissions. For more information, see AWS Identity and Access Management for Amazon EMR. Amazon EMR uses multiple IAM roles to help you implement access controls for Amazon EMR clusters. IAM is an AWS service that you can use with no additional charge.

  • IAM role for Amazon EMR (EMR role) – controls how Amazon EMR service is able to access other AWS services on your behalf, such as provisioning Amazon EC2 instances when the Amazon EMR cluster launches. For more information, see Configure IAM service roles for Amazon EMR permissions to AWS services and resources.

  • IAM role for cluster EC2 instances (EC2 instance profile) – a role that is assigned to every EC2 instance in the Amazon EMR cluster when the instance launches. Application processes that run on the cluster use this role to interact with other AWS services, such as Amazon S3. For more information, see IAM role for cluster’s EC2 instances.

  • IAM role for applications (runtime role) – an IAM role that you can specify when you submit a job or query to an Amazon EMR cluster. The job or query that you submit to your Amazon EMR cluster uses the runtime role to access AWS resources, such as objects in Amazon S3. You can specify runtime roles with Amazon EMR for Spark and Hive jobs. Bu using runtime roles, you can isolate jobs running on the same cluster by using different IAM roles. For more information, see Using IAM role as runtime role with Amazon EMR.

Workforce identities refer to users who build or operate workloads in AWS. Amazon EMR provides support for workforce identities with the following:

  • AWS IAM identity center (Idc) is the recommended AWS service for managing user access to AWS resources. It is a single place where you can assign your workforce identities, consistent access to multiple AWS accounts and applications. Amazon EMR supports workforce identities through trusted identity propagation. With trusted identity propagation capability, a user can sign in to the application and that application can pass the identity of the user to other AWS services for authorizing access to data or resources. For more information see, Enabling support for AWS IAM identity center with Amazon EMR.

    Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is an open, vendor-neutral, industry standard application protocol for accessing and maintaining information about users, systems, services, and applications over the network. LDAP is commonly used for user authentication against corporate identity servers such as Active Directory (AD) and OpenLDAP. By enabling LDAP with EMR clusters, you allow you users use their existing credentials to authenticate and access clusters. For more information see, enabling support for LDAP with Amazon EMR.

    Kerberos is a network authentication protocol designed to provide strong authentication for client/server applications by using secret-key cryptography. When you use Kerberos, Amazon EMR configures Kerberos for the applications, components, and subsystems that it installs on the cluster so that they are authenticated with each other. To access a cluster with Kerberos configured, a kerberos principal must be present in the Kerberos Domain Controller (KDC). For more information, see enabling support for Kerberos with Amazon EMR.

Single-tenant and multi-tenant clusters

A cluster is by default configured for a single tenancy with the EC2 Instance profile as the IAM identity. In a single-tenant cluster, every job has full and complete access to the cluster and access to all AWS services and resources is done on the basis of the EC2 instance profile. In a multi-tenant cluster, tenants are isolated from each other and the tenants don't have full and complete access to the clusters and EC2 Instances of the cluster. The identity on multi-tenant clusters is either the runtime roles or the workforce identifies. In a multi-tenant cluster, you can also enable support for fine-grained access control (FGAC) via AWS Lake Formation or Apache Ranger. A cluster that has runtime roles or FGAC enabled, access to the EC2 Instance profile is also disable via iptables.


Any users who have access to a single-tenant cluster can install any software on the Linux operating system (OS), change or remove software components installed by Amazon EMR and impact the EC2 Instances that are part of the cluster. If you want to ensure that users can't install or change configurations of an Amazon EMR cluster, we recommend that you enable multi-tenancy for the cluster. You can enable multi-tenancy on a cluster by enabling support for runtime role, AWS IAM identity center, Kerberos, or LDAP.

Data protection

With AWS, you control your data by using AWS services and tools to determine how the data is secured and who has access to it. Services such as AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) let you securely manage access to AWS services and resources. AWS CloudTrail enables detection and auditing. Amazon EMR makes it easy for you to encrypt data at rest in Amazon S3 by using keys either managed by AWS or fully managed by you. Amazon EMR also support enabling encryption for data in transit. For more information, see encrypt data at rest and in transit.

Data Access Control

With data access control, you can control what data an IAM identity or a workforce identity can access. Amazon EMR supports the following access controls:

  • IAM identity-based policies – manage permissions for IAM roles that you use with Amazon EMR. IAM policies can be combined with tagging to control access on a cluster-by-cluster basis. For more information, see AWS Identity and Access Management for Amazon EMR.

  • AWS Lake Formation centralizes permissions management of your data and makes it easier to share across your organization and externally. You can use Lake Formation to enable fine-grained, column-level access to databases and tables in the AWS Glue Data Catalog. For more information, see Using AWS Lake Formation with Amazon EMR.

  • Amazon S3 access grants map identities map identities in directories such as Active Directory, or AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) principals, to datasets in S3. Additionally, S3 access grants log end-user identity and the application used to access S3 data in AWS CloudTrail. For more information, see Using Amazon S3 access grants with Amazon EMR.

  • Apache Ranger is a framework to enable, monitor and manage comprehensive data security across the Hadoop platform. Amazon EMR supports Apache Ranger based fine-grained access control for Apache Hive Metastore and Amazon S3. For more information see Integrate Apache Ranger with Amazon EMR.