Authorizing Apache Hive Access

As administrator, you need to understand that the Hive default authorization for running Hive queries is insecure and what you need to do to secure your data. You need to set up Apache Ranger.

To limit Apache Hive access to approved users, Cloudera recommends and supports only Ranger. Authorization is the process that checks user permissions to perform select operations, such as creating, reading, and writing data, as well as editing table metadata. Apache Ranger provides centralized authorization for all Cloudera Runtime Services.

You can set up Ranger to protect managed, ACID tables or external tables using a Hadoop SQL policy. You can protect external table data on the file system by using an HDFS policy in Ranger.

Preloaded Ranger Policies

In Ranger, preloaded Hive policies are available by default. Users covered by these policies can perform Hive operations. All users need to use the default database, perform basic operations such as listing database names, and query the information schema. To provide this access, preloaded default database tables columns and information_schema database policies are enabled for group public (all users). Keeping these policies enabled for group public is recommended. For example, if the default database tables columns policy is disabled preventing use of the default database, the following error appears:

hive> USE default;
Error: Error while compiling statement: FAILED: HiveAccessControlException
Permission denied: user [hive] does not have [USE] privilege on [default]

Apache Ranger policy authorization

Apache Ranger provides centralized policy management for authorization and auditing of all Cloudera Runtime services, including Hive. All Cloudera Runtime services are installed with a Ranger plugin used to intercept authorization requests for that service, as shown in the following illustration.

The following table compares authorization models:

Authorization model


Fine-grained authorization (column, row level)

Privilege management using GRANT/REVOKE statements

Centralized management GUI

Apache Ranger





Hive default

Not secure. No restriction on which users can run GRANT statements




When you run grant/revoke commands and Apache Ranger is enabled, a Ranger policy is created/removed.